Serves: Makes about 3 cups, enough for a 2-layer (9-inch) cake or 16 cupcakes
- 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¾ stick (3 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 3 cups (9¾ ounces) unsifted confectioners' sugar
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Procedures:Snowy white, velvety smooth, and sweet yet tangy, it's no wonder cream cheese frosting partners with everything from banana bread to pumpkin spice cake to chocolate cupcakes. It's easy to make, loved by everyone, takes color beautifully, and is a cinch to spread into gorgeous swirls. What more could you want from a frosting?
- Place the cream cheese, butter, and lemon zest in the bowl of the stand mixer and blend on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. You can also use a hand mixer and a medium bowl, although you may need to beat the mixture a little longer to achieve the same results. Scrape down the bowl with the spatula and beat again for 15 seconds.
- Use the fine-mesh strainer to sift in the confectioners' sugar and blend on low for 15 seconds, then scrape down the bowl. Add the vanilla, turn the speed to medium, and beat for 1 minute. Use immediately or refrigerate until needed.
Storing: Cream cheese frosting can be made up to 3 days ahead and kept refrigerated in an airtight container. If it's too stiff to spread easily, allow it to warm at room temperature for 30 minutes, stir well, and then use as desired.