Whether you are icing a danish, or a loaf of bread, there is certain consistency of frosting that you want. When I ice cinnamon bread, cinnamon pretzels, pumpkin bread, carrot cake, etc. I want a thick frosting that’s not too sweet, yet sticks to the bread, don’t you?
Sometimes frosting on baked goods is way too sweet and it takes away from that piece of bread or danish. The easy and perfect every time cream cheese frosting I am about to share with you is perfect for pita chip dipping, with apple slices or even drizzled on fresh strawberries.
If you are trying to ice that red velvet cake, then this frosting is one that will dazzle and defy your ask! Truly this turns out perfect every time! Let’s create this easy and perfect every time cream cheese frosting. Bookmark the recipe, double the batch, and frost everything! Life is better sweeter!
Easy and Perfect Every Time Cream Cheese Frosting
One thing I know for sure is that when you find a good recipe you will use it over and over. Once upon a time, I might have tried 3 or 4 recipes to arrive at one to top a cookie or a cake. Then I got practical.
In case you are wondering, as you read, I have suggested products because they are in my opinion, the best of the best. Overall they are products, I know, use and love and want to share them with you to yield the same results! Clicking on those items and purchasing the suggested item, may earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!
When you are ready to simplify your baking, try this recipe. In so many ways it is a one size fits all. You can change the color and consistency, and even the flavor. I’m not sure why everyone is not using this already.
From graham crackers to cupcakes and everything in between this cream cheese frosting is the one you are searching for.
TIPS TO HELP your Cream Cheese Frosting
My first tip is for you to find your favorite color of food coloring and change it up. White is always pretty but could you change it up and have an even better looking baked good? The answer in case it is not already crystal clear is YES!
All baked goods decorated with icing are more appealing to the eye when you add a little pop of color, so do it! Now if you are not fond of colors (really??) then add more flavor. Mine has a tint to it because my Vanilla is brown (got it in Mexico) and that is why it is no longer pure white!
I never USE FAT-FREE on icing so do not use this recipe and look for the same results if you do. You have been warned:) lol. While I always am health-conscious when it comes time for baking and handing out treats, I don’t make others abide by my healthy lifestyle!
Flavor Tips You Might Want To Consider for your Cream Cheese Frosting
Like I said this is easy and perfect every time it’s made so dive into your creative side. Use cinnamon to flavor, or peppermint, orange flavoring, rum, etc. There’s no end to possible flavors and colors, so variety is on you!
Now, before you flavor, the icing always consider the baked good you are producing. What will the icing flavor taste like when aligned atop a cookie, or in between the cookie, cake, etc.? If for example the flavor is barren, and it’s just a sugar cookie, make a lemon-flavored sugar cookie.
I don’t mean to take Lemon flavoring and put it in by the tablespoon. Rather, try rinsing a lemon, then drying it. You will be zesting it against a grater plane. Then add a teaspoon of the flavoring as well. Wait until you taste this. Remember fresh is always more intense and flavorful and the jarred flavoring will just be a CYA (cover your ass, lol) measurement!
Last, I alternate between vanilla and almond extract flavoring just so you know, and you can too! Truly it depends on the recipe that I made, in other words, what I am frosting.
Pro Home Chef Tip – A Zester is A Great Kitchen Gadget
I own a few different ‘zesters‘ because I am always zesting something. There’s no substitute for fresh as far as I am concerned and all of my clients think so too, it’s what keeps them coming back time and time again for more cookies and baked goods.
Invest in this, it’s a Lemon Zester. They are inexpensive, but I do suggest a Lemon Zester that has a non-skid handle and a stainless steel plain. Anything less is pure junk and if your hand should slip and get cut, ouch is all I can say! No one wants zested skin, and I had to say it!
BRAND LESSON TIPS – Cream Cheese Frosting
For those that prefer the store brand of cream cheese because it is less expensive and you are baking in bulk, purchase it. Never would I shun a store brand. In most cases, they are as good as if not better than the actual brand itself.
You all know that major brands private label for retailers anyway, so you are probably buying what is in the BRAND package just under the retailer name! Stock up on it when it is on sale and freeze it if you are not going to use it right away.
Consistency Matters, Changing Brands When Making Cream Cheese Frosting
Anticipate the need for more confectioners’ sugar before you start. When I switch between brands of cream cheese (I don’t know why I am a glutton for punishment) there is no consistency between the brands.
Therefore, I need more or fewer confectioners sugar when I create. Escape my sin of brand changing by buying the same brand each time! Also, consider keeping a larger bag than you might imagine you will need to be stocked up for baking.
Room Temperature Preparation of Your Cream Cheese Frosting
Room temperature cream cheese works best, I do not suggest microwaving to temperature, it changes the consistency of the cream cheese too much. You may want to read on if you are a kitchen rebel, or in a pinch with frozen cream cheese! Caution, I am not following what anyone has ever been warned about, and yet I am living, lol!
BREAKING THE RULES (use at your own discretion & don’t blame me!)
