Cream Cheese Frosting

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Quick and easy cream cheese frosting brought to you by guest author Garrett McCord, the cupcake king. ~Elise

Cream cheese frosting is a baking basic. It’s perfect for practically any cake and any leftovers are great dolloped onto some freshly cut fruit. This is the basic recipe, you can reduce the amount of butter if you want a bit more tang, and increase or decrease the sugar according to your taste. Dress up with ginger, vanilla bean, or coconut flakes. I’ve listed some of my favorite variations at the end of the recipe.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

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  • Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick, 4 ounces), room temperature
  • 8 oz of Philadelphia cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
  • 2 to 3 cups of powdered sugar (also known as confectioner's sugar), sifted
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Method

1 Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until completely smooth, about 3 minutes on medium speed. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to ensure that the mixture is mixed evenly.

2 Beat in the vanilla extract. With the mixer running, slowly add in the powdered sugar. Powdered sugar has cornstarch in it that will thicken the frosting as well as making it sweet. Keeping adding more powdered sugar to the frosting until you get your desired level of sweetness and thickness.

3 Use a blunt knife or spatula to spread the frosting, or spoon the frosting into a piping bag to decorate your cupcake or cake.

Here are some fun variations:

  • Add 1/2 a cup of unsweetened cocoa powder and a pinch of salt for a chocolate cream cheese frosting
  • Mix freshly grated or dried, flaked coconut to the frosting to make a coconut frosting
  • Intensify a vanilla frosting by adding some scrapings from a fresh vanilla bean to the frosting
  • Add some blueberry syrup for blueberry cream cheese frosting
  • Add a tablespoon of Amaretto or a quarter teaspoon of almond extract for an almond flavored cream cheese frosting

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Garrett McCord

Garrett McCord is a food writer, writing instructor, culinary consultant, freelance food photographer, and recipe developer who shares his enthusiasm for food and the written word through his blog Vanilla Garlic. Garrett's cookbook, co-authored with Stephanie Stiavetti, is Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese

More from Garrett

Cream Cheese Frosting

Links:

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting here on Simply Recipes

Apple Carrot Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting here on Simply Recipes

Ginger cream cheese frosting from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks

Coconut cream cheese frosting from Molly of Orangette

Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting from White on Rice Couple

Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Showing 4 of 71 Comments

  • Joan

    Hello, when is the time to put colors and is it ok with just liquid food color, gel or paste? Thanks

  • Anita

    How big of a cake will this ice. I need to ice two 9×13 cakes.

  • Michael Jordan

    Instead of Vanilla Extract, I use Almond Extract…. Wow what a change on your tastebuds

  • dawn jeralds

    Tried this recipe and Loved it!! Easy and delicious! My guys are happy.

  • Teegin

    It was so sweet but my family loved it! Thankyou for the recipe I will use it lots!

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