Banana Sheet Cake

Cream Cheese Frosting for Topping Cakes & Cupcakes

This is a gorgeous cream cheese frosting that’s just perfect for cupcakes or topping a cake – absolutely creamy and dreamy! A bit richer than most and not as cloying, it’s really a favorite.

Banana Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Banana Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

While the absolute creaminess (and not too sweet flavor) makes this a great topping, the down side is that because it doesn’t have a ton of powdered sugar, this Cream Cheese Frosting is not as “stiff” as many recipes. I don’t usually use this one when making layered cakes, especially in warm weather!

Originally from Ina Garten, I searched up this recipe when my daughter complained the cream cheese frosting on my Mother’s Carrot Cake was just too sweet. I thought it worth reposting here with a few more instructions and clarification as I could see that there were complaints on the Food Network site.

This is very buttery, but mixed correctly it won’t taste buttery or oily. Face it, if you have a recipe with this few ingredients, you have to have the volume from somewhere. Recipes will generally lean towards more butter or more sugar, and this leans towards the butter side.

I use this recipe all the time for our favorite Banana Sheet Cake and it’s the perfect amount for my 10 1/2 x 15 inch sheet pan. With careful shopping, good timing and a few coupons, I made the frosting for about $1.57.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Servings: 1 lg sheet cake
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (3/4 pound)

Place the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium speed just until combined. Don’t whip! Add the sugar and mix until smooth.

Critical things to know:

  • The butter and cream cheese absolutely have to be at a good room temperature, which means plan ahead and set out overnight, if possible. The butter should be able to be picked up and still hold it’s form but be able to bend without cracking.
  • If the butter is too warm, the frosting will taste oily. If the butter is not warm enough, the frosting will leave little unmixed (even if it’s not visible to the eye) bits of butter that will make the frosting taste “buttery.”
  • If your house isn’t warm enough (or too warm) you’ll want to fudge the temperature of the butter and cream cheese. Between 70 to 75 degrees usually works well for me. Try to place the butter and cream cheese in a warmer or cooler place in the house. Both can be microwaved on defrost for a few seconds at a time to slightly warm, turning often.
  • When mixing, don’t whip, but do mix long enough to fully incorporate the butter and cream cheese before adding the sugar. It needs to be well mixed.
  • Frost right away – the icing will set up a bit with time (which is a good thing) and be harder to work with.

from the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com, adapted fron Ina Garten

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

6 thoughts on “Cream Cheese Frosting for Topping Cakes & Cupcakes”

  1. As I was baking a maple brown sugar cake today (from a box mix) I was reading my reader and saw this frosting! Timely! I have other cream cheese frosting recipes but this looked easier. It was excellent! I halved everything and had a nice layer for a 9×13-in cake.

    Thanks for the recipe, it was a hit at the party! I won’t be blogging my cake from mix but when I use the recipe again you will get credit!

    1. I’m glad you liked it! Not too sweet, right? Almost like a tangy buttercream! And I think we think a lot alike, Audrey! Although it was an Ina Recipe 🙂

      You did just remind me that I remembered sometimes when I was little the church ladies used to put a brown sugar frosting on banana cake…

  2. I’ve made cookie dough with butter and cream cheese but have never made a cream cheese frosting. Maybe when I finally get around to trying a carrot cake.

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