We have all been told not to bring things to room temperature on the counter. Here’s the thing I know. I owned a food service business, and I was the chef. Additionally, I had the food service management training, and all the certificates to accompany it.
Absolutely understand temperature, foods, and illness, but, I do bend the rules. Also, I know most of you bend the rules. I suggest only reading and listening to this part if you feel like it. Call me a kitchen rebel, but honesty in my website is how I roll.
I’ve walked into so many of my friends’ homes and I have seen more things thawing on the counter and in the sink than anyone would admit. So, game on! If your cream cheese is frozen, let it sit out. Further, if you want room temperature, let it sit out just a bit. Again, I am not suggesting a day-long engagement in the sink or on the counter.
Rather, as you are already working in the kitchen, perhaps prep a different cookie or cake batter and let it sit while you do that. Or move through 2 loaves of bread and their kneading.
Grab Your Mixer
I love my mixer and my scraper/paddle or this frosting! You can do this with a hand mixer or stand mixer, I just prefer putting it in my stand mixer and multi-tasking. Also, if you have a stand mixer, you can add the ingredients in one at a time without stopping and pretty much gauge what you may need to tweak.
For me, being able to let it mix and keep my hands on-the-move goes far! I can grab a batch of cookies out of the oven, or begin putting ingredients for another batter in a bowl. Time is everything when I bake, so I use appliances to enable me!
1 – 8-ounce Cream cheese
1 1/2 TBSP Vanilla Extract
3 C Confectioner’s Sugar
Food Coloring (optional) *see below for directions
Alternative Flavor to Vanilla (Optional) *see below for directions
Fresh Zesting (Optional) *see below in directions
There’s no particular order here, or at least I have never used a ‘consistent’ order! Yet, the consistency is perfect every single time! (Remember if you are doing a different flavor, instead of Vanilla, see below!)
Place everything in the mixer, and start out in the low setting. Please be aware that you will have powdered sugar everywhere if you start out on the fastest setting. Get the ingredients combined then let the mixer increase is speed.
In other words, start slow and then increase the speed. Also, you can add in MORE flavoring if that is not enough, this truly boils down to personal preference.
Adding In Flavor and or Color for Cream Cheese Frosting
For those of you who are creating a different flavor instead of the basic Vanilla, eliminate the Vanilla and add in your flavoring. If you are not using liquid flavoring (i.e. you are only putting in lemon zest, orange zest, coconut, etc) make sure to sub in water in the form of a TBSP. You can try less water at first, but you will certainly work up to the tablespoon.
Remember, this is the easiest icing to make thick or thinner just by adding water to thin or more confectioners sugar to thicken. Easy Peezy!
COLORING – Cream Cheese Frosting
Food coloring is what tops your presentation or ends up in the layers between! What are you going to do? I always suggest a pop of color and you have complete control over the intensity or lack of when you make this. Obviously, you don’t add the color until you add the flavor. Further, you add a color ONLY if you want too. Now, adding color means you know the color you want and getting it is all up to you. How many drops you put into that bowl will dictate the color, you already know this.
The last part of this is merely a brand preference, but I always say you get what you pay for. I purchase WILTON Color Right Performance Food Coloring Set. Consistency is what I love and it’s in these little bottles. The consistency is not only in color but measured amounts and I am NEVER disappointed in what I create.
Instead of chasing around the world seeking it out, I order it here at Amazon. Fast. Easy and right to my doorstep. Also, to be clear, since I bake a good bit, I order at least 2 per baking season if not up to 4. It stores just fine holiday to holiday!
PRO TIP with Cream Cheese Frosting and Color
Often, I will take a few scoops of icing out, and place them in a bowl. There I will experiment by hand and with a solid and thick fork, fine-tuning the color I want. By no means will the same amount of drops make the big batch this way. I still do try a small batch, to be honest, but it takes me no time at all to figure my color, unlike traditional food coloring.
However, rather than experimenting with my large batch, a few tablespoons lets me set the bar for where I want the color to go. Then, I go back to the big batch and work on achieving that color, ONE drop at a time.
My biggest challenge had always been red, and I almost quit trying, until I broke it down as described above. However, as I mentioned as well, I stopped using food coloring from the stores and purchase the Wilton Color Right Performance Food Coloring Set and there’s no looking back!
However, for those of you who don’t want to purchase it, and prefer store brand, you can use what I just shared on how to color-right. You see before I had the Wilton Color Right Performance Food Coloring, that was how I made my red right. In fact, even with basic food coloring (in a pinch when baking at someone else’s home), I am pro at red!
Tip – And Cream Cheese Warning
That’s it. If you want to color, wait until the main ingredients are mixed, then add in the color. You want to see the consistency and make sure that everything is mixed well. Remember you can 1/2 the batch or double this, depending on how much you need. Just in case you are wondering, this batch I created for you today, was enough to ice a round cake, top to bottom and side to side!
Enjoy your icing. Refrigerate or freeze any unused icing for use later. The storage container should be airtight. Further, anything that is topped with this icing SHOULD be refrigerated or it will MOLD. ~ENJOY. ~ DANA XO.
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