Of the many types of frosting for cake decorating, cream cheese is one of the simplest to make and easiest with which to work. It requires no advanced cooking or baking techniques, comes together in minutes and does not call for heating any of the ingredients. The consistency of cream cheese frosting lends itself to making decorations and piped flowers. Decorating a cake with cream cheese frosting becomes easier with a bit of preparation.
Place the cake you want to decorate with cream cheese frosting in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This prevents the frosting from running, especially if you plan to serve the cake in hot weather.
Mix your cream cheese frosting according to the recipe's instructions, and let it sit covered in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. If you do not have a recipe, mix 8 ounces of softened cream cheese, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or other flavoring, 1/4 cup of softened butter and 3 to 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. Mix these ingredients in a large bowl with a hand-held or stand mixer until the frosting is fluffy. For a smoother, not-as-sweet cream cheese frosting, use less sugar.
Frost the cake with a thin crumb layer using a flat spatula. Although it is not absolutely necessary, doing this keeps crumbs from getting into the outermost layer of frosting, giving your finished cake a neater appearance. Use a small amount of cream cheese frosting and spread it out in a thin layer throughout the cake.
Thickly frost the outside of your cake with a flat spatula. Because cream cheese frosting is very sturdy, you can pipe decorations onto your cake if you desire. If you want to pipe words onto your cake, dilute 1/2 cup of cream cheese frosting with 2 tablespoons of water.