Best Cream Cheese Frosting

I get asked a lot about my cream cheese frosting recipe, and I’m finally sharing it!

People call cream cheese frosting all different kinds of things. Sometimes it’s called cream cheese icing, other times cream cheese buttercream.

In my mind, there’s a huge difference between the two.

Cream cheese icing is much thinner, and works great when glazing muffins, or topping a sheet cake. However, it does not pipe well!

cream cheese buttercream

Cream Cheese Frosting That’s Sturdy Enough To Pipe

On the other hand, cream cheese frosting does!! It’s thick, has structure, and pipes like a dream. Bring on the cupcakes, layer cakes, and even tiered cakes!!

This is what makes this frosting recipe so great.

It has the tang of a cream cheese, but is sturdy like my classic American buttercream. This means you can easily pipe big swirls on you cupcakes.

cream cheese buttercream frosted onto a pumpkin cupcake

Thick Enough For Layer Cakes and Tiered Cakes

It also means you make a tall layer cake, and feel confident that the frosting will be sturdy enough to keep everything in place. 

I’ve paired this frosting recipe with my chocolate layer cake and my red velvet cake recipe, and loved it! This frosting recipe is also used on my bagel and lox inspired cake.

bagel and lox cake

Like I mentioned above, this frosting has a consistency similar to normal buttercream. This means it’s strong enough to be used on a tiered cake.

I get loads of questions and comments asking about cream cheese frosting and wedding cakes! A lot of people worry about using cream cheese frosting on that big/heavy of a cake.

But fear no!! I made a massive olive oil wedding cake, and used this frosting recipe (plus some lemon zest) to frost it.

The cake sat in the reception room for 6 hours before it was cut into, and it kept its shape perfectly!! The picture below shows the cake before I transported it to the venue.

I added some fresh flowers from the bride’s florist to the cake once I got there ๐Ÿ™‚

Photo of a three tiered semi naked wedding cake frosted with cream cheese frosting

Let Me Know What You Think!

Nothing makes me happier than when I get emails or DMs with photos of your amazing creations. Please donโ€™t hesitate to reach out to me with your triumphs, or questions <3

If you try this frosting recipe, please tag me @chelsweets. Also use the #chelsweets so that I can see what your baking!

Yield: 6 cups

Best Cream Cheese Frosting

Best Cream Cheese Frosting

This cream cheese frosting has that delicious cream cheese tang, but the structure of a classic buttercream! It pipes like a dream, and is great for frosting layer cakes!!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (452 grams) - 4 sticks
  • 1 cup full-fat cream cheese, room temperature (225 grams or 8 oz.)
  • 11 cups powdered sugar (1375 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (6 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream (or whipping cream) (29 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (12 grams)

Instructions

    Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:

    1. Beat the butter and cream cheese on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth.
    2. Add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
    3. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar on a very low speed, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.ย 
    4. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 tablespoon at a time).
    5. If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time).
    6. Cover the cream cheese frosting with a piece of plastic wrap, to prevent a crust from forming until you're ready to use it.

Notes

If you have extra buttercream you don't use, it can be stored in the fridge.

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 389 Total Fat 19g Saturated Fat 12g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 6g Cholesterol 52mg Sodium 131mg Carbohydrates 56g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 0g Sugar 54g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 1g

108 thoughts on “Best Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. I would also like to make it a little more intense with cream cheese flavor, but the receipe already calls for an 8 oz box of cream cheese with the 4 sticks of butter. So if we are using a whole block of cream cheese, are you saying we should use 2 or 4 sticks of butter? Thanks so much!

  2. Dear Chelseach, I want to use your cream cheese buttercream to frost, and your chocolate cake recipe as my cake to make a two tier wedding cake for 70 people. You think I could add some form of cherries or cherry jam in between the layers(like a black forest), or that would make me lose stability? Thank you for everything going you share!

  3. Hello dear Chelsea! I was wondering if I could use you go to chocolate layer cake, frost it with the cream cheese frosting to make a black forest two tier wedding cake. Which means adding in between the layers some cherry jam or preserve . How do you think that could work?
    Thank you so much for all the amazing things you share!

    1. Hi Tatanka! Omg, a black forest cake with cream cheese frosting sounds AMAZING! Jam or preserves between cake layers can definitely make them slide more, and make frosting a cake more difficult. However, if you make a frosting dam (or ring) around the perimeter of the cake layers to keep the jam between the layers, and insert a dowel to keep the layers in place as you frost the outside, I think it should be fine! Just be very careful as you frost it.

