How to make Firm Cream Cheese Frosting

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Out of most frostings, Cream Cheese frosting is one of my favorites. I love its creamy and smooth texture and the taste is absolutely amazing. It also goes very well with most cake flavors, especially Red Velvet Cake.

But at the same time, cream cheese frosting can be quite tricky to work with. It’s silky and smooth texture does not crust over very well and if you were to use it under fondant, the fondant would bulge.

When I first started out baking cakes, I didn’t understand how important it was for the frosting to crust over underneath the fondant. When I would use cream cheese frosting, the frosting would never crust over because as soon as I’d take it out of the refrigerator, it started to melt or get very loose.

Another thing to encounter with dealing with cream cheese frosting is that it does not hold up well in warm temperatures if you only used butter and cream cheese in the recipe, so it’s best to alter the recipe so that it can withstand warm temperatures and hold its shape up under fondant.

This tutorial will show you how to make firm cream cheese frosting that still tastes amazing, while able to withstand warm temperatures and hold its shape under fondant.

Enough to fill and cover a 8” Cake.

Items Needed:

  • 2 sticks of Butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup of a Vegetable Shortening
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 2 Teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 lb of powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of Heavy Whipping Cream


Let’s make some Firm Cream Cheese Frosting!

First you’ll start by mixing together two sticks of Butter, 1/4 cup of All Vegetable Shortening, and 8 ounces of Cream Cheese. Beat the butter, shortening, and cream cheese together on medium speed for 5 minutes.

It’s best to scrape the sides of the bowl through out the process so that all of the butter, shortening, and cream cheese, has fully combined together.

After mixing it for 5 minutes, now you’ll add in 1 tablespoon of Vanilla extract. Continue to mix in the Vanilla extract for 1 minute until it’s fully combined with the cream cheese, margarine, and shortening.

You will notice that the mixture it really thick and fluffy. This is what you’re going for as to making the Cream Cheese Frosting firm.

Adding the powdered sugar:

Once the mixture has been fully combined together, you’ll slowly start to ad in the powdered sugar. One tool that I recommend for covering your mixing bowl while pouring in the powdered sugar is the KitchenAid Pouring Shield. I absolutely LOVE this product and I use it all the time.

The powdered sugar used to splatter everywhere no matter how careful i was and I really hated cleaning it up, especially if it spilled on the floors. I have hardwood floors in my kitchen and it would always get in between the cracks on the floor.

But with the KitchenAid Pouring Shield, I don’t have to worry about that anymore. If the frosting becomes too thick, it’s best to add one tablespoon of heavy whipping cream to loosen up the frosting a bit. Start by adding in one tablespoon at a time because you may on need one tablespoon of heavy whipping cream to loosen up the frosting.


Completely mixing the frosting:

After adding all of the ingredients to the frosting, its best to let it mix for 1 minute. This will allow each ingredient is fully combine together, while thickening the frosting. For example, when making Swiss buttercream you have to mix it for a longer period of time because those ingredients have to warm up and fully combine with each other.

If you mix the Swiss Buttercream for only 3 minutes, it would still look soupy. This is why it’s very important to allow the frosting to fully mix together before storing it.

The cream cheese frosting should be thick and fluffy after mixing it together.  Once the frosting has been mixed for 1 minute, you can then place it into an air tight container for up to 7 days in the refrigerator.

What makes this frosting firm:

The key ingredient that make this frosting firm is the shortening. I know some people may turn their nose up to shortening, but it actually helps to stabilize the cream cheese frosting. Unlike butter, shortening can withstand harsh temperatures, which will help the cream cheese frosting to crust over and not melt.

If you were to only mix the cream cheese with butter, you would have two ingredients that are very sensitive to high temperatures causing the frosting to melt while on your cake or up under fondant. This will also cause your cake to not have a defined shape when its covered in fondant.


Cream Cheese Frosting FAQ’s:

How long can Cream Cheese frosting stay out on the counter?

Cream Cheese frosting can last on the counter for up to 1 day if the temperature in your home is 70 degrees or cooler.

Can you color cream cheese frosting?:

Yes, cream cheese frosting can be colored using gel based food coloring. If you were to use the liquid based food coloring you would have to add a significant amount to the frosting and it will alter the taste of the frosting.

Does Cream Cheese Frosting need to be refrigerated?:

Yes. Cream cheese frosting does need to be refrigerated for food safety reasons. This will help to prevent anyone from getting sick.

How long will this cream cheese frosting last in the refrigerator?:

Cream Cheese frosting will last in the refrigerator for up to 7 days/one week. When you have to use it, its best to re-whip the icing before piping it on to a cake or cupcake.

Is this cream cheese frosting easy to use with piping tips?:

Yes, since this cream cheese recipe is much more firm it will be easy to pipe out the frosting without it melting or loosing its shape.


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