Soft, smooth, and silky Cream Cheese Frosting is perfect for so many cakes and cupcakes! There are only 4 ingredients needed for this frosting and a few minutes of your time. Make it in the classic vanilla flavor or try my chocolate cream cheese frosting – both are pretty perfect!
Cake just isn’t cake without frosting! If you’re a frosting lover like I am, you definitely need to check out my other easy recipes for whipped cream cheese frosting and strawberry buttercream frosting. They’ll definitely have you licking the spoon!
Cream cheese frosting is my absolute favorite frosting for pretty much all of my cakes and cupcakes! It truly goes perfectly with any flavor of cake, not just the usual pairings with carrot cake and red velvet cupcakes. Try adding some of this frosting to cheesecakes, brownies, cookies, and even some fun dessert tacos! And let’s be honest… if you’re a real frosting lover like I am, you may just be licking this stuff right off a spoon.
This list of uses for this homemade frosting is endless. Oh, and it’s VERY easy to make! Even though this frosting can be somewhat finicky, when you follow my easy steps you really shouldn’t have any problems. This truly is a beautiful frosting with soft, creamy texture. It’s not overly sweet because I personally hate frosting that is too sugary sweet – it actually makes my teeth hurt!
If your frosting is too sweet, it takes away from the dessert rather than complimenting and elevating it. Many people are a little afraid of cream cheese frosting because it can be too loose, lumpy, or grainy. Hopefully, the tips that I share in this post will help you resolve the most common frosting problems! Whether you’re in a chocolatey mood or want to stick with classic vanilla, you’ll be glad you used this recipe that has just the right amount of sweetness.
Butter – Unsalted and softened is the way to go!
Cream Cheese – For the best consistency, use cream cheese that has a full fat content. Also, the temperature of the cream cheese should be cold – not softened.
Powdered Sugar – Don’t use any other type of sugar. This is perfect for both the consistency and sweetness of the frosting.
Vanilla Extract – Pure vanilla extract is what’s needed here! Avoid using imitation if you can help it.
Cocoa Powder and Baking Chocolate – These ingredients are only needed if you’re making chocolate frosting.
See recipe card for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
Step 1: Use a whisk attachment on an electric mixer to beat together the butter and cream cheese together on medium-high speed until smooth for a couple of minutes.
Step 2: Lower the speed to low and beat in powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
Step 3: Increase the speed back to medium-high and beat for another minute until the frosting is light, smooth, and fluffy.
How to Make Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
Step 1: Melt chocolate in the microwave and use the “melt” setting. If melting setting is not available, melt at half the power for 45 seconds, stir and melt for 30 more seconds. Continue to microwave in 30 second increments at half the power and stirring in between until the chocolate is melted. Let it cool for a couple of minutes.
Step 2: Add the cocoa powder at the same time as powdered sugar. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl.
Step 3: Increase the speed to medium-high and drizzle in melted chocolate while frosting is beating until all combined.
Tips for the Best Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Use block full fat cream cheese! Always use full fat cream cheese in frosting. Reduced fat cream cheese and cream cheese spread has higher liquid content and can result in softer, runnier frosting. So use a block of full fat cream cheese.
- Make sure butter is softened. Butter should be softened before beating it with cream cheese or you many end up with lumpy frosting. Pull butter out of the refrigerator about an hour before making frosting to let it get to temperature. Or, use the correct microwave setting to soften butter. (Consult your manual.)
- Use cool cream cheese. While butter should be softened, it’s better to keep cream cheese cold. I usually pull cream cheese out of the refrigerator and out of the box about 15 minutes before making the frosting.
- Do not over-beat. Make sure not to beat the cream cheese and sugar for too long. Powdered sugar actually helps bring out the liquid out in the cream cheese so beating it for too long will result in runnier frosting. So beat butter and cream cheese first, and then add powdered sugar and beat just until incorporated.
- Use whisk attachment. The whisk attachment is better to use for most frosting recipes because it whips the ingredients and results into fluffier, more stable frosting.
- Use meringue powder to stabilize, not more sugar. If you still feel like you want a little more stability in your frosting, don’t add more sugar. Sugar may not necessarily help and your frosting will be overly-sweet. If you don’t want to have overly-sweet frosting, use 2-3 tablespoons of meringue powder to stabilize the frosting.
- Refrigerate for a few minutes before frosting. If I feel like the frosting is a little too soft, or I left it at room temperature for a little while before frosting, I pop it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. It will hold up better to frosting and still be soft enough to spread easily.
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Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 8 oz full fat cream cheese cool
- 2 – 2.5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 oz baking chocolate melted
- Use a whisk attachment when possible.
- Beat butter and cream cheese together, on medium-high speed, until smooth, for a couple of minutes.
- Lower the speed to low and beat in powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
- Turn up the speed back to medium-high and beat for another minute, until the frosting is light, smooth, and fluffy.
For chocolate frosting:
- Melt chocolate in the microwave on "melt" setting. If melting setting is not available, melt at half the power for 45 seconds, stir and melt for 30 more seconds. Continue to microwave in 30 second increments at half the power and stirring in between until the chocolate is melted. Let it cool for a couple of minutes
- Add cocoa powder at the same time as powdered sugar. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Raise the speed to medium-high and drizzle in melted chocolate while frosting is beating until all combined.