Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting½ cup (1 stick/8 Tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (always use pure vanilla extract if possible)
4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
1 to 4 Tablespoons heavy cream, heavy whipping cream (or milk- although I do like the richness that cream adds)
*Place butter in a large mixing bowl and blend slightly. Add cream cheese and blend until combined, about 30 seconds.
*Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.
*Slowly add the heavy cream, a little bit at a time until desired consistency is met. (Don't add too much if you want the frosting to stay in place when piped on cupcakes.)
*Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
*Use at once or keep refrigerated. (This frosting will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, but you may need to re-beat it for the best texture.)
The recipe above will produce a delicious VANILLA flavored frosting, here are a couple of other options to try...
For a Stronger Cream Cheese Flavor: Use an additional 4 oz. (½ block) of cream cheese. This is good for any cake/cupcake recipe that is traditionally topped with Cream Cheese Frosting, like Carrot Cake, or Red Velvet Cake.
For Chocolate Frosting: (my favorite!) add ½ cup unsweetened cocoa (I use Ghirardelli brand, it's really good). Add the cocoa powder before adding the powdered sugar, so it gets fully incorporated into the butter and cream cheese.
Strawberry, Blackberry, etc: Add 2-4 tablespoons of preserves. Depending on how chunky or seedy the preserves are, you may want to blend it in the food processor, and/or strain it through a fine strainer before adding it to the frosting. Add the preserves to the frosting mixture before adding the heavy cream. Depending on the amount of preserves you add you may need very little or no cream, especially if you want the frosting thick enough to pipe. A final option would be to add a drop of food coloring to add to the color of the preserves (for example, pink coloring for the Strawberry flavor).
* This recipe will frost about 22-24 cupcakes if you are piping a nice swirl, or even more if you just spread it on. If you're making a cake, this will frost and fill a two layer 9" cake.