Creamy and thick homemade cream cheese frosting is easy to make using only 4 ingredients. It's the perfect topping to carrot cake, cupcakes, pumpkin cake, cinnamon rolls and so much more.
Homemade cream cheese frosting is so simple to make! Its flavor far exceeds any store bought cream cheese frosting. It's sweet and tangy, a delicious combination that can be used for more than just carrot cake and red velvet cake. It's an excellent substitute for traditional buttercream for those wanting to change it up a bit. This cream cheese frosting, is smooth, creamy and can be easily applied to cakes, cupcakes and cinnamon rolls.
Homemade cream cheese frosting ingredients
Cream cheese provides the tangy flavor that gives your frosting the perfect edge.
Butter contributes to the creaminess of the frosting.
Powdered sugar adds the sweetness that balances the tanginess of the cream cheese. It also gives the strength to frosting to become the perfect stiffness.
Pure vanilla extract the final balance to the frosting's flavor. If making coconut cupcakes substitute 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with coconut extract for added extra coconut flavor.
How to make the ideal homemade cream cheese frosting for decorating cakes and piping on cupcakes
First and foremost, it's essential to use the right type of cream cheese. This is a time that you don't want to skimp on fat, use full fat cream cheese. It will not only produce the most flavorful frosting, but it will also help prevent it from becoming too thin. Additionally, use full fat block cream cheese as oppose to the cream cheese spread (which comes in a tub). The spread version has a higher concentration of water and will therefore create a runny cream cheese frosting. Save yourself the trouble and get the block cream cheese!
Always ensure that your cream cheese is softened to room temperature. The butter should also be softened to room temperature but it is especially important for the cream cheese to be. This will allow the two ingredients to be mixed until completely smooth and creamy. Cream cheese that isn't completely at room temperature will create lumps in your frosting that are next to impossible to get ride of (take it from me, avoid the headache and allow your cream cheese to sit for about 1 hour at room temperature before using).
Ways to apply homemade cream cheese frosting
Always make sure your cake or cupcakes have fully cooled before applying homemade cream cheese frosting. If I am decorating a layer cake, I prefer to take the extra step of refrigerating my cake layers for 30 minutes to 1 hour before applying the frosting. This will help prevent cake crumbs from mixing into your frosting.
For layer cakes
Using a cake stand is the most efficient (and simple) way to decorating layer cakes. On your cake stand, place a cake board on top of the non-slip pad. Add your first layer and using a serrated knife, slice the top of the cake to make flat. Using a rubber spatula, scoop some homemade cream cheese frosting on top and spread with an offset spatula. Spread to desired thickness. Top with second layer and again slice the top of the cake to make flat. Alternately, you cake place the bottom layer facing up and the top layer facing down. Add extra icing to fill in a gaps between the layers. Continue to decorate tops and sides of the cake. Use the offset spatula to create beautiful swirls.
For sheet cakes
You can either decorate a sheet cake straight in the baking pan if you prefer serve it from there or you can remove from the pan if you prefer to finish all sides with frosting. If removing from the pan, place on a cake board before frosting. Using a rubber spatula, scoop a good amount of frosting on to the top of the cake and use an offset spatula to spread to desired thickness. Continue to apply frosting to the cake using the offset spatula until completely covered.
Fit a pastry bag with a large star tip and fill 1/3 to 1/2 of the bag with frosting. In one motion pipe two circles of cream cheese frosting on top of each cupcake. As you get close to completing the second circle, ease up on squeezing the cream cheese frosting and release it completely once you’ve achieved the second circle. Keep rotating the bag to gradually release the second swirl from the piping tip. This produces a smoother finish and looks prettier.
Often because of hot ovens, summer heat or just heat in general, the air temperature will slowly warm your frosting as it sits. When its time to apply your frosting to your cake or cupcakes you might find that it has suddenly become soft and won't hold its shape as well as when it was mixed. If this happens, immediately pop the frosting into the refrigerator (as is in the mixing bowl or piping bag) for about 10 minutes to allow the frosting to stiffen back up.