I am so excited to share this Cream Cheese Buttercream recipe with you because it is one of my most requested frosting recipes of all time! Although I include it with my recipes for Red Velvet Cake, Pumpkin Layer Cake, Lemon Layer Cake, and Pumpkin Cupcakes, I finally decided to create a standalone post just for this frosting. It’s the perfect consistency for piping, frosting cakes smooth, and decorating cupcakes, all without being too sweet or complicated to make. It’s become my go-to and I hope you love it as much as I do!
Before this recipe, I dreaded working with Cream Cheese Buttercream because it’s usually so soft (unless you add way too much powdered sugar). After lots of experimenting and researching though, I found some ways to thicken it up for cake decorating and now it’s a joy to work with! To make it the perfect consistency, I like to add cornstarch in with the powdered sugar. It helps thicken and stabilize the frosting without adding any flavor – basically like adding powdered sugar without the sweetness! You can certainly skip the cornstarch and still have a great Cream Cheese Buttercream as well – it’ll just be a little bit softer.
Another important ingredient in this frosting is brick-style full-fat cream cheese. It’s critical that you don’t use low-fat or spreadable cream cheese, as these variations contain way more water than the full-fat brick kind. That means your frosting will be extra soft, liquidy, and overall frustrating to work with. I always use the Philadelphia brand, but feel free to experiment with other brands as long as they meet the general requirements.
One more tip for working with Cream Cheese Buttercream: if you find that your kitchen environment is humid or the frosting is still a bit soft, pop it in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, then re-mix it on low in your stand mixer. The butter in the recipe will solidify a little bit in the refrigerator, so the overall buttercream should feel a bit thicker afterwards.
Here’s a quick video to show you how to make this Cream Cheese Buttercream before you read all about it below:
If you love recipe videos like this one, be sure to check out my YouTube channel! I’ve got a growing collection of recipes, decorating tutorials, and Cake Basics over there. Hit the subscribe button on my page so you never miss a new video.
Cream Cheese Buttercream
- 4 Cups (480g) powdered sugar
- 1/4 Cup (32g) cornstarch optional*
- 1/2 Cup (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 8 Oz (226g) full-fat cream cheese, room temperature brick-style, not the spread
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Sift together the powdered sugar and cornstarch (if using) and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese on medium-high until light, fluffy, and uniform (no lumps), about 5 minutes.
- Turn the mixer to low speed and add the powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture a few cups at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the bowl and paddle as needed. Add the vanilla and salt and mix on low for another minute, until fully combined and smooth.
- Frost 12-15 cupcakes with a piping bag
- Fill and crumb coat a three-layer 6-inch cake or two-layer 8-inch cake. To have enough for frosting and decorating as well, double the recipe.
Did you make this Cream Cheese Buttercream? I want to know how it went! Let me know in the comments below or feel free to tag @sugarandsparrowco on Instagram. I’d love to see how you used it!