Cream Cheese Frosting is a great one homemade frosting recipe to have on hand. You can frost cupcakes, cookies, or cake recipes. Or, spread between two graham crackers to make a graham cracker sandwich. It is creamy and delicious and is made with just 4 ingredients!
I use this Classic Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe on the Best Birthday Carrot Cake every year for Grumpy's Birthday. This creamy, sweet frosting goes perfectly with the lightly spiced cake.
About this Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
One of my favorite snacks ever was a graham cracker sandwichs. Spread a layer of cream cheese frosting on top of a graham cracker and then topping it with another cracker. This graham cracker sandwich was so good, that even as an adult, I will enjoy the occasional treat. That is when I have leftover cream cheese frosting!
This recipe is a very basic cream cheese frosting. You don't need any liquid, other than the extract flavoring. The cream cheese and powdered sugar come together in a thick and creamy, easy to spread frosting.
What you need to make this recipe
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Butter: Salted and room temperature butter should be used. If the butter is too hard, soften it in the microwave per your microwave instructions. If you use unsalted, you should add ¼ teaspoon salt to the recipe.
Cream Cheese: The cream cheese should sit on the counter and be brought to room temperature before using it. Give the cream cheese a boost softening, by using the microwave per your microwave instructions. Be sure the wrapper is removed before you use the microwave.
Powdered Sugar: This is also known as confectioner's sugar. There is a difference in brands, some are not as smooth as others. This is my favorite brand.
Vanilla Extract: Be sure to use a good quality vanilla extract. The imitation flavored vanilla is nowhere near as good as the real thing.
Tips for a successful frosting recipe
- Make sure the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature. If your room temperature is normally cool, then soften the products in the microwave according to your microwave instructions. My microwave has a soften setting.
- Mix the sugar in 1 cup at a time. Be sure to blend the cream cheese mixture with the powdered sugar thoroughly before adding another cup. The frosting should hold it's shape by the time you are completed.
- Refrigerate the frosted items. Keeping them cook helps the frosting to keep its shape. Especially if it is extra warm in the home.
- If the powdered sugar is lumpy, give it a sift in a flour sifter before scooping and measuring.
Can this Cream Cheese Frosting be made Low Carb Keto?
You can easily make this cream cheese frosting low carb and keto-friendly by making just one substitution.
I highly recommend using this powdered monkfruit in place of regular powdered sugar. Powdered sweetener will not have the grittiness that regular sweetener will have. This particular sweetener is a 1:1 ratio. You would use the same amount of sweetener as you do regular sugar.
If the frosting is a little too thick, you can thin it out with a little bit of heavy cream.
Variations to this recipe
- Make it a chocolate cream cheese frosting and substitute ½ cup cocoa powder for ½ cup of the powdered sugar.
- Give it a little bit of spice and mix in 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon.
- Flavor it with1 teaspoon lemon extract instead of vanilla and add the zest of 1 lemon.
- Make a lower fat version by using low-fat cream cheese (do not do this for low carb keto).
- Substitute coconut extract for the vanilla. When the cake is frosted, decorate the top or sides with coconut flakes.
What to frost with this cream cheese frosting
Grumpys number one choice is this Best Carrot Cake! It is his favorite recipe of all time and he always requests it for his birthday.
Make this Banana Cake recipe and substitute the maple browned butter frosting for this cream cheese frosting.
Use it in place of the chocolate buttercream on this Homemade Mayonnaise Cake.
This frosting is also great on donuts! Make this Wallflower Donut or theseApple Cider Glazed Doughnutsand top them with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting is also delicious on these Applesauce Drop Cookies!
Skip the crumb topping on these Rhubarb Muffins with Crumb Topping. Then spread a little of the keto cream cheese frosting version on top to keep the recipe completely keto!
If your not keto, you can do the same thing with these regular Rhubarb Crumb Muffins with the real sugar version.
Note: This Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe will frost 1 layer cake or 24 cupcakes.
Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
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- 2 8 oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup salted butter room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, mix together cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined
- Mix 1 cup of sugar at a time, until smooth and creamy. Use to frost your favorite cake or cupcake recipes.
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