Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting

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Grab your favorite cake or cupcake recipe and top it with this lightly sweet, super creamy Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting. With only four-ingredients, it’s light and fluffy like whipped cream but holds its shape and can be piped like cream cheese frosting. 

spreading vanilla frosting on a cake on a wire cooling rack

Now that our family has this super simple, weeknight-friendly Vanilla Snack Cake in the rotation, we needed a vanilla frosting to go on top. Most vanilla frosting recipes I found made way too much for this snack-sized cake, so I wanted a go-to version that would make just enough frosting for an 8×8 cake or a dozen cupcakes. (This is especially important since extra frosting mysteriously finds its way into my mouth.)

This version of vanilla frosting is much lighter than buttercream. It has a light but sturdy texture that makes it easy to spread and can be made a day in advance and just left at room temperature to cool down before using it.

Here’s how to make my favorite Whipped Cream Frosting!

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vanilla frosting on a beater

Ingredients

  • Cream Cheese – Be sure to get the cream cheese that comes in a block, not the kind in a tub that has a different texture and won’t work in this recipe. Be sure to let it soften to room temperature. The flavor of the cream cheese is subtle in this frosting, but it helps the frosting to be sturdy and hold its shape. Light or Low-fat Cream Cheese will work here.
  • Powdered Sugar – This frosting uses just enough powdered sugar to lend the frosting a bit (but not too much) sweetness. Powdered sugar is sometimes also labeled “icing” or “confectioners” sugar.
  • Heavy / Whipping Cream – Look for this labeled as either heavy cream or whipping cream. Be sure to keep this chilled right up until you add it to the frosting. This gives the frosting its light and fluffy texture reminiscent of whipped cream.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – A bit of pure vanilla extract gives it vanilla flavor. Even without this, the frosting still has great flavor.

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How to Make Vanilla Frosting Ahead

This frosting can be made up to a day ahead. Just transfer it to any container and cover with plastic wrap, pressing down to seal the top of the frosting. When you’re ready to use it, take it out of the refrigerator about an hour before using. Let it come close to room temperature and then give it a few really good stirs with a spatula before spreading it on the cake / cupcakes.

spreading vanilla frosting on a cake with a spatula

FAQs

Can you skip the cream cheese?

The cream cheese is essential for helping the frosting to hold its shape. Without the cream cheese, the frosting won’t have the stability to hold its shape once piped or spread over baked goods.

Can you reduce the sugar?

The sugar also helps with the stability of the frosting. I’ve reduced it down to 1/4 cup with great results, but can’t guarantee the results with less sugar than that.

Easy Snack Cakes

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4.39 from 63 votes

Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting Recipe

Grab your favorite cake or cupcake recipe and top it with this lightly sweet, super creamy Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting. With only four-ingredients, it's light and fluffy like whipped cream but holds its shape and can be piped like cream cheese frosting. 
This recipe makes enough for an 8” round or square cake or a dozen cupcakes.
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 9

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer or Handheld Mixer

Ingredients 

  • 3 ounces Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 cup Heavy / Whipping Cream, chilled
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract (optional)

Instructions 

  • Combine cream cheese and powdered sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Turn the mixer on medium and beat until evenly combined.
  • Turn the mixer down to medium-low speed and slowly pour the heavy cream down the side of the bowl with the mixer running. Add vanilla extract.
  • When all of the cream and vanilla have been added, increase speed to medium-high until stiff peaks form. If the frosting is too thick to spread with a spatula, add more cream 1 Tablespoon at a time.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use.

Notes

This frosting can be made up to a day ahead. Just transfer it to any container and cover with plastic wrap, pressing down to seal the top of the frosting. When you’re ready to use it, take it out of the refrigerator about an hour before using. Let it come close to room temperature and then give it a few really good stirs with a spatula before spreading it on the cake / cupcakes.
Pure Vanilla Extract – While this enhances the vanilla flavor of the frosting, it also dulls the white color. If you’re going for maximum white color, skip it. If you want that more pronounced vanilla flavor, add the pure vanilla extract.

Nutrition

Calories: 141kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 40mg | Potassium: 33mg | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 516IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $2.00
Calories: 141
Keyword: easy dessert recipe, frosting
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

4.39 from 63 votes (57 ratings without comment)

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26 Comments

  1. Do you think you could ice and decorate a birthday cake the day before? Or does it affect the cake at all and loose it’s shape?

    1. There’s really not. The cream cheese is what gives the frosting stability and the thickness of the cream cheese is key for that.

      1. 5 stars
        Try using Vanilla pudding instead of the cream cheese. No sugar unless you need to sweeten it more. Since my family grew up on less sugar we love this frosting and found it did hold up.