Frosted cakes are a thing, and any cake will become a lot more special with a delicious icing. Don’t be intimidated by making it yourself, homemade cream cheese frosting is quite easy! Today I’m going to show you the super-easy way of making a delicious simple cream cheese frosting for all your cakes, cookies and cupcakes.
Simple cream cheese frosting
Carrot cakes, pumpkin-spice, red velvet, cookies, they all go great with a light and sweet cream cheese frosting, so it’s too versatile not to try making it right away. This simple cream cheese frosting I made for today is a great frosting recipe for layer cakes, as well as for piping. Double the recipe if you want to use it for a 3-layer cake or want to add a lot of lovely piped decorations, so that you have enough cream. You can always enjoy leftover frosting, or freeze it for later use.
Other frosting recipes you will love:
The secret for this easy cream cheese frosting is to use high-quality ingredients and to keep some of them at room temperature to be slightly softened. As a tip, to check if they’re ready to use try them with your finger. If you press gently and leave a small ident, they’re good to work with. However, don’t over-soften the butter. This way, the frosting will look greasy and the frosting won’t come together well.
This simple cream cheese frosting recipe is quick to make and you’ll love its sweet taste and creamy, tangy texture.
Can I make a dairy free or vegan cream cheese frosting?
The answer is yes! Just replace the regular cream cheese with a diary-free alternative. Also, use ¼ cup vegetable shortening and ¼ cup vegan butter instead of regular butter. This combination works a lot better than just vegan butter. Vegan butter alone will make the frosting too soft, and vegetable shortening won’t give it the best taste.
Diary-free cream cheese won’t have the same distinct tang as regular one, but the cream cheese will still taste great, better than any store-bought.
Do I need to refrigerate cream cheese frosting?
You can make this simple cream cheese frosting ahead of time. For food safety reasons, frosted desserts should be kept refrigerated and only left out for up to 1 hour at room temperature. Leftover frosting can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Before using stir it very well or whip lightly with a hand mixer.
Can you freeze this simple cream cheese frosting?
This frosting can be made ahead of time and stored in an air-tight container or a zip bag in the freezer. Before using, keep it for about an hour at room temperature and re-whip before topping your cupcakes, cake or other baked goods.
Tips and tricks for the best cream cheese frosting
- This recipe is a little twist of the classic frosting, with the difference that we’ll be using granulated sugar for this version and we’ll add some heavy cream to make the frosting softer.
- Leave the cream cheese and butter to room temperature before mixing to get the perfect texture. Scrape the sides of the bowl constantly to make sure the cream blends well;
- Adding a bit of lemon juice will help balance the flavors. Just using a few drops of lemon juice won’t add any lemon taste, so don’t worry;
- Use full-fat cream cheese. Whipped cream cheese or cream cheese in a tub will make the frosting too soft, while low-fat cheese won’t give it the best texture;
- Mix in a touch of cinnamon for a special flavor; or use brown sugar instead.
- You can use it on carrot cakes, as well as zucchini muffins, this amazing banana bread or this lovely pull apart bread. Its luscious texture and rich flavor will surely make them extra special;
Please tell me how much you enjoyed this cream cheese frosting recipe and what did you use it for. It’s delicious in any way, but I’m curious about your own tasty combinations.
Homemade cream cheese frosting
What do you need to make this frosting recipe?
- butter – room temperature
- cream cheese – full fat works best. Keep at room temperature before using.
- vanilla extract – this is the classic flavor but other extracts are good too, such as lemon, orange, rum or almond extract.
- granulated sugar – I like cream cheese and whipping creams best with granulated sugar but if that’s not your thing feel free to use icing sugar. It will make the frosting more firm so add it in slowly until you get the right texture.
- whipping cream – this is optional, only if you find the texture too firm for your taste. A softer frosting works best with carrot cakes or pumpkin cakes.
How do you make this frosting?
- Beat the butter until fluffy then add cream cheese and beat until fully incorporated and fluffy. Add in vanilla extract and whip to incorporate.
- Add in sugar and beat until sugar is dissolved and incorporated into the frosting.
- If you find the frosting too firm, slowly add in some whipping cream and beat until you get the desired consistency.
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Simple cream cheese frosting
- 1 stick butter room temperature
- 8 oz cream cheese full fat, room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup whipping cream optional
- In a mixing bowl whip the butter with the hand mixer until light and fluffy
- Add in cream cheese and beat until fully incorporated and fluffy
- Add in vanilla extract and beat to incorporate
- Add sugar and beat until sugar is completely dissolved
- If the texture is too firm, add whipping cream a little at a time until you get the desired texture.
- Keep refrigerated until ready to use, no longer than 5 days.