Faux Cream Cheese Frosting | Bakes & Blunders

Why You Should Try Faux Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese frosting is rich, decadent and probably one of the most popular frosting flavors out there.  As much as I love the stuff, and I really do, it can also be really problematic.  So here’s a recipe for faux cream cheese frosting made with a cream cheese flavoring.  And if you’ve got your doubts, I’m going to tell you why you should try this stuff.

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An Ode to Cream Cheese Frosting


A recipe for the classic stuff is irreplaceable.  It’s got that bit of tang, it’s rich, it’s creamy, and it pairs so well with red or green velvet cake, carrot cake, and a lemon blueberry cake.  Let’s make this clear, I’m not trying to replace normal cream cheese frosting, but there’s a time and a place.

Faux Cream Cheese Frosting | Bakes & Blunders

Since I’ve started baking a ton over the past few years, I’ve come across quite a few situations where a faux cream cheese frosting was a much better choice.  Let’s chat about that.



Problems with Traditional Cream Cheese Frosting


  • It spoils easily.  You can only leave it out of the fridge for 2- 4 hours safely.
  • Because of the previous point, many state food laws prevent home bakeries (like mine!) from selling it.
  • Too soft to pipe.  Even the thickest cream cheese frosting is a poor choice for decorative piping or fine details.
  • Heck, let’s add too soft to stack a tall cake or use under fondant.  (There are some bakers who can pull this off, but it’s a risk.)
  • Easy to over mix.  If you over mix cream cheese, it will separate and it’s basically ruined.  This goes for cheesecake too, btw.
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Faux Cream Cheese Frosting

Good gravy!  Once I wrote down these “cons”, I kinda wondered why we even bother with it, right?  Luckily, if any of the above issues concerns you, we’ve got this faux cream cheese frosting flavored with LorAnn flavoring oils!


UPDATE: This is the exact flavoring I used in this recipe, but it is no longer available on Amazon.  Check your local cake supply store as well!  You can find this cream cheese emulsion (also by LorAnn) on Amazon though.  I haven’t used it, but seeing as it’s the same brand, it should work great.  You may have to adjust the amounts though.


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Why You Should Make Faux Cream Cheese Frosting


  • Basically, the opposite of everything in the first list, but I get that you need more reasons than that…
  • Tastes great!  Even my husband, who is picky with frosting and baked goods in general, thought so.
    • (Ben didn’t like it at all.  But he doesn’t like cream cheese at all, so I think that’s proof that this stuff tastes legit.)
  • Convenient to make.  This is just your basic American buttercream and that’s a frosting that is pretty tricky to completely botch.

Faux Cream Cheese Frosting | Bakes & Blunders

  • Food safe option.  You can leave your faux cream cheese frosting on the counter for several days without spoiling. (Though I always suggest the fridge or freezer for longer storage.)
  • You can color and pipe beautiful designs with this stuff!
  • It’s pure white!  Unlike the traditional stuff, this faux cream cheese frosting can be made pure white and won’t have an off white tinge.
  • You don’t have to have a block or two of cream cheese on hand!  That means you can whip this recipe up whenever you want.



Texture Difference


This frosting has the texture of traditional American buttercream and is not quite as silky as the traditional variety.  If you want a silkier texture, I would use this flavor oil in a meringue based buttercream like Italian meringue, Swiss meringue, or even Easy ButtercreamPersonally, I love how quick and easy American buttercream is, plus it’s super sturdy for piping.  You’ve got to do what you’ll enjoy most!


Related Reading: How to Design a Cake with Cake Templates


How to Use Faux Cream Cheese Frosting


Well, just like any other frosting!  I used my first batch to make my mini Fall cake.  It was perfect for filling and stacking, as well as piping the cascade of beautifully colored buttercream down the front.

Now I’m using it for my strawberry cupcakes and my vegan five spice macarons (recipes coming soon!).  Yep, you heard me vegan.  Use plant butter and vegan milk to create a vegan cream cheese frosting without the hassle.





Okay, give it to me straight.  Are you excited to try faux cream cheese frosting?  While it’s not the same as traditional cream cheese frosting, it’s perfect for so many occasions.  Be sure to share this recipe with a friend who might be interested in a more stable, easy to make cream cheese flavored buttercream.

Faux Cream Cheese Frosting | Bakes & Blunders

Faux Cream Cheese Frosting

All the flavor of cream cheese frosting without the issues!
Pin this Recipe!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Cake, Frosting, Gluten Free, Holiday
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 24 servings
Calories 287kcal
Author Colleen


  • 1 lb unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar sifted
  • 1 tsp cream cheese flavor oil
  • 3- 5 Tbsps water, milk, or cream
  • Pinch of salt


  • Beat the butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 8- 10 minutes. Scrape the bowl down as needed.
  • Add a third of the powdered sugar to the bowl. Beat on low until combined, then on medium until creamy, about 1- 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl down.
  • Add another third of the sugar and the cream cheese flavor oil to the bowl. Beat on low until combined, then on medium until creamy, about 1- 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl down.
  • Add the remaining sugar and a pinch of salt to the bowl. Beat on low until combined, then on medium until creamy, about 1- 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl down.
  • Add your liquid (water, milk, or cream) a tablespoon at a time, beating on low between additions, until the frosting reaches the right consistency. If adding gel color, add it now.


  • This is enough buttercream to frost:
    • 24 cupcakes
    • 3 layer 6 inch cake
    • 2 layer 8 inch cake
  • Water will allow the frosting to be at room temperature for longer than milk or cream. 

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Hi there! I’m Colleen, a novice baker with a passion for learning and improving my bakes… and blunders. On Bakes and Blunders, you can find all sorts of tasty recipes that range in difficulty, but most importantly, I’ll try to explain the reason behind important steps. If you know why a recipe works, you can tweak and adapt it to suit your unique tastes, and you’ll be able to reliably produce some very delicious treats. If you love baking and want to expand and grow your skills, or if you are a casual baker and just need some pointers, my blog is right up your alley! Join me on my baking journey and we’ll learn how to make more impressive recipes together.


  • Gina I.

    I just found this recipe so I can start having some cream cheese swirls in my different breads I make! I didn’t realize it would make so much though…. can I freeze it? TIA!

    • Colleen

      I freeze my buttercream all the time 😀 I like to use quart or gallon freezer bags, then add a piece of tape to write the flavor, date, and amount. Frosting can keep in the freezer for months. You should be good with up to 3 months, but I’ve had others last longer. Just thaw and taste your frosting before using. As long as it tastes good, it’s good to go!

  • Kristin

    Would adding lemon juice (1Tbsp) and lemon zest (1 Tbsp) to make a lemon cream cheese frosting alter this recipe too much?

      • Heather

        You don’t mention in the recipe which step you add the cream cheese flavoring. Before or after you have beaten all the sugar?
        Also, why does the health department let you put cream in the frosting, but not cream cheese? I am curious to know the answer because I have been thinking about looking into the cottage licensing requirements as well. Thank you!

        • Colleen

          Hi Heather! You’ll see I added the flavoring in step 3. But you can really add it at any point. I would look into your state’s specific cottage food laws. My current state doesn’t require any licensing, it just bans certain food items. Unfortunately, it’s not always very clear. For me, I can pretty much stick to most foods that are safe at room temp for at least a day. Cream cheese frosting is generally considered unsafe after 8 hours max at room temp. In traditional buttercream, the amount of sugar keeps the frosting safe for (generally) 2- 3 days, even with a tiny bit of cream added. And if you’re ever in doubt, you can always use water instead 😀

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