Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Learn how to make Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting with fresh strawberries! This small batch frosting recipe makes enough to frost a 6-8 inch cake or 6-8 cupcakes.
Ever read a post that was a long time coming?
According to my age, I’m supposedly a millennial, growing up in a world immersed in technology. I’m narcissistic, lazy, and expect to be coddled with participation trophies.
Except I grew up in a time without technology. I passed paper notes in high school. I didn’t get my first cell phone until my freshman year in college.
I don’t think my family even had the Internet until I was in middle school. Of course you couldn’t actually use it if somebody else was on the phone.
When I went on field trips, I used disposable cameras. I’d have no clue how the photos turned out until the film was developed. My parents did have a Polaroid camera, but it didn’t work half the time.
When there was a new song on the radio, I’d wait with a blank cassette tape on hand, pressing the record button as soon as the DJ stopped talking. Most of the time they talked over the song intro, so it was hit or miss.
True millennials never experienced a life without technology. They were born into it.
Me on the other hand – I’m caught in between millennial and generation X. That’s when I read about a new term called Xennials.
Of course the date range doesn’t include my year, but the whole article describes me to a tee.
Growing up the way I did shaped the way I cook and bake. I learned how to cook in home economics class.
Everything was made from scratch. No cake mixes or canned soup. It became an obsession of mine, although I have been a little more relaxed once I started working full time.
A few years ago, I posted strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. No cake mix. No Jello. All fresh strawberries.
My homemade Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting made with fresh strawberries became popular enough to deserve its own post. It really is the best strawberry cream cheese frosting recipe!
It’s a sweet and tangy small batch cream cheese frosting with a sweet berry finish. It pairs well with a lot of flavors – chocolate, lemon, vanilla, even coconut.
Much like my raspberry cream cheese frosting, there is a little bit of cooking involved.
However, it’s the best way to get the most fruit flavor for your homemade strawberry frosting.
You also don’t have to worry about chunks of strawberry getting stuck in your piping bag (affiliate link).
Ready to make the best strawberry cake frosting?
Ingredients For Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
To make this easy cream cheese frosting with strawberries, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Strawberries: Can’t have strawberry frosting without the strawberries! Although fresh makes the most sense, you can certainly use frozen. Let them thaw until soft.
- Sugar: Strawberries may be sweet on their own, but you still need a little boost to balance it out.
- Butter: The base to every good frosting is butter. Real butter, not margarine. Add a pinch of salt if using unsalted.
- Cream cheese: Adding cream cheese with your butter makes the frosting more tangy than sweet. It’s important you use full-fat blocks of cream cheese. Any fat-free or whipped products won’t work.
- Powdered sugar: Not only does it balance the fat, it also helps thicken the frosting so you can easily spread or pipe it onto your dessert.
- Vanilla extract: Much like salt, vanilla brings out the other flavors in dessert.
Adding Fresh Strawberries To Cream Cheese Frosting
The best strawberry cream cheese frosting recipe starts with its namesake – the strawberries.
In order to incorporate fresh strawberries into your frosting, you need to puree them in a blender then cook down the mixture until thickened.
If you were to add the puree without cooking, your frosting would be too runny. That would mean adding more powdered sugar to thicken it, which would make the frosting a little TOO sweet.
Measuring is very important because you want 1 1/2 tablespoons cooked puree (3 tablespoons if you’re doubling my recipe).
Let it cool to room temperature before using. Otherwise, it may curdle your frosting if it’s too warm.
If you’re making the puree the day before, make sure you bring it to room temperature along with your butter. If it’s too cold, it may also split your frosting.
Or make a peach cream cheese frosting with peach curd.
How To Make Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
To make this strawberry cream cheese frosting recipe, I highly recommend using an electric mixer to beat together the ingredients rather than beating by hand. Using a mixer makes it super smooth and adds air, which is key for making a fluffy frosting.
I personally use a 5 quart stand mixer. However, you can also use a hand mixer.
First you want to puree and cook down the fresh strawberries. It’s important you cook the strawberries down enough to equal 1 1/2 tablespoons; otherwise, your frosting will be too runny.
This means actually measuring it and keep cooking until it’s 1 1/2 tablespoons. Please don’t skip this step.
Next, you want to beat room temperature cream cheese and butter.
If you beat the fat while too cold, the frosting won’t be as smooth and may result in a lumpy frosting.
If you beat the fat while too warm, the frosting will become too soft to set up.
Since I always use unsalted butter, I often add a pinch of salt to my frostings. It helps amplify the other flavors.
Beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, roughly 1-2 minutes depending on how powerful your mixer is. You may also want to scrape down the bowl if needed.
I like to sift my powdered sugar before beating so it’s not all clumpy. That also helps with making a smooth frosting.
After the frosting is light and fluffy, you then add your strawberry puree and vanilla.
Typically the cream cheese frosting is naturally pink from using strawberries. However, if your berries aren’t juicy enough, you may need to add a drop or two of red food coloring.
Why is my strawberry cream cheese frosting runny?
Assuming you properly cooked and measured your strawberry puree, sometimes your strawberry cream cheese icing may still be too warm and runny.
Cream cheese frosting will harden in the fridge so if it’s a little too soft for piping, refrigerate the frosting for 15 minutes or until it starts to firm up again.
If your frosting is still too thin after chilling, gradually beat in more powdered sugar until it thickens to your liking.
If your frosting is too thick even at room temperature, gradually add in a few drops of milk to thin it out.
How much frosting does a small batch make?
Because I made this strawberry frosting for my small cakes, here are some guidelines about how much it makes:
- If you’re piping Small Batch Lemon Cupcakes, you can frost between 6-8 cupcakes, depending on how tall you make the swirls.
- If you’re frosting Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes with an offset spatula, you can frost 1 dozen cupcakes because you typically don’t use as much as you would piping.
- If you’re frosting a 6 Inch Lemon Cake recipe, you can frost the top and edges with about a spoonful or two left over, depending on how thick you like it.
- If you’re frosting an 8 inch one layer chocolate cake, you can still frost the top and edges. Depending on how thick you like your frosting, you may or may not have some leftover.
- If you’re frosting a two layer Cherry Vanilla Cake or Lemon Raspberry Cake, you can frost the middle and top like a naked cake OR top and edges.
Can strawberry cream cheese frosting be made in advance?
Yes, you can make this strawberry cream cheese frosting recipe in advance! Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
You may need to bring your frosting to room temperature if it’s too hard to spread.
Does a cake with cream cheese frosting need to be refrigerated?
The biggest question I get about making strawberry frosting is do you have to refrigerate a cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting?
The answer is yes because cream cheese is perishable, even with a good amount of powdered sugar in it.
How do you store a cake with cream cheese frosting?
To refrigerate a cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting, first put it in the fridge uncovered for about 15 minutes. This will harden the frosting just enough so it won’t smear if accidentally touched.
Next, you want to cover the cake so it doesn’t dry out in the refrigerator.
You can either loosely wrap with plastic wrap (you can use toothpicks if you don’t want it touching the frosting) or store in an airtight cake container (affiliate link).
I highly recommend using a cake container because it won’t actually touch your cake and you can store other items on top in the fridge.
Before serving, take the cake out of refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for an hour or so. This allows the cake to lose its chill and have a better texture when eating.
How long can a cake with cream cheese frosting sit out?
Your cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting can sit out at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
What is strawberry cream cheese frosting good on?
As much fun as it is to eat homemade strawberry frosting with a spoon, chances are you need small cake recipes too.
That’s why I wrote my 6 Inch Cake Recipes guide.
Mix and match your favorite flavors!
More Small Batch Frostings
Looking for more small batch frosting recipes? Check out my other Frosting Recipes for Small Cakes including these favorites:
Items You Will Need (Affiliate Links)
- 1 cup fresh strawberries (or thawed if frozen)
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces (4 tablespoons) full-fat block cream cheese, softened (do not substitute fat-free or whipped)
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a blender, add the the strawberries and granulated sugar. Process until smooth. If your berries aren't quite juicy, you may need to add a splash of water to help blend it.
- Pour through a fine mesh strainer, discarding any solids left behind. You should have 1/4 cup puree (if you're doubling the recipe, it'll be 1/2 cup).
- Add the puree to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn down to simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the puree thickens and cooks down to 1 1/2 tablespoons (please measure as anything more will make the frosting runny). Cool to room temperature.
If you're doubling the recipe, cook it down to 3 tablespoons, about 10-15 minutes
- In a large mixing bowl (with paddle attachment if using a stand mixer), beat together the butter and cream cheese for 30 seconds or until combined. Scrape down the bowl then add the powdered sugar and salt. Beat until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
- Scrape down the bowl then beat in the cooled strawberry mixture and vanilla for 1-2 minutes.
If the frosting is too soft to pipe right away, refrigerate 15 minutes or until it firms up. If it's still too runny, add more powdered sugar to thicken it.
If the frosting is too thick, add a few drops of milk to thin it out.
- Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Enjoyed this recipe? Check out my Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting.
- Don't want to use