Recipe: White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

I will admit a great fondness for hydrogenated icing from plastic tubs, as I have mentioned previously.  It’s a terrible habit I’d love to kick.  However I’ve tried making real buttercream icing in several different recipes, but I really didn’t like them.  Either they tasted like sugar water paste, or biting into a stick of butter.  The consistency also wasn’t something I was happy with.  Every time my guests agreed “yeah, it’s ok but it’s not great”.

This week I decided to make a red velvet cake from scratch using Cooks Illustrated’s recipe.  The cake tastes wonderful, but because I tried using (very expensive!) natural food coloring made from beets, it didn’t give the desired color.  The icing I made, however, is a complete hit.  I’ve finally found a suitable replacement for canned icing.

This recipe was modified from the Feb-Mar 2011 issue of Mary Jane’s Farm, I doubled it to fit a cake and adjusted the ingredients to more closely duplicate the texture and “taste” of canned icing.  The good part of the taste, that is, not the greasy spoonful of shortening feeling.  While it certainly tastes a bit of cream cheese, it’s not overpowering (I don’t like cream cheese, so I’d probably be an early one to complain).


  • 12 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar


  1. In a mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth and soft.  Scrape sides a few times to ensure mixing.
  2. melt white chocolate in the microwave 30 seconds at a time on 70-80% power, stirring between each session, or melt in a double-boiler over medium-high heat.  Stir well until it is the consistency of softened cream cheese with no lumps.
  3. gradually add white chocolate to cream cheese and beat until well blended.
  4. beat in softened butter and mix on medium-high until well blended.
  5. add confectioners sugar and beat for 1 minute.

The icing can be used immediately, but I found it to be quite soft and pourable at this state, just like warm canned icing.  Refrigeration firms the icing.  I did an initial thin layer of icing on my cake (and the icing between the layers) with the soft icing, and then put both the cake and the icing in the fridge for a half hour.  I then iced the whole cake with the remainder of the icing, it came out wonderfully without a lot of little red crumbs stuck in the icing.

This recipe has definitely curbed my need to buy canned icing when I bake cakes.  Next time I’ll try putting this icing on the Cook’s Illustrated’s ultimate chocolate cupcakes, and possibly add in some vanilla extract.  I foresee another success!

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