      Sometimes when my layers are sliding a bit, I’ll chill the cake in the freezer for a few minutes once all the layers are stacked. That can make it easier to crumb coat the cake. Once the crumb coat is chilled, you should be able to add the second layer of frosting and stack the tiers just fine. Hope that helps, and best of luck with this wedding cake!! <3 Let me know how it goes!

  4. I just tried the recipe for the cream cheese frosting and it’s amazing!!! So smooth, sweet and very good to pipe. Thanks so much all the way from Australia!

  5. Hey Chelsea, i was wondering… in your ABC recipe u use 2 cups of unsalted butter and here the same amount ut you listed different amount in grams… how come ? I live in Europe so we re more likely to use metric… we cant find butter in stick but we buy them in block…
    So ABC recipe 2 cups = 434 grams and here 2 cups = 678 grams… I m confused……

    Can u help me clarify please ?
    Thanks in advance

    Farah

    1. Hi Farah,

      I am so sorry about that! I converted my recipe cards from one plugin to another, and I’ve had a lot of issues like this :/ I just updated the recipe to correct the grams in this recipe. Thank you so much for letting me know!! <3

  6. Hi dear Chelsea, I have 2 queries:
    1. Is it easy to apply edible image on a cream cheese frosting?
    2. After decorating the cake with fondant flowers, does the cake need to be refrigerated (cuz it has cream cheese) till you cut the cake ? If not can stand at room temperature for how long?

    1. Hi Cynthia,

      Adding a printed, edible image should be fine to add on top of this cream cheese frosting! It can sit out at room temperature for a few hours, but I’d put it in the fridge if you make it further in advance than that. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  7. The recipe shows 4 sticks , if I cut recipe in half , can I do 2 sticks of butter and still do the 8 oz of cream cheese since I live the cream cheese flavor , will it still pipe okay?

    1. Hi Jackie,

      It will pipe less well/be less stiff with that ratio! I’ve found the deal ratio is really 3/4 butter, 1/4 cream cheese. You can make it however you want though, it just depends on what you plan to do with it <3

  8. Hello, What is the main differences between “Best Cream Cheese Frosting” and the cream cheese frosting you provided in “Red Velvet Birthday Cake”??

  9. Hi, I’m looking to try the black velvet cake. but stay to the cream cheese frosting. I ordered the black coaco. Can I use that to make the chocolate cream cheese frosting and will it turn the frosting black? Also do you think if I do this it will still be staying to the true cream cheese frosting that is on velvet cake, just in chocolate form?

    1. Hi Deborah,

      That’s awesome! Black cocoa will make the cream cheese frosting kind of a dark grey, so I’d recommend adding in some black gel food coloring as well to make it really black! You can also add in 1 cup of melted dark chocolate chips if you want, to make it super chocolaty.

      I don’t really think it’s classic velvet and cream cheese frosting combo if you add in chocolate or cocoa powder, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that! A black velvet cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting sounds divine, even better than the classic combo ๐Ÿ˜›

      hope that helps!

    1. Hi Rachel,

      This buttercream does crust a bit, but it would be fine for a smash cake! It’s nothing that would get in the way of a baby enjoying a cake ๐Ÿ˜›

  10. I am going to use this frosting with your marble cake Recipe and half it like you talked about in the blog post.
    How many batches of frosting should I make? I’m thinking 2 but I may be way off!

    I’m attempting to make my own small wedding cake, this is my trial cake LOL.

    1. Hi Mckenzie! If you plan to half that recipe, will you be making 3, 6-inch cake layers? In that case, you probably won’t even use a full batch of frosting!! 1 batch should be plenty for the little test cake if it’s that size ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope that helps!

  11. Ok. Thank you. I ordered a 6 pack of the small ameri gel you use. Would I just do 1 drop of the black? Also how much black cocoa do I use and at what point do I add the black cocoa?. I’m going the small cake recipe using 3 7 inch pans. I would like to do green in the middle. Is there a way I can pull some frosting out and put green? And how much frosting do I take out for the 2 middles. And lastly. I work late Monday night and need the cake ready for Tues night to take as soon as I get off work. Will the cake and frosting be ok if I put it together Sunday and just leave it in the fridge until about 1 hr before I have to leave. I’ll have about 30-45 min drive. I was going to also try the drip in green. But the green gel color is leaf green so hopefully it’s not to dark. I’ve never done this b4 I hope it turns out. Really nervous

  12. in addition to above. I noticed that the recipe says 2 cups of butter and 2 tblspn of heavy cream, In the video you said 3 cups butter and 1 tblspn of heavy cream and 4 oz of cream cheese, but the recipe says 8 oz. It looks like the recipe measurements are incorrect based on the video. I planned on using this for the cake as previous listed. Is the recipe based on doubling vs what the video says?

