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    The Best Cream Cheese Frosting

    This cream cheese frosting is literally THE BEST you’re going to try. It’s rich, creamy, tart and has the perfect level of sweetness. It’s a great stable cream cheese frosting too, making it ideal for piping!

    Piped cream cheese frosting

    What makes this cream cheese frosting the best?

    Okay I know everyone says their version of something is the best. BUT, I have to say that I don’t think I’ve tried a cream cheese frosting that tastes better than this one.

    The secret? LEMON JUICE! With the addition of fresh lemon juice (yes – it must be FRESH!), there’s an added layer of tartness. It adds an incredible depth of flavour and is the perfect combo with cream cheese for this buttercream!

    Did you know I also have a chocolate cream cheese frosting recipe! It’s equally as good, and you can find it here.

    Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting

    This recipe will require:

    Unsalted butter: You’ll need the butter to be at room temperature, and I would highly recommend using unsalted butter as it results in a less harsh tasting buttercream.

    Icing/confectioners’ sugar (also called powdered sugar)

    Cream cheese: for a more stable frosting you want to use a firm, full-fat cream cheese. They sometimes come in a brick.

    Vanilla essence/extract

    Fresh lemon juice: This is going to add a wonderful tart flavor to the frosting and helps cut through the sweetness.

    How to make this frosting

    This cream cheese frosting comes together SO EASILY!

    You want to start off by creaming your butter in a large mixing bowl for a few minutes using an electric mixer, until it’s light and fluffy. This is going to give your frosting a lighter texture.

    Cream cheese frosting step 1 & 2

    Next you want to add in your icing/confectioners sugar in 3 batches, whilst mixing on a low speed. This is going to ensure that our icing sugar doesn’t go everywhere!

    Then add in your cold cream cheese, vanilla essence or vanilla extract and fresh lemon juice. Mix on a medium high speed just until the frosting is smooth. Avoid over-mixing as this can result in a less stable frosting.

    Cream cheese frosting step 3 & 4

    Cream cheese frosting step 5 & 6

    And that is it! You should end up with a smooth cream cheese frosting 🙂

    Final cream cheese frosting

    Commonly Asked Questions

    Can I use this frosting for cake decorating and layer cakes?

    If you’re making a simple 2 layer cake, then yes it can be used as a frosting for the inside and outside. However, as with most cream cheese frostings it will soften up slightly at room temperature making it less stable. Because of this, for cakes with 3 or more layers, I would recommend using this frosting only as a filling.

    Below is an example of my red velvet cake recipe (2 layers), which I frosted with this cream cheese frosting. It held together well as it was only 2 layers, but I imagine if I added more layers then I may run into some problems with layers sliding off!

    Cream cheese frosting piping

    Can I pipe with this cream cheese frosting?

    ABSOLUTELY! So the trick to getting a firm enough consistency is using cold, firm cream cheese (not the spreadable type). This will give you a nice pipeable consistency that’s great for cakes and cupcakes.

    If it’s really hot where you live, and your frosting is starting to soften up after some time, simply place it back into the fridge for about 30 minutes, and then rewhip it. It should be back at a nice pipeable consistency.

    How do you make cream cheese frosting thicker or more stable?

    There are a few ways you can increase the stability of this frosting or make it a bit thicker.

    – Add in more icing/powdered sugar (if you don’t mind a little extra sweetness). Add in a tablespoon at a time and taste test as you go.

    – Secondly, you can add in some cornstarch to thicken up the frosting. I would add in about 2 tablespoons max, otherwise it can start to impact the taste/texture of your frosting.

    – You can also add in meringue powder or arrowroot powder. About 2 teaspoons of each per batch of frosting.

    How do you store cream cheese frosting?

    Because this frosting contains cream cheese, proper storage is important to maintain its texture and prevent it from spoiling. It will be okay to leave out at room temperature for the day (as the sugar in the frosting prevents the cream cheese from spoiling too quickly), but after that it should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight.

    Can you freeze cream cheese frosting?

    Yes, you can freeze cream cheese frosting to extend its shelf life. Freezing cream cheese frosting is a good way to preserve it for later use, especially if you have leftover frosting that you don’t plan to use immediately. Simply place it in an airtight container and freeze for upto 3 months.

    It’s important to note that although cream cheese frosting does generally freeze quite well (due to the high fat content), sometimes freezing can slightly alter the texture, and it may become slightly softer or grainy after thawing. However, re-whipping can usually help improve its texture.

    What can I use cream cheese frosting for?

    Cream cheese frosting can be used for so many different flavoured cakes! Some of my favourite options are my spice cake recipe, carrot cake recipe and red velvet cake recipe.

