Sunday, June 12, 2011

Best-Ever Cream-Cheese Frosting

So, uh, as you can see from the one photo taken in the hangover aftermath of a birthday party, I had not actually planned to run this recipe. I didn't take any process shots, or beauty shots, or shots of the gorgeous friend blowing out her many, many, many candles. But, then it turned out to be so crazy good, this frosting, and given that strawberry season is redly upon us, I just had to share.

Oh, don't look at me! I was so pretty last night, I swear. I'm just feeling a little droopy today.
Full disclosure: I don't usually love frosting. (As the birthday girl herself would say, "This is not new information.") And so the fact that I loved this frosting might be taken as a sign that it is not frostingy enough. And it might not be. It's lighter and much less sweet than typical frosting, cream cheese or otherwise, and also there's none of that cloying butteryness that true frosting lovers love. But it would also make an absolutely fantastic dip for whole strawberries (I'm going to serve it that way next week), and it would make a lovely alternative to whipped cream on a strawberry shortcake. Plus, it's just a total joy to work with: fluffy and satiny and easy to spread, and just the right balance of tangy and sweet.

Best-Ever Cream-Cheese Frosting
Makes enough to frost a two-layer cake*
Total time: 5 minutes

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (or more, if you like) powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy cream

In a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Beat it at medium speed until smooth. Pour the heavy cream in a slow, steady stream while the mixture is whipping until the mixture has fluffed up and can hold a stiff peak, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a spatula occasionally to remove any lumps. Gorgeous.

* I used the white cake recipe from the back of the King Arthur cake flour box, and it was pretty good.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

xo

19 comments:

  1. As another non frosting person I can't wait to try this frosting! Usually I try to convince my children that whatever cake I am making would be best with my chocolate ganache recipe, or plain whipped cream.

    http://blog.hippoflambe.com/2009/04/birthday-celebration-and-chocolate-cake.html

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  2. I always scrape the frosting off of cake! Well, except for carrot cake or some kind of ganache and I love cream cheese icing!

    Thanks for sharing...I can't wait to try it.

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  3. Oh thank goodness for a frosting recipe I might be able to like. Everytime there's cake at my house, and I discreetly push away the frosting part as I always do, my husband and son look at me nervously, afraid that I might turn out to be an alien (perhaps from Uranus?) after all, and steal their brains in their sleep. I'm going to try this one and see if they'll let me into their home planet.

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  4. I just want to know how you manage to stay so thin with all this great food around you! Looks divine.

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  5. MaOdiLeo7:56 PM

    That will be tried here in a couple of weeks when the strawberries are ready!
    On another subject, we did the veggie burgers at my community cooking group, and everybody looooved it. And the lime-chipotle sauce: OMG!!! Catherine, Deborah and Angela, thanks for the ideas about what to replace the walnuts with : we finally used ground sunflower seeds; it was perfect. I keep in mind the flax seeds, mushrooms and CHIPS (oh yes).

    Also, I did the corn-lime-pasta dish tonight...almost. It was fabulous, even with pumpkin replacing zucchini and yogourt replacing cream. Thanks again for the inspiration.

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  6. What a great and not very hard to do recipe, i`m sure it is delicious so i will give it a try. Thanks a lot for sharing with us.

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  7. Teafortwo7:29 AM

    Our strawberry season here in Georgia is sadly over and done with. I bought 12 pints a week ago and made jam. The farmer and I concurred that our season was pretty much done because it's gotten so blasted hot too early this year. The jam sure is good; I'll try the frosting with peaches instead.

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  8. I lurrve cream cheese frosting (but not buttercream). Thanks so much for the recipe. Never would have thought of using heavy cream.

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  9. Samantha2:00 PM

    I'm not a frosting person either so this looks perfect! Our strawberry farm just opened today so I am totally making this!!! Thanks, Catherine!

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  10. We made this last night for an impromptu neighborhood gathering. It was wonderful!!! We did try the white cake recipe too. Now to make more frosting to dip some strawberries into..

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  11. I love that strawberry season is "redly" upon us! Just made carrot cake last week for hubby's b-day - wish I'd had this recipe. Guess I'll just have to make strawberry shortcake. Darn.

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  12. I don't care for regular icing either, but I do love cream cheese icing. Our strawberry season is over, but I'm sure I can find some other vehicle for this recipe.

    We made your spelt salad this week, and it was great! I'm thinking of adopting it every week, but with some minor variations. It's so nice to only have to turn the stove on once to cook the grain, which can be done early in the morning before the sun's beating on the roof anyway.

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  13. Erin K.12:59 PM

    Hi. This is non sequitur but can I ask you about camping food? Ideas, or links to good ideas? I'm heading to Yosemite for a week with a 5 & a 7 year old and can use any tips I can get!

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  14. Oooooooh, I think I might try this on cinnamon rolls. I have a great recipe for the rolls, but the icing is, well, just not exactly right. But this one might be! I cannot wait to try it.

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  15. Love cream cheese icing! This is how we make it- with cream, yum! Have you posted a recipe using fresh coconuts or a recipe for piña colada? We just had so much fun learning to crack open fresh coconuts. It was a great summertime activity. But then, what to do with all that coconut meat that the kids didn't really want to eat? I put it in the blender and added frozen pineapple chunks, vanilla extract, OJ, cream... It was good, but I could have used one of your recipes to give it that perfect touch.

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  16. Off topic comment:
    I think (after reading and loving Ben's triumph over raw chicken) you should expose Ben to the utter ease of the the whole roast chicken. Much less gross, just as tasty. That stuff in the water is yucky.

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  17. Anonymous12:35 PM

    Catherine, I'm not dissing your day-after photo--but I have to make a cake next week THE NIGHT BEFORE the party. Will this frosting hold up, or should I choose something else? Refrigerate or cool room temp? Thanks...

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  18. Oh god, I think I've died and gone to uber~fantastique cake heaven!

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  19. oooh that does sound good. I just tried what I thought was the best ever cream cheese frosting and cupcake recipe. Oh man, it's seriously orgasmic and the friend I gave some of these raspberry cupcakes to agreed. Can't wait to make them again!

    http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/raspberry_swirl_cupcakes.html

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