Cream cheese frosting can be tricky. There are many factors. Room temperature. Ingredient temperature. Ratio of butter to cream cheese to powdered sugar. Often I’ve frosted a cake only to watch an oil slick of frosting slide right off, leaving an unappetizing, transparent snail trail of sugar and fat on the cake top and sides. FRUSTRATING.
Alternatively, I try to coax the frosting into spreading consistency by adding cup after cup after cup of powdered sugar. This means that after sitting out on the counter for awhile, the frosting dries out enough to take on that sugary crunch that I like, and won’t smear on my shirt should my boob bump it as I walk to my car. (These things happen.) But all that sugar makes it sickeningly sweet, and cancels out the tang of the cream cheese and the butteryness of the butter.
So, I made applesauce cake this weekend:
I didn’t love it. The cake to frosting ratio was WAY off, for me. And it was so dense and thick, the outside edges were dry as dust by the time the center finally stopped sticking to my toothpick. However, in the not-a-total-waste-of-time department, the ginger, cinnamon and cloves mingled with the appley goodness, filling my kitchen with an unmistakably autumnal scent that no Gladé (that’s gla-day) candle could ever quite capture.
And one other good, perhaps even revolutionary thing: THE PERFECT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING RECIPE.
This is a big claim, and since we tend to overdo that in my family (‘This is the smartest cat we’ve ever had, best bologna we’ve ever tasted, biggest tree we ever put in the yard’) I’m going to offer the disclaimer that I haven’t made it twice and thus don’t know if environmental considerations (the aforementioned temps, etc.) played a significant role in frosting quality.
But that said, this stuff is DAMN GOOD, and next time I make a carrot cake I plan to double this recipe if not triple it, because someone finally got the ratio right.
- 5 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional, obviously)
This frosted an 8″ square cake generously, if the cake itself hadn’t been freakishly tall.