#84 Calling all Bakers: Runny frosting remedy required

June 12, 2011 § 15 Comments

I have written two posts on my blog titled with “Calling all bakers”. I have had such great advice and responses (thank you all kindly) that I figured I may as well use this outlet on my blog to try to find a remedy for an icing (problem) I created on Friday. 

This icing was made for a particular purpose, which I will discuss in a later post, however the icing was a failure and yesterday I hastily reverted back to a classic buttercream in order to produce an icing that had any solidity to it and helped me finish my hen night creations (like I said, more on that later)!

So to my problem.

My cream cheese frosting is too runny. Even after a night in the fridge it didn’t set. For now, it is confined to my freezer in a hope that some amazing baker can tell me how to remedy it, simply because I hate to throw food out even when it is a runny, lemony, cream cheese, icing mess! 

Or if not remedy it, suggest another use for it… 

The approximate recipe I used was as follows (I say approximate as during my worry of it not setting I added a few more spoons of icing sugar).

200g cream cheese (full fat variety)

100g butter

200g icing sugar

2 tbsp lemon juice

I simply popped it all in a bowl and beat it to death!

So bakers, do your worst? Suggestions or advice welcomed! 

Cream Cheese Frosting




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§ 15 Responses to #84 Calling all Bakers: Runny frosting remedy required

  • Instead of lemon juice could you maybe try a teaspoon of vanilla essence? Or maybe using lemon zest if you still want the citrusy flavour? That might make it less runny. Mmm… I want to make cupcakes now!

  • I know nothing about cream cheese frosting and other such fancy modern things. But…

    If I were making buttercream, my quantities would be 1 part butter to 2 parts icing sugar.

    I’m guessing that the cream cheese comes on the butter side, so effectively you’re adding 300g of ‘fats’ to the pot.

    So therefore – surely – you’d need to be using 600g of icing sugar to get somewhere around the right consistency. I think – is it that stuff that ends up on the top of carrot cakes?

    That would be my diagnosis – you’ve only added a third of the icing sugar you need. Throw some more in and see what happens (!).

  • Can you add powdered sugar to soak up the liquid? If not, well I’m not a baker anyway. Ha. If so, I am a baking genius!

  • Just from looking at your recipe it seems you don’t have enough powdered sugar. I am not sure you can salvage this for frosting, however you could use it for topping sticky buns ,donuts etc. here is a recipe for cream cheese icing you could try. :

    2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use. – if needed you can add a tablespoon of milk at a time if frosting seems to stiff/thick,.

    I hope this helps. :)

    • NOTE that should be 1 package of cream cheese. not 2 . :)

    • My BlogJect says:

      Thanks for the recipe Metro!

    • Rachel Walls says:

      It’s a bit old now but I’ll reply because I love baking and don’t care much for recipes. The proportions for a cream cheese frosting should be such that there is not nearly as much butter as cream cheese. Otherwise it affects the flavor. Use some lemon juice or zest (or a bit of both) and consider a splash of vanilla essence. Always add a pinch of nutmeg. Keeping proportions heavy on the cream cheese side, add icing sugar until the consistency is to your liking. Expect this to be a soft frosting, and expect it to firm up if refrigerated. Best to make it when you expect to use it. Best to not put it on warm cake, it will run.

      If you really have issues with the sweetness and prefer not to add loads of icing sugar to get the consistency right, consider an alternate addition such as coconut flour or cornflour. These will alter the consistency very quickly and so add little at a time.

  • [...] but I think that adds to the charm. Also, I was hoping to make a cream cheese frosting, but as my previous post explains (any bakers, please check the link and help if you can), this was a failure and I [...]

  • Veronica says:

    With any runny frosting, just add more powdered sugar until it is your desired consistency. Easy Peasy!

  • i’d say more icing sugar but also don’t beat it too much as this will make it runny

  • julia Thistleton-Smith says:

    Sorry but adding more icing sugar won’t help – it’s the overbeating that warms up the liquid in the cream cheese too much and dissolves the icing sugar thus making it runny. It’s happened to me twice now – really dull. Last time it did finally firm up after 3 days in the fridge so the freezing option may work. Good luck!

  • Jenn says:

    I made a batch of runny cream cheese icing yesterday. I was able to thicken it up to a spreadable consistency by adding more icing sugar but it took a whole bag to do that! So I really had more of a very sweet buttercream icing with a hint of cream cheese flavour than a true cream cheese icing. I still used it on my red velvet cake and it disappeared pretty quickly so it couldn’t have been too bad.

  • Okay so – I wont through all the above suggestions and I figure it’s a bit to late but JUST IN CASE it isn’t – I think what could have gone wrong is:
    1. Over beating the mix. So try and slow-beat the butter and cream cheese first until just combined. Then add the sugar little at a time till it’s incorporated. And refrigerate. (Use full fat cream cheese)
    2. The weather plays a MAJOR ROLE – My cream cheese frosting is perfect in winters and was just like yours in the rainy season (too much humidity). I suggest you make the frosting in an airconditioned room / kitchen.
    3. If you already have tried the above method and it didn’t work then first incorporate the butter with the icing sugar, when combined then add the cream cheese (beat at slow speed) and it should work.

    All the best! You gotta learn to beat the weather :)

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