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Perfectly balanced lemon cream cheese frosting. It’s silky, slightly tart, and a little sweet. Everything you’d expect with cream cheese and lemon-flavored frosting! Spring has sprung.
What’s great about cakes is that the same vanilla cake recipe can taste dramatically different depending on the frosting you use. Use this fresh and bright lemon frosting, or this pineapple frosting, or my strawberry frosting – and each one will taste totally different.
My latest and most favorite is homemade lemon cream cheese frosting. This one took several tries to get right. It’s finicky because cream cheese frosting is already soft. It’s not a frosting that holds up well against intricate piping.
If you add lemon curd to the mix, it can get all sorts of soupy. To counterbalance the soupiness, you have to add a billion pounds of powdered sugar. Then you end up with a frosting that’s overly sweet and tooth-achey.
I needed to make a frosting that was a happy balance of creamy, tangy, and sweet.
I chose lemon curd because it offers the most natural lemon flavor without being too wet. You can add some lemon zest if you find the frosting isn’t quite lemony enough, but I was pleased with the lemon curd alone.
Taste it here and if you feel like it’s just not lemony enough for you, add the zest of one lemon. But please, trust me on this one – if you want more lemon, resist adding more lemon curd as this could throw off the texture and consistency of the frosting.
Everyone raved about this lemon cream cheese frosting and claimed that it tasted like cheesecake. I’ll agree with that!
Table of Contents
- TASTE: Lemony and springy
- TEXTURE: Thick and creamy
- EASE: Super easy
- TIME: Under 10 minutes
What You’ll Need
This creamy, dreamy lemon frosting is made with a handful of simple ingredients. You can buy lemon curd at the store, or choose to make it yourself.
- Cream cheese – One package of full-fat block cream cheese, softened. Adds creaminess, richness, texture, and tang to the frosting.
- Butter – Sweet cream butter, unsalted, softened
- Confectioners’ sugar – Powdered sugar is preferred for frostings because it doesn’t impact the texture.
- Lemon curd – Gives the frosting a delightfully bright and lemony flavor.
- Vanilla extract – Use a high-quality recipe
- Salt– To balance the flavors
- Zest of one lemon – This is optional but will add a burst of flavor
How to Make Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
This lemon cream cheese frosting is a quick and easy way to infuse spring into your favorite layer cake recipe. It is easy to make, and delicious to boot!
- Cream the butter and cream cheese Using a handheld mixer (or a stand mixer), beat the cream cheese and butter together in a large bowl until smooth and creamy.
- Add remaining ingredients. Add the sugar, lemon curd, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low until just incorporated then turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Mix in lemon zest if desired.
My biggest tip for frosting success is to make sure the cream cheese, butter, and lemon curd are at room temperature. Softened butter and cream cheese will mix together so much more easily.
Tips For Success
- Taste it here and if you feel like it’s just not lemony enough for you, add the zest of one lemon. But, resist adding more lemon curd as this could throw off the texture and consistency of the frosting.
- This recipe yields about 2.5 cups which is enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes or one 9×13 sheet cake.
- The lemon zest is completely optional and may not be needed depending on your taste preference.
Storage & Freezing
Store this lemon frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
The most important of my storage tips – if you frost the cake and then freeze it, all will be ok. Though some will say it is ok, I don’t have great luck freezing frostings, thawing them, and then spreading them. So if you must freeze the frosting, make sure it is on the cake when you do it!