     

    Piped cream cheese frosting

    Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

    This cream cheese frosting is literally THE BEST you're going to try. It's rich, creamy, tart and has the perfect level of sweetness. It's great for piping too!
    5 from 36 votes
    Print Pin Rate Watch Video
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 10 minutes
    Servings: 4 cups

    IMPORTANT: For accuracy, I would recommend using the gram measurements provided as those are the exact quantities I use. Cup measurements are given as estimates (based on US cup measurements) to make it easier for those who do not have a scale.

    Ingredients
     

    • 1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter - room temp
    • cups (570 g) powdered sugar - also known as confectioners/icing sugar. Use more for a thicker frosting (see note 1)
    • cups (335 g) cream cheese - cold, firm type (see note 2)
    • tsp vanilla essence/extract
    • tbsp lemon juice - must be fresh

    Instructions

    • To a large bowl add in unsalted butter and using an electric mixer (hand or stand mixer are both fine - use the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer) cream for a few minutes on a medium high speed until it's light and fluffy.
    • Add in the powdered sugar in 3 batches while mixing on low. Ensure that each batch of powdered sugar is mixed into the butter well before adding in the next batch.
    • Next add in your cold cream cheese, vanilla and fresh lemon juice and mix on a medium speed just until the frosting is smooth. Avoid over-mixing (see note 3). If using a stand mixer, you may need to mix on a high speed to get everything nice and smooth (see note 4 if your frosting is lumpy).

    Video

    YouTube video

    Notes

    Note 1. As with most cream cheese frostings, it will become slightly softer at room temperature and may not be as easy to pipe. If it's too soft, simply place it back into the fridge for 20-30 minutes, rewhip it and then use for piping. If you want a thicker frosting, you can add more icing sugar (I'd add 2 tbsp extra at a time at the end and taste test as I go), until you're happy with the level of sweetness. More thickening options are in the blog post above. 
    Note 2. To ensure that your frosting isn't too soft, you want to use a firm cream cheese, not the spreadable type. You also want to use cold cream cheese as this will help your frosting stay firmer for longer, particularly if you want to use it for piping. If you stay in a hot climate and your frosting is softening up after some time, simply place it into the fridge for 30 minutes and then rewhip it. This will bring it back to a pipeable consistency. 
    Note 3. Only mix the frosting until it's smooth. Once it's smooth stop mixing as over-mixing can result in a less stable frosting. This is because of the liquid in the cream cheese breaking down the icing sugar. 
    Note 4. If you end up with lumpy frosting, this is most likely due to the cream cheese not mixing in properly. This is more of a problem if using a stand mixer. To remedy this, mix on the highest speed. If it doesn't help, swap the paddle attachement with the whisk attachment and mix on a high speed - this should do the trick :). Alternatively, you can whip the cream cheese first and get it smooth before adding it to the frosting. 

    Nutrition

    Calories: 1085kcal | Carbohydrates: 150g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 50g | Saturated Fat: 31g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 140mg | Sodium: 638mg | Potassium: 274mg | Fiber: 0.02g | Sugar: 145g | Vitamin A: 1546IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 331mg | Iron: 0.3mg

    Nutritional information are estimates only as they are automatically calculated by a third party application. Actual values may differ based on brands and types of products used.

    Keyword: cream cheese, cream cheese buttercream, cream cheese frosting
    Tried this recipe?I love hearing from you! Tag me @cakesbymk.nz on instagram so I can see your amazing creations 🙂

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    74 Comments

    • Dana

      5 stars
      I tried this recipe for my granddaughter’s carrot cake birthday cake and its flavor matches wonderfully with it!
      It is very similar to my grandmother’s recipe from 50 years ago!
      Thank you for bring back beautiful memories of my grandmother

      • Cakes by MK

        Aww that is so lovely Dana! It’s so wonderful when food brings back special memories 🙂 so so happy to hear you enjoyed the frosting!

    • Massi

      5 stars
      Hi there,

      I am trying to work this out with ml’s. I thought 1 gr =1 ml so i for example im trying to make this with 570mls and it tells me its = 2 cups not 4 so im wondering what is right! 🙁 I think i messed up the red velvet cake because of this so should i follow the cups instead? I had the same issue with the us tablespoons which are 15ml 🥲

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Massi! 🙂 Converting from ml to grams can be a bit tricky particularly with different ingredients with different densities. I believe the 1 gr= 1 ml works okay for some liquid measurements like water, but not for dry ingredients. I would recommend using the gram measurements if possible, otherwise sticking to cups/spoons will be your next best option 🙂 hope that helps!

    • jack torres

      About how many cups of frosting does 1x batch of this make? I’m making a 2 layer 8-inch heart shaped vintage style cake and want to make enough to layer the cake, crumb coat, base coat, and have enough to do plenty of piping details. What would you suggest?

