Fluffy, sweet and sinfully easy, cream cheese frosting is a baker’s best-kept secret for elevating almost any treat from “good” to the realm of outstanding. This Cream Cheese Frosting from Food Network Kitchen is a classic, tried-and-true recipe of unsalted butter and cream cheese at room temperature, combined with powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Enjoy the frosting in its purest state, or jazz it up with different mix-ins like lemon juice and shredded coconut. Before applying it to baked goods, it doesn’t hurt to do a quick taste test to check for smoothness and the right fat-to-sugar ratio … Just remember to leave enough in the bowl to cover your cake.
Here are a few of our favorite applications:
Sure, cakes without frostings exist, but it’s that sweet, fluffy topping that takes the everyday dessert to the next indulgent level. If fondant is the fanciest option and glaze is the most-basic, buttercream is in the sweet spot of the frosting world: a go-to, multipurpose smear that’s ideal atop any treat and easy to prepare with ingredients you already have on hand.
There are just two key elements to a buttercream: butter and sugar. Beyond that, you can dress up the mixture with vanilla extract, chopped chocolate or your favorite colors for special occasions. Read on below to get Food Network’s recipes for the best-ever buttercreams — both chocolate and vanilla — and learn how to recreate top bakery tastes in your own kitchen.
Unlike most home bakers I know, I’m not yet married to a frosting method of choice. My Grandma Mimi (who did not believe in cupcakes and would instead make sheet cakes for the grandchildren) would dump entire bowls of vanilla buttercream on top of her chocolate cakes and swirl the magical mixture into place with her offset spatula. My mother would simply flip the cupcakes one-by-one upside down and dunk into a bowl of icing. I hadn’t given it much thought until I met The SpoonSpreader.
Though I hadn’t really used a pastry bag before, I assumed I’d prefer that mode of frosting application over what seemed like a slightly unhinged-spoon spatula amalgam (pun intended). The results I found were both surprising and delightful. The SpoonSpreader works with a little practice, as both a frosting scoop (when it’s folded) and as a frosting spreader and applicator (when flattened again).