Cream Cheese Frosting

DessertBakingCupcakeFrosting

Easy to make cream cheese frosting! Classic cream cheese frosting with cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Perfect for icing carrot cake, cupcakes, cookies. Nothing beats homemade frosting.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Cream cheese frosting is a baking classic!

It’s perfect for practically any cake and any leftovers are great dolloped onto some freshly cut fruit.

Easy To Make

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

  • Prep time: 5 minutes

This recipe makes enough frosting to frost one single layer round cake, a 9x13 quarter sheet cake, or 12-18 cupcakes.

To frost a double layer cake, use 3/4 cup butter, 12 ounces cream cheese, 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick, 4 ounces, 115g), room temperature
  • 8 oz of Philadelphia cream cheese (1 package, 224g), room temperature
  • About 3 cups (360g) of powdered sugar (also known as confectioner's sugar), sifted
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Method

1 Beat the cream cheese and butter together: 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 vanilla extract and powdered sugar: Beat in the vanilla extract. With the mixer running on low speed to start, slowly add in 2 cups of 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 Spread or pipe the frosting to decorate: 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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Cream Cheese Frosting on cupcake

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

Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting from White on Rice Couple

Mixing Cream Cheese Icing

 

Garrett McCord

Garrett McCord is a professional writer and recipe developer whose work has appeared in many print and online publications such as Gourmet Live, Saveur, Huffington Post, Smithsonian, and NPR. Past clients also include numerous food companies, wineries, and distilleries. Garrett writes about cocktails on his website, Coupe de Grace.

More from Garrett

110 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Lexy

    Absolutely incredible frosting. I recommend adding a tablespoon of pumpkin spice and putting the frosting on blondies

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Michelle Johnson

    Does this make enough to ice a Bundt cake?

    Show Replies (1)
  3. McLean

    can I freeze the frosting?

  4. Burnadette

    What do you add to make it thicker

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Janah J

    I agree with previous posts, this is a simple and delicious frosting that I will continue to use as my base. I’ve been looking to perfect my carrot cake for a while and I believe I’ve found it! I made a couple changes and it came out amazing!!!

    I used almond extract instead of vanilla (my mom got me hooked when I was a kid) and only 2-1/2 C powdered sugar. I whipped that icing for about 10 min in my stand mixer. Perfection!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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