Monday, November 29, 2010

Why Your Cream Cheese Frosting Was Lumpy

There is one way to avoid lumps in your frosting and hardly any cookbooks mention it. You must cream the butter very well in the first step. Almost every baker knows once you get lumps in your frosting no amount of mixing will smooth it out.

Most cookbooks instruct you to ensure the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature before mixing. If you did this to the best of your ability and still had lumpy frosting what happened is that your butter did not soften up enough first.  Since butter and cream cheese warm at different rates the best method is to cream the heck out of the butter before adding the cream cheese. Then it's foolproof. Creaming the butter for several minutes softens and warms it sufficiently so it combines smoothly with the remaining ingredients.

Cream cheese frosting is good on a variety of cakes and cupcakes, especially banana, carrot and coconut. This is a good time to address all the "cupcake hater" accusations I received over the weekend. I didn't explain myself well in the cupcake post. I only hate bad cupcakes. If someone is going to go through the trouble of opening a store and only sell cupcakes they ought to be well made. For a perfect seasonal cupcake bake up some Pumpkin Cupcakes and frost them with Cream Cheese Frosting. You will not be disappointed.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Print recipe only here

Makes 2 cups - or enough to frost a 9-inch, two-layer cake or 24 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS
4 oz unsalted butter, softened a bit
1 # cream cheese (Philly's is always the best bet)
2 ¼ cups sifted powdered sugar
1-2 t vanilla extract

METHOD
Cream the butter well, using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer. You want to spin it for about 3-5 minutes, minimum. Plan to stop and scrape the bowl with a spatula a couple of times so that the butter creams throughly. When it's ready for the next step it will have lightened in color and look fluffy. Don't proceed until it matches that description.

Add the cream cheese and mix well for another few minutes.

Add the vanilla extract and mix. Then add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until just combined.

It's now finished. Just don't frost anything that's still warm or you'll have a mess on your hands.

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