My Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting

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Let’s make a game out of this. Guess how many times I say ‘cream cheese frosting’ in this post. If you get it right, let me know and I’ll give you a surprise present.

It’s a big claim, calling my cream cheese frosting ‘perfect. And in my perspective, I honestly believe that to be true. It’s perfect to me because I’ve actually struggled for so long to make a fluffy and light yet creamy and rich cream cheese frosting. The first couple times I made it, I followed other people’s recipes and I’ve always found mine to be extremely runny. Runny to the point where I can’t frost anything; it ends up looking like a glaze. A thick, weird, sticky glaze that I daren’t let other people eat. I’ve never had clam chowder in my life – but the consistency of my old attempts at cream cheese frosting is what I imagine clam chowder to look like. Not good.

I started blaming myself, and started to feel a bit defeated. Maybe I wasn’t a good baker after all. But then I found out that it wasn’t my fault at all – it was all Philadelphia’s fault! You see, they used to sell cream cheese in two forms: in blocks wrapped in foil, or in a spreadable form in a tub. I guess because people by in large want to spread cream cheese on their bagels or something, the demand of the former dropped, and Philadelphia decided to stop stocking it in UK supermarkets all together. They claim that the recipe for both is the same, but we all know that’s a lie… To make something spreadable, you’ve got to increase the liquid content in it. Which is why using the spreadable version of Philadelphia to make a good cream cheese frosting is a little more complicated.

You see, the traditional way of making cream cheese frosting is pretty much the same as making a normal buttercream frosting, but you just beat a 1:2 ratio of butter and cheese together first. With the high liquid content in the spreadable tub version, this combination method simply doesn’t work because there is just too much liquid. So what can I do now…? Should I just increase the amount of cream cheese I put in? That just doesn’t make sense – it would just make it worse with all the liquid in the cheese. Should I increase the amount of butter I put in? Well then my frosting would be more normal buttercream than cream cheese buttercream… Not what I wanted either. Should I increase the dry ingredient in this equation? But then the frosting would be so sweet it would just overpower anything the frosting is sitting on top of. Again, not what I wanted. I’ve also tried adding in the cream cheese as dollops in the end like I would with milk to loosen up the icing, but I just couldn’t add enough for the cream cheese flavour to shine, and for the icing to hold it’s shape at the same time.

After many months, nay – years. Of trying, I finally thought of a solution. What do Chinese people do when we’re cooking and the sauce is too watery? We add cornstarch. *ding ding ding* Could this be the answer to my cream cheese frosting conundrum!? I started trying to add cornstarch into my frosting in different ways – mixed with the icing sugar, or mixed with the cream cheese, or mixed with the flavouring agent I put in. Turns out – they all work! There you have it, friends. Cornstarch is now the secret ingredient that I put in my cream cheese frosting to make it PERFECT. The amount of cornstarch I put in depends on how much cream cheese I intend to use – about 1 teaspoon for every 100g. And now, I’m going to share with you my recipes* for the perfect cream cheese frosting that won’t be messed up by Philadelphia’s betrayal of no longer stocking cream cheese blocks to us UK-folk.

*The basis of this recipe is Cupcake Jemma’s cream cheese frosting. I just shook it up with some cornstarch so that her recipe worked for me.

Plain cream cheese frosting

Ingredients

  1. 100g soft unsalted butter
  2. 150g cream cheese
  3. 5 tsp corn starch
  4. 550g sifted icing sugar

How to make it

  1. Beat the butter for 10 – 15 minutes until pale and fluffy
  2. Add the icing sugar in two stages, beating for around 5 minutes each time and scraping down the sides before you add the second batch of sugar.
  3. Add in the corn starch, beat for a few minutes to make sure the corn starch is evenly dispersed
  4. Add in the cream cheese, one tablespoon at a time, beating really well in between each dollop.
  5. If it’s still a bit runny, stick it in the fridge for about a half hour to allow the butter to firm up. It shouldn’t need it, but if it’s a particularly warm day or something, this step might be need.

White chocolate cream cheese frosting

This one requires a little it of faith. The butter-to-sugar ratio is a little different, and it appears to have a lot more liquid than necessary. BUT – stick with it. I promise you this recipe works.

Ingredients

  1. 150g white chocolate
  2. 70g soft unsalted butter
  3. 200g cream cheese
  4. 2 tsp corn starch
  5. 330g sifted icing sugar

How to make it

  1. Melt the chocolate over a bain-marie, then set it aside to cool
  2. Beat the butter for 10 – 15 minutes until pale and fluffy
  3. Add the icing sugar in two stages, beating for around 5 minutes each time and scraping down the sides before you add the second batch of sugar. Now – there is a lot less butter than sugar here. Your mix is going to look like it’s not coming together and in truth, it’s not gonna. It’ll end up a grainy sand-like texture, but this is fine.
  4. Add your cornstarch into this sandy mixture
  5. Pour in your cooled, melted chocolate. This is going to make your sandy mixture turn into weird nuggets. Again – this is fine. Stick with me!
  6. Add in your cream cheese a dollop at a time and watch your frosting transform into the magical cloud you were expecting.

Ta-da! That’s it! Now you are equipped to frost ALL THE CAKES.

Before I sign off, I just wanted to say I’m sorry – I should’ve taken more step-by-step photos… But, realistically, I ain’t a blogger! This is more just a channel for procrastination. Apologies. I’m sure you can imagine what cream cheese frosting looks like though! Give it a go, woohoo!

Until next time,

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PS – I said ‘cream cheese frosting’ 15 times (16 including this one) in this post. HA. Did anyone get it right? If you did, come claim your prize 😉 Be honest now, no one likes a liar.

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