  13. I’m going to double the recipe so I don’t run out trying to frost.
    At what point do I add the black Cisco and melted choclate? And how much coca if doubling. I want to pull some of it out so I can color it green for the middle also. On the powder sugar I would use 22 cups since the recipe says 11?

  14. Even when I leave my brick of cream cheese out overnight, I still get really small lumps (tiny rock size pieces of cream cheese that wonโ€™t whip down). What should I do to prevent that?

    1. Hi Kat,

      Is your kitchen cold? Are you using a metal bowl? Maybe try using a different bowl (glass or plastic), or heat up your metal bowl with a kitchen blow torch! Those are my best suggestions, I hope that helps!

  15. Hi Chelsea, yesterday I have baked my first cake ever, and it used your recipes! I have to say the cake was soo spongy and moist, we loved it.

    However, I had an issue with the chocolate buttercream filling, we felt it was too sweet and it was smooth in a way where I couldn’t decorate the sides of the cake.. How can make it a bit harder and less sweet? (The recipe said to add 5 cups of powdered sugar with a splash of heavy cream.. and that is exactly what I added)

    When I was cutting the cake it crumbled down, both the sponge and the frosting.. do you know why that has happened?

    Regarding the cheese cream frosting, can I add chocolate to this recipe? like cocoa or melted dark chocolate? I need it only for the filling, I am intending to use it instead of the regular chocolate butter cream filling, does it work in chocolate cakes?

    Do you leave the cake in the regular fridge? as I felt that the frosting (As it is butter based) became too hard in the fridge.

    Regarding classes, can you do a skype call instead of an actual class? as I am not in the states and would like to ask you few things? I will leave my details in the boxes below, please contact me to discuss furthermore the arrangements of this class if you are okay with it

    Thank you :*

    1. Hi Elham,

      I’m so happy to hear that you loved my cake recipe! Is this the chocolate buttercream recipe you used: https://chelsweets.com/2019/03/28/chocolate-buttercream-frosting/ ?

      If you want to make it a bit firmer, I’d recommend adding less heavy cream! That should help thicken it up. It’s also super important that the melted chocolate has had a chance to cool, so that it’s not very warm when it’s added into the frosting. If it’s warm, it can make the frosting a lot softer than it should be.

      This is an american buttercream recipe, so it’s super sweet! If you want to make a less sweet frosting, you may want to try a swiss meringue buttercream next time! It’s a lot less sweet ๐Ÿ™‚

      You can add chocolate to this cream cheese frosting recipe! it should work great to fill a chocolate cake. I keep my frosting at room temperature when I make it and decorate cakes with it.

      Sadly I only do classes in person :/ But I’m happy to help troubleshoot on here or via email <3 Hope that helps, happy baking!!

  16. Iโ€™m very late to the comment but in case anyone else reads this it could be the brand of cream cheese. Iโ€™m in Europe and the cream cheese here is very different. Even the Philadelphia brand. Itโ€™s not the same as the silver wrapped blocks of Philadelphia. You need a cream cheese with a low amount of water or you need to squeeze the water out in a cheesecloth before you weigh it.

    1. Hi Lindsey! Thank you for sharing this, I had no idea!! Really appreciate your feedback and your suggestions to help others ?

    1. Hi Teresita! Sometimes that happens because there isnโ€™t enough heavy cream to dissolve the powdered sugar! It also can be cause by the type of powdered sugar you use! Maybe try a different brand next time, or add a touch more heavy cream ??Hope that helps, happy baking!!

  17. Hi! I want to make the red velvet cake but wasnโ€™t sure how much frosting to make. Iโ€™ve made your ABC frosting twice and both times there was just enough to cover 2 8 inch cakes with a little decoration on top. But for 3 8 inch cakes, do I need to make more than one batch? Did I use too much frosting on the 2 8 inch cakes that I used it all?

    1. Hi Michele,

      I would definitely recommend making 1.5 batches of frosting for a 3 layer, 8-inch cake! I like using a lot of frosting between my cake layers (you can never use too much :P), and around my cake, and I find 1.5 batches if just enough for that size of a cake.

      Hope that helps, happy baking!!

Let me know what you think!