      Also I love all the details and information you provide on this recipe/article. Can’t wait to try this recipe out :)!

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Jack! 🙂 This recipe makes about 4 cups of frosting. For what you need, I would recommend making 1.5 or even 2x the recipe 🙂 just keep in mind it is a cream cheese frosting so if the weather is warm the extra piping may not hold up as well! I have piped a cake with rosettes using this frosting (check out my red velvet cake post for pictures) and it worked great, but in hot weather I would recommend only using it as a filling/crumb coat and then another more stable frosting (like my silky smooth buttercream recipe) for the outside and piping 🙂
        Hope that helps and so glad you appreciated all the extra info 😀

    • Georgette

      5 stars
      Hi Maryam , I am trying your banana cake recipe now 🤗 It’s still baking at the moment but I can tell it smells amazing already. I tried your super fluffy sponge cake as well and they were Perfectly soft ! . I can tell that only your recipe are 100% accurate as long as you follow it from home. I will follow only your recipe from now on! Bdw , can I ask if I can use mascaporne instead of cream cheese ? I cannot find cream cheese here in the UK , the only have soft cheese and other sort of cheese. 🤣

    • Hester Korff

      Hi there I’m trying your carrot cake and frosting today…can I keep the cake after icing on the counter top or in the fridge..I’m from South Africa.Thank you Hester

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Hester! You can leave it out at room temperature for the day, but I would recommend refrigerating it overnight 🙂 hope you enjoy the recipe!

    • NABEEHA

      CAN THIS BATCH COVER 3 LAYER 6 INCH CAKE?]
      WOULDN’T IT BE A PROBLEM IF I REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF SUGAR?

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Nabeeha! Yes 1x this batch will be enough 🙂 you can reduce the sugar slightly but just keep in mind the more you reduce the sugar the less stable the frosting will be. Hope you enjoy it! 🙂

    • Sofy

      Salam. I wanna ask, why my cream cheese frosting had lumps (i used cold cream cheese) ? Why the sugar didn’t dissolve completely ( i sifted the icing sugar, even twice to ensure there is no lumps) ? What speed would you recommend when using stand mixer and how long should I beat the cream cheese frosting? Is it okay if i use room temperature cream cheese?

      • Cakes by MK

        Salaams Sofy! So if using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, then you will need to use a high speed for everything to combine properly. I usually use a hand mixer, but if using a stand mixer then it’s probably best to whip the cream cheese separately so that it becomes smooth, and then add it in later on in the recipe when required. You could also try using the whisk attachment on a high speed and this may do the job a bit better. Hope this helps 🙂

    • Prita

      Can I keep the cream cheese frosting in the freezer? How long can I keep it in the refrigerator? Thanks.

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Prita! I haven’t tried freezing it myself but usually you can freeze cream cheese frostings. This frosting can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks 🙂

    • Mariam

      اسلام عليكم
      Your cream cheese frosting is the BEST!
      Can you suggest me something if the frosting gets too lemoney

      • Cakes by MK

        Wassalaam! So happy to hear you’re enjoying the recipe Mariam 🙂 and if you prefer a less tangy frosting, then you can reduce the amount of lemon juice or leave it out completely 🙂 if you want to fix a frosting that’s accidentally got too much lemon in it, then you can add a little more cream cheese and icing sugar to the frosting and mix that in until just combined. Hope that helps!

        • Emily Ellingson

          I’m new to cake making/decorating. Just used your recipe and loved it! A new favorite! Thank you!!

          • Cakes by MK

            Awesome! So happy you enjoyed the recipe Emily 🙂

          • Georgette

            Hi Maryam , I am trying your banana cake recipe now 🤗 It’s still baking at the moment but I can tell it smells amazing already. I tried your super fluffy sponge cake as well and they were Perfectly soft ! . I can tell that only your recipe are 100% accurate as long as you follow it from home. I will follow only your recipe from now on! Bdw , can I ask if I can use mascaporne instead of cream cheese ? I cannot find cream cheese here in the UK , the only have soft cheese and other sort of cheese. 🤣

    • Brendan

      Hiya
      I had a great response with this recipie, thank you! 😊

      I was wondering if I could use vanilla sugar instead of essence?
      3 tablespoons?

      • Cakes by MK

        So happy to hear that Brendan! 🙂 I’ve never actually used vanilla sugar before (I don’t think we get that here in New Zealand) so I’m not too sure sorry!

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    About me

    Welcome to my blog! My name is Maryam and I LOVE baking! :) I hope to provide you with the tools (i.e. simple, from-scratch, quality tested recipes), so that you can confidently bake up delicious treats to share with your family and friends!

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