Cream cheese frosting is a classic topping that can be used on a variety of baked goods such as cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and more. It's a versatile frosting that can be adjusted to suit any flavor and can be used for both sweet and savory dishes. In this article, we will guide you through a step-by-step recipe to make the best cream cheese frosting that will have your taste buds dancing. It's my go-to frosting for my Red Velvet Cupcakes.
Who Invented Cream Cheese Frosting?
The exact origins of cream cheese frosting are unknown, but it is believed to have originated in the United States in the early 20th century. Cream cheese itself was invented in 1872 by a New York dairyman named William Lawrence. It is said that he accidentally stumbled upon the recipe while trying to create a French-style cheese, but instead ended up creating a new type of cheese that was creamy and spreadable.
It was created shortly after the invention of cream cheese itself, as cream cheese makes an excellent base for a smooth and creamy frosting. The earliest known recipe for cream cheese frosting was published in the "Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese Cookbook" in 1915, which featured recipes that used Philadelphia brand cream cheese as the main ingredient.
Since then, cream cheese frosting has become a staple in American baking and has evolved to include a variety of flavors and variations. In addition to vanilla cream cheese frosting, there are now recipes for chocolate cream cheese frosting, pumpkin spice cream cheese frosting, and even savory cream cheese frostings that can be used on dishes like bagels and sandwiches.
Today, cream cheese frosting is a beloved topping for a variety of baked goods, including cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. It's smooth, creamy texture and subtle tanginess make it a perfect complement to sweet desserts.
- 3-8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Soften the cream cheese and butter: To get started, take out the cream cheese and butter from the refrigerator and allow them to soften at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Softening the ingredients will help ensure a smooth and creamy frosting.
- Beat the cream cheese and butter: Once the cream cheese and butter have softened, add them to a mixing bowl and beat them together until they are well combined and smooth. You can use a stand mixer, hand mixer, or even a whisk to beat the ingredients together.
- Add the powdered sugar: Next, add the powdered sugar to the mixing bowl, one cup at a time, and beat the mixture after each addition until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Depending on the desired consistency of the frosting, you may need to add more or less powdered sugar. We recommend starting with 2 cups and then gradually adding more until you reach the desired sweetness.
- Add vanilla extract: Once the frosting has reached the desired sweetness, add the vanilla extract and beat the mixture until it is well combined. The vanilla extract will add a subtle flavor to the frosting and help balance out the sweetness.
- Refrigerate the frosting: After the frosting is prepared, we recommend refrigerating it for about 30 minutes to an hour to help it set and thicken. This will also make it easier to spread on your baked goods.
- Be sure to use softened cream cheese and butter for a smooth and creamy frosting.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar to ensure the frosting is not too sweet.
- For a thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar.
- For a thinner frosting, add a small amount of milk or cream.
- Store the frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting: To make chocolate cream cheese frosting, simply add ½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to the cream cheese and butter mixture before adding the powdered sugar. You may also need to add a bit more powdered sugar to offset the bitterness of the cocoa powder.
- Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting: For a refreshing and tangy twist on classic cream cheese frosting, add the zest of one lemon and 2-3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice to the cream cheese and butter mixture before adding the powdered sugar.
- Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting: For a warm and cozy flavor, add 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon to the cream cheese and butter mixture before adding the powdered sugar.
- Maple Cream Cheese Frosting: For a sweet and rich flavor, substitute ¼ cup of maple syrup for the vanilla extract in the classic cream cheese frosting recipe. You may also need to adjust the amount of powdered sugar to achieve the desired consistency.
- Savory Cream Cheese Frosting: Cream cheese frosting doesn't have to be sweet! For a savory twist, omit the vanilla extract and add ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of onion powder, and a pinch of salt to the cream cheese and butter mixture. This frosting can be used on bagels, sandwiches, or as a dip for crackers and veggies.
Classic Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Perfect on carrot cakes, red velvet cakes, and spice cakes.
- Delicious with cinnamon rolls or banana bread.
Citrus Zest Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Pairs beautifully with lemon cupcakes, orange chiffon cake, or gingerbread cookies.
- Try it on a poppy seed cake for an unexpected twist.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Ideal for chocolate or devil’s food cake, and chocolate cupcakes.
- Pairs well with peppermint brownies during the holiday season.
Maple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Excellent on pumpkin spice cake, apple cinnamon muffins, or sweet potato cupcakes.
- Try it on a French toast casserole for a brunch treat.
Berry Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Delicious on vanilla or lemon cupcakes, angel food cake, or shortbread cookies.
- Pairs well with chocolate cake for a chocolate-covered berry experience.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Perfect for piña colada cupcakes, coconut layer cake, or pineapple upside-down cake.
- Try it on a hummingbird cake for a tropical twist.
Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Pairs wonderfully with banana cake, zucchini bread, or pecan spice cupcakes.
- Try it on chocolate cupcakes for a Nutella-like experience.
Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Excellent on gingerbread, chai spiced cupcakes, or a spiced pear cake.
- Pairs well with a pumpkin roll or molasses cookies.
Boozy Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Ideal for rum cake, bourbon-infused chocolate cake, or a Guinness stout cake.
- Try it on a tipsy tiramisu for an adult dessert.
Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Delicious on espresso brownies, mocha cupcakes, or a coffee-infused chocolate cake.
- Pairs well with a classic coffee cake or tiramisu.
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Perfect for vegan carrot cakes, vegan red velvet cupcakes, or any plant-based dessert.
- Pairs well with vegan spice cakes or vegan chocolate cakes.
Feel free to mix and match these pairings based on your personal preferences and enjoy the delightful combinations!
Temperature Control: Cream cheese is a dairy product and should be kept refrigerated. Once you've made your frosting, it should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours. In hot weather (above 90°F or 32°C), this time reduces to just one hour.
Storage: Any desserts or leftover frosting should be stored in the refrigerator. Make sure to cover them well to prevent the frosting from absorbing odors from other foods. Cream cheese frosting can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Freezing: If you need to store the frosting for a longer period, you can freeze cream cheese frosting. Place it in an airtight container and freeze for up to one month. Thaw in the refrigerator before using and give it a good stir to bring back its consistency.
Quality of Ingredients: Always use fresh, high-quality ingredients when making your frosting. Check the expiration dates on your cream cheese, butter, and any dairy products you might be using.
Cleanliness: Ensure that all utensils, bowls, and work surfaces are clean and sanitized before you start making your frosting. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling any ingredients.
Allergens: Be mindful of potential allergens, especially when adding variations like nuts or coconut. Clearly label any items that contain allergens when serving to others.
Taste and Smell: If the frosting or any of the ingredients you are using smell or taste off, do not consume. When in doubt, throw it out.
By following these food safety guidelines, you can help ensure that your cream cheese frosting is not only scrumptious but also safe to enjoy. Happy baking!
Q: Can I make cream cheese frosting ahead of time?
A: Yes, you can make cream cheese frosting ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. When you're ready to use it, let it come to room temperature and give it a quick stir before spreading it on your baked goods.
Q: Why does my cream cheese frosting look lumpy or curdled?
A: Cream cheese frosting can sometimes look lumpy or curdled if the cream cheese and butter are not fully softened or if they are too cold. To avoid this, be sure to let the cream cheese and butter come to room temperature before beating them together, and be sure to beat them together until they are well combined and smooth.
Q: How do I adjust the consistency of my cream cheese frosting?
A: To make your cream cheese frosting thicker, add more powdered sugar. To make it thinner, add a small amount of milk or cream, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
Q: Can I use low-fat cream cheese to make cream cheese frosting?
A: Yes, you can use low-fat cream cheese to make cream cheese frosting, but the texture and flavor may be slightly different than if you use full-fat cream cheese. The frosting may be slightly thinner and less creamy, and the flavor may be slightly tangier.
Q: Can I freeze cream cheese frosting?
A: Yes, you can freeze cream cheese frosting for up to three months. To thaw it, simply take it out of the freezer and let it come to room temperature before using. Be sure to give it a quick stir before spreading it on your baked goods, as the texture may be slightly grainy after freezing.Print
The Best Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
3 - 8oz packages of cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter - softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
- In mixer, add cream cheese and butter. Mix until smooth.
- Add vanilla extract and mix.
- Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and mix until smooth.
Keywords: cream cheese frosting