Cream Cheese Frosting

If cream cheese frosting isn’t the raison d’etre of cinnamon rolls and carrot cake, you must have very good cinnamon roll and carrot cake recipes. (I do; I’ll share the last carrot cake recipe you’ll ever need soon).

Cream cheese frosting is very simple to make, and with one simple trick, you can make sure that your cream cheese frosting is smooth and creamy every time. You ready for it?

cream cheese frosting in mixing bowl

Let the cream cheese sit out until it reaches room temperature.

Doing this will ensure that your frosting doesn’t have any bumps and lumps when you’re finished, that it’s creamy and perfectly smoothly gloppy.

Cream cheese frosting is very simple. Mix the basics together and tinker with amounts of ingredients and optional additions so that the flavor and consistency suit your flavor preference and what you’ll put it on.

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

  • cream cheese 
  • powdered sugar
  • heavy cream
  • vanilla

Optional: butter, dash of salt, half and half or milk instead of heavy cream and/or any liquid you wish to use to add a flavor twist (maple syrup, coffee, etc.)

Cream Cheese Frosting Directions

1)  Soften cream cheese (and butter if you’re using) by bringing it to room temperature. Stick it in your mixer and beat it until it is creamy and “loose.”

2)  Add powdered sugar. The more powdered sugar you add, the stiffer the frosting. Be sure to turn OFF your mixer before you add the powdered sugar! Mix it well. At this point, it’ll be pretty stiff still.

cream cheese frosting - cream cheese and powdered sugar

3) Add a dash of vanilla extract. Mix again. Scrape sides of bowl down with spatula. Now it’s getting a bit smoother.

cream cheese frosting-2

4) Add your liquid of choice. Add only a teaspoon or so at a time because a little goes a long way. Mix well. The more liquid you add, the thinner your frosting will get. You can see the difference in the two pictures below.

cream cheese frosting in mixing bowl

cream cheese frosting in mixing bowl

To generously frost a 9×12 pan of carrot cake, I use one block of cream cheese, about a heaping cup of powdered sugar, a teaspoon or so of vanilla, 2-3 Tbs of butter, a dash of salt, and about a Tbs of heavy cream. I rarely measure since everything is adjustable to taste. (This makes pretty tart, reasonably thick, and quite rich frosting.)

Now that you know the secret, what will you frost?cream cheese frosting