This luscious and creamy, not too sweet, whipped cream cheese frosting for piping is stable at room temperature. It holds piped decorations beautifully — or simply spread it.
Why this recipe works
If you've been looking for the perfect cream cheese frosting for piping, this is the one. Here's why it works:
- Mixing the butter and powdered sugar together first coats the sugar molecules with fat. This prevents the sugar from drawing the moisture out of the cream cheese and making the frosting too loose.
- A tiny bit of unflavored gelatin sets the frosting just enough, ensuring stability in virtually all environments.
- Thanks to the mixing technique and the gelatin, you don't need to add a shocking amount of powdered sugar to stiffen the frosting. This ratio tastes great — sweet but not cloying — letting all the flavors shine through.
What you'll need
Here's a glance at the ingredients you'll need to make this recipe.
- Regular, full-fat block cream cheese creates the right texture. Quality really matters, especially to prevent clumping. I always use Philadelphia — use your favorite top-shelf brand.
- Use unflavored powdered gelatin, such as Knox. You won't notice its presence in the frosting other than being delighted by its cooperativeness.
- I like to use a good quality cultured, salted butter to add the tiniest bit of additional dimension to the flavor of the frosting. It doesn't taste salty at all — it just tempers the sweetness and heightens all the flavors.
How to make it
Here's an overview of what you'll do to make stable whipped cream cheese frosting for piping. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.
- Sift the powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl or a large stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Add the butter and mix until very smooth. This takes a while — it will be crumbly for several minutes before becoming smooth.
- Add the cream cheese and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.
- Bloom and then heat the gelatin to boiling in the microwave (which takes only a few seconds). Let cool slightly before beating thoroughly into the frosting.
- Chill for two hours before piping or spreading.
Expert tips and FAQs
Yes! Simply sift in ½ cup (42 grams) unsweetened natural cocoa powder along with the powdered sugar. No further changes necessary.
You can make this frosting up to a week in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge, or right in the piping bag. Pull it out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you want to use it. I don't recommend freezing it.
How to use it
This frosting is ideal for anything from cupcakes to small wedding cakes, whenever you're looking for a stable, piping-friendly option. Try it with:
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- 2 cups (227 grams) powdered sugar
- 8 tablespoons (112 grams) salted butter, at cool room temperature (see note 1)
- 8 ounces (170 grams) cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) cool water
- Sift the powdered sugar into a very large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle.
- Add the butter and mix, on low at first and increasing speed as you go, until smooth and creamy. This will take several minutes at least. (It will stay crumbly for quite a while before smoothing out.)
- Add the cream cheese and vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy.
- Pour the water into a 1-cup glass measuring cup or similar-size microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin overtop. Stir to dissolve and then leave it alone for about a minute. It will form a cloudy, solid-looking mass.
- Place in microwave and heat until boiling, which happens very quickly. In my strong microwave, it takes only about ten seconds.
- Stir well and cool slightly.
- With the mixer running, slowly stream gelatin into frosting and beat until fully incorporated. I like to use a rubber spatula for a final mix after beating, just to be sure everything is well-combined.
- Chill for at least two hours before using.
- Take the butter out of the fridge about an hour before you plan to use it. It should be slightly softened but not too warm.
- Use a good-quality, full-fat bar cream cheese like Philadelphia. You can leave it at room temperature for an hour along with the butter or use it straight from the fridge. Lesser-quality cream cheese may clump, especially if used cold, so I don't recommend it.
- For a chocolate version, simply sift in ½ cup (42 grams) unsweetened natural cocoa powder along with the powdered sugar. No further changes necessary.
- You can make this frosting up to a week in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge, or right in the piping bag. Pull it out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you want to use it. I don't recommend freezing it.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 118Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 125mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g