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Member recipe

Foolproof cream cheese frosting

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(16 ratings)

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Prep: 5 minutes Cook:

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Enough for a 20x30 Traybake

It took a couple of years for me to work out a recipe that didn't go runny, but this one really does work. Ideal for a carrot cake, this is just about enough for 20x30cm traybake. After numerous disasters and experiments, this one is my tried and tested version.

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  • 100g very soft butter
  • 100g icing sugar
  • Tbsp Orange Juice (optional)
  • 200g full fat cream cheese


  1. Soften the butter in a microwave: you don't want it melted, but it does need to be very soft. Then whisk it or use electric beaters to get it to a very flexible and even consistency.

  2. Add the orange juice (which is nice for a carrot cake) and beat that in too. Then add the icing sugar and beat that into get a very soft buttercream icing.

  3. Add the cream cheese in one go. It absolutely must be full fat (I use Sainsburys organic as it it lower in salt than Philly) and carefully blend this in. Do not beat it, just slowly mix it in with a wooden spoon.

  4. Depending on how melted the butter was, you may want to put it in the fridge for 10 minutes at this point, but if it has gone a bit runny this will definitely firm it up again due to the amount of butter in the mix. However, it should be perfectly spreadable at this point, and will not run off the cake!

Comments, questions and tips

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9th Nov, 2018
At Last! A simple recipe that actually works. The proportions are perfect; I just substituted vanilla extract for the orange juice and used it as the topping for Nigella's chocolate Guinness cake. Sorry Nigella - this frosting recipe is better than yours.
22nd Aug, 2018
Brilliant recipe...loved that it does not taste so sugary and gritty. In my stand mixer I beat the butter first and icing sugar as previous post. Added the juice of half an orange and was amazing! Used on carrot cake and chocolate cupcakes.made on hot days too still a dream and piped using Russian nozzle. This is a keeper and is my regular now. Thanks for sharing
22nd Aug, 2018
I too used my stand mixer to whip up my butter and icing sugar. I used half an orange for the juice and it was delicious. I used half a tub of Lidl own full fat cream cheese and half mascarpone which gave it a lovely creamy taste. I've used it on carrot cake and chocolate cupcakes and everyone loved it. I have to say it's nice to not have an overpowering taste of icing sugar nor is it runny. Definitely a keeper and look no further!!!
Kerry and Max's picture
Kerry and Max
31st Jul, 2018
We UK bakers don’t have access to the thick block cream cheese that they have in US...look no further this should work for you. Tips... I used lemon juice instead of orange juice and probably not even a full TBSP I really beat the butter and icing sugar for at least a good 5 mins in my stand was super light in texture and pale pale yellow. I used Philadelphia full fat cream cheese. Due to circumstances, I ended up making the frosting the next day..but I had already taken the cream cheese out the tub (and threw the container away) so had to put in a cling film covered bowl which in my mind helped. I also took some clean kitchen towel and blotted the cream cheese to remove some moisture. When it comes to mixing in the cream cheese to the butter/sugar....less is definitely more. Once I mixed in the cream cheese by hand, I then used my stand mixer with paddle attachment on lowest setting for 5 seconds. It didn’t go soupy...and was a lovely pipeable consistency. If it doesn’t work for you....maybe think about what human errors are possible before blaming the recipe/technique and try again. Next time I might add more cream cheese for that extra tang.
Becky Mason's picture
Becky Mason
27th Jul, 2018
After various failures and runny frosting with other recipes, this came out perfectly first time around. No need to chill in the fridge to harden. It was the perfect topping consistency despite the 30 degree heat!!
19th Jul, 2018
Mafe a few times and definitely foolproof.great consistency.
6th Jul, 2018
Excellent! Also colours well.
6th Jul, 2018
This is an excellent frosting. Made on a very hot summer day (28C) so no need to warm the butter - just perfect at room temperature. I used an electric beater for all mixing stages. Also used Tesco Valencian Orange extract for extra flavour. Piping works well, even with Russian nozzle, if bag is put in the freezer for 15 mins.
Dot Cotton
21st Jun, 2018
Used this on top of a carrot cake traybake. My tin was 20 x 20 & it was a perfect amount of icing, nice thick layer. Gorgeous flavour & lovely consistency. I added the philli straight from the fridge which I think may have helped guard against runny icing!
7th Jun, 2018
This is brilliant. Like others, I've been looking for a good cream cheese icing recipe for years, and this is the only one I've tried that's worked perfectly. I used lemon juice instead of orange, and the level of sweetness was spot on. The consistency is also ideal for spreading, and it stayed put. A triumph.


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