Hi, my name is Kate (“Hi, Kate!”) and I’m addicted to cream cheese frosting. Addicted. Like…we should not be left alone together because I will inevitably do something that will make me feel shameful and sad that the workout I did that morning will count for nothing and then some. This problem is only exacerbated by the fact that my husband hates cream cheese frosting. Yes, you read that right–he likes potted meat food product (he says it reminds him of the two years he spent in Norway, which makes me sad for him…and Norway…because I’m sure that’s not how it wants to be remembered), but he doesn’t like cream cheese frosting. So if I ever make it, I have no one to share it with and I have to be accountable for all the frosting. It’s kind of like when Uncle Ben tells Peter Parker that with great power comes great responsibility and those words echo in his mind when he’s not using his spidey powers responsibly. I have the power to make this amazing frosting, but then I can hear those words when I lick the beaters. And the spatula. And I squeeze some from the icing bag onto my finger.
For the longest, longest time, I could not find a recipe for cream cheese frosting that I liked. I knew what I wanted–the stuff swirled on top of the boutique cupcakes, not too sweet, something kind of like creamy, spreadable cheesecake. I wanted a really distinct cream cheese flavor, but every recipe I found called for so much butter and sugar that the cream cheese flavor was completely overwhelmed.
And then I found this recipe. And my life was changed. For better or worse I can’t say, but, at least in my book, this is the perfect cream cheese frosting.
If you’re not super crazy about cream cheese or if you like sweeter frostings, this might not be your thing, but if you love that thick, creamy, cream-cheesy frosting on carrot cakes and spice cakes and pumpkin-y stuff and your finger, this one’s for you.
The ingredients aren’t any different than other cream cheese frosting recipes–cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla (or almond) extract. The difference is the proportions–this calls for way more cream cheese and cuts down on the butter and powdered sugar. Notice how I’m using light cream cheese? Like that somehow makes my addiction okay, or even healthy? It doesn’t.
Beat together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla (or almond) extract until it’s light and fluffy. You might want to keep the ingredients a little on the cool side–like not quite softened to room temperature. That will prevent the frosting from getting too soft. Add the powdered sugar… (and it’s really not very much powdered sugar) and beat it until it’s light and fluffy.
And then you’re done. Which is part of the danger–I’m only 5 minutes away from reckless abandon. Slather it onto these sugar cookies, this carrot cake, or your favorite cinnamon rolls, or skip the streusel and swirl it onto these muffins… (which then become cupcakes, at least in my brain). Also, in my house, the chocolate chips would have to go because as much as I love cream cheese frosting and chocolate, I don’t like them together. Don’t ask.
Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese (light works fine, although it will yield a slightly softer frosting) at almost room temperature
1/2 cup salted butter at almost room temperature
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
Whip together the cream cheese, butter, and extract until light and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar and whip until smooth and fully incorporated. Refrigerate any leftovers (or anything you’ve frosted that doesn’t get eaten immediately).