Strawberry cream cheese frosting is made with real strawberries that are cooked down to a jam. The resulting flavor is a tangy, fruity and pink frosting that is perfect for cupcakes, between cake layers, or a little girl's birthday party.
A few weeks ago, I was given very strict orders by Camille. She's just old enough to understand what a birthday party is, and so when she knew her birthday was approaching, she made a list that I call 'birthday demands'.
Last year, we were in Seattle for her birthday, and we passed off a donut tour of the city followed by an ice cream cake after dinner as a child's birthday party. We felt smug, yes, but we also knew this was our last year getting away with such behavior.
About 4 months before her birthday, she started making plans/ 'birthday demands'.
I was told everything was to be 'Elsa blue,' which is really just a lovely shade of muted turquoise, except the center of her grand birthday cake should have pink strawberry cream cheese frosting.
Strawberry cream cheese frosting
The lovely thing about strawberry cream cheese frosting is that it can absolutely be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer until the day its needed.
My recipe makes a heaping 2 cups of frosting, which fits nicely into a freezer-safe bag. This amount of frosting is perfect for spreading between cake layers or frosting cupcakes. I made a double batch because I made her a triple layer birthday cake, and I was told that the strawberry layer had to be thick. Also, my chocolate buttercream frosting is freezer-safe, too.
What makes this strawberry cream cheese frosting different is that it's made with real strawberries. Now, there are recipes for frosting made with freeze-dried strawberries out there, but I don't like to use those. One reason is because we snack on freeze-dried strawberries voraciously, and the bag hardly ever makes it home from the store. Yes, my daughter thinks freeze-dried fruit is candy, and if any of you tell her differently, I'll find you.
Fresh strawberry frosting:
I like to use fresh strawberries when making this frosting because I usually have an abundance of strawberries in the springtime. All I do is cut up fresh strawberries, and cook them over low heat with a splash of water and sugar. This effectively cooks the strawberries down to a jam consistency, which is exactly what we want. If you think about it, jam is essentially the true essence of a fruit: concentrated juices and flavors. A freshly made batch of strawberry jam tastes like 100 strawberries fresh off the vine, condensed into one bite.
Speaking of jam, I have a small batch strawberry jam recipe here, if you like.
While the berries cook down on the stove, stir them occasionally to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, lay your butter and cream cheese out of the counter to soften.
How to thicken strawberry cream cheese frosting:
If for some reason, your frosting is runnier than you'd like, I have a few suggestions:
- Place it in the fridge for 20 minutes, stir, and then give it another 10 minutes.
- Beat in more butter or cream, and then refrigerate. Both of these ingredients are firm when cold and will help the consistency.
- Drain the juices from the strawberries before incorporating them into the butter mixture.
This recipe is so easy that you can make it with your kids, if they're demanding such. Just be sure to make the jam ahead of time, because these little maniacs lack patience, don't they?
You're going to need a hand mixer for this recipe. This is the one I use and love. You're also going to need to make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before making this recipe. Room temperature butter and cream cheese are the keys to a non-lumpy cream cheese frosting. For me, that means leaving them out on the counter for 1-2 hours. You can unwrap the packages and expose more surface area to air by slicing them up, if you need to.
I have a few fun ways to use this strawberry cream cheese frosting, if you aren't under strict birthday orders.
It's great on my small vanilla cake, small chocolate cake recipe or my small batch of chocolate cupcakes. If you can see the video of me making this frosting with my daughter, you can see that we spread it on the small batch of chocolate cupcakes.
I think you deserve to the see the cake that my Princess demanded. It's three layers of Sally's vanilla cake, stuffed with this strawberry cream cheese frosting, and topped with turquoise Swiss meringue buttercream. And yes, the turquoise macarons were not optional.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Strawberry cream cheese frosting made with fresh strawberries.
- 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- Combine the fresh strawberries, sugar and a splash of water in a small saucepan. Turn the heat to medium low, and cook while stirring every few minutes until the strawberries reduce to ¼ cup. Stir frequently, and lower the heat as needed to prevent burning. You can add a splash of water to help, if needed. It should take about 20-30 minutes, and it will turn into a thick jam that looks like preserves.
- Scrape the strawberry mixture out of the saucepan, and let it cool in a separate bowl.
- Meanwhile, beat together with an electric mixer on high the butter and cream cheese until creamy. Add the strawberry mixture and vanilla, and beat until combined.
- Finally, stream in the powdered sugar while beating until everything is creamy and smooth.
- Use on cupcakes, in between cake layers, or place in a plastic storage bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
You can add a drop of two of red food coloring if the color isn't pink enough for you.
To use frozen cream cheese frosting, simply defrost it in the fridge overnight before using.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 466Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 122mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 1gSugar: 50gProtein: 3g
Roxy Jude says
Made this with the strawberry cake receipe and family went wild for it and have asked for it again! Tried to frost cake too soon but quickly put in fridge and it set up perfectly mid drip! Really good and nowknow to make frosting ahead of time to cool. Highly recommend your receipe. Thankyou!
Tried this recipe. Way too sweet for me, any recommendations on making this lighter/less sugary?
I made this with vegan butter and cream cheese for a dairy free family and it was delicious. It got runny in the heat, but was really tasty and everyone was asking for the recipe. Thank you for sharing it!
I've been making this recipe for quite some time and it's always a hit! People love it and so do I. I was wondering if anyone has tried replacing the powdered sugar with powdered stevia? I have a lot of diabetics in the family so I'm looking for ways to reduce the sugar a bit.
Christina Lane says
Oh that's a good idea! In this recipe, powdered sugar is a liquid ingredient, so if you add Stevia, I would expect to add a splash more milk to make it come together. Would you be up for doing a 50-50 swap, or do you want it all stevia?
Oh sorry I didn't see this reply. I was looking to do an all stevia. I usually add 1and 1/4 blocks of cream cheese to get it to come together. Next time I make them I'll see if it comes out okay and I'll try the milk too. Thank you for the suggestion!
Kayleen McWilliams says
I've been making this recipe for a while and it's always a hit! I add chocolate covered strawberries on top too 😊 but I have a lot of diabetics in the family and I'm curious if anyone has tried substituting the powdered sugar for powdered stevia? Do you think it would work?
Cory Chong says
May I ask how long can this last in the refrigerator if I don't freeze it?
Christina Lane says
If it's tightly wrapped, 2-3 days. You'll have to blend again before using :)
Tess Johansen says
Looks a fantastic recipe but am useless at converting ingredients to metric measurements. Please can you help
Christina Lane says
Google is your friend :)
This was delicious. Adults very picky teenagers and kids raves about it. I think the trick is really cooking down those strawberries. My frosting had a great consistency.
Whipped this up at home, but with a cup of frozen strawberries; SO YUMMY!! The longer you whip, the fluffier it will be ❤️ Added 4 drops of red food coloring for a brighter pink.
Hi how are you? This looks amazing! I’m prepping for a trolls bday fondant cake for my soon to be daughter!
Have a couple of questions:
1.Can I use this under fondant?
2. Would the cake have to be refrigerated after adding the frosting? If not, how long would it last outside the fridge?
Christina Lane says
Definitely think you can use it under fondant, but refrigerate it to make it firm before applying fondant. And don't let the cake sit out at room temperature too long before serving. The cream cheese frosting is super soft at room temp, and more firm at colder temps.