Adding a delicious layer of creamy frosting can make even the most delicious baked good even better. Buttercream is a frosting recipe widely used by professional and home bakers. The most basic vanilla buttercream frosting contains good quality butter, powdered sugar and vanilla flavoring beaten together until light and fluffy. The addition of cream cheese to this mixture will make cream cheese buttercream frosting, which is popular on red velvet and carrot cake, as well as cinnamon buns.
Place the stick of butter in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer for one minute. Add 1/2 lb. of sifted powdered sugar and continue beat until well incorporated. Add 1 tsp. of vanilla extract to flavor and beat to combine.
Add 8 oz. of softened cream cheese to the vanilla buttercream. Beat well with a mixer to combine to create cream cheese buttercream frosting.
Add cream cheese to ready-mixed vanilla frosting. If you are starting with a store-bought vanilla frosting, you can add softened cream cheese to taste. Empty your vanilla frosting into a bowl and add softened cream cheese, 2 oz. at a time, beating well with an electric mixer. Continue adding cream cheese until the mixture reaches the desired taste and consistency.
Add cream cheese flavoring. If you are starting with a ready-mixed vanilla frosting, you can augment the flavor by adding artificial cream cheese flavoring. Artificial cream cheese flavoring is available through specialty baking stores online. Consult the label on your bottle of flavoring to determine how much to add as this will vary between brands.
If your frosting is too stiff, add 1 tbsp. of milk and mix well. Continue adding milk by tablespoon measures and mixing until the frosting reaches the consistency you prefer. If your frosting is too thin, add 1 tbsp. of powdered sugar and mix well. Continue adding powdered sugar by tablespoon measures until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. It is important that the butter and cream cheese are both room temperature before beginning. It is easier to make a smooth mixture when both the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature. To bring to room temperature, set the butter and cream cheese in their wrappers out on the counter for at least 20 minutes up to an hour, depending on the temperature of the room.
According to the American Dietetic Association, cream cheese frosting should be refrigerated and should not be left out longer than two hours at most to discourage bacterial growth in food that can result in food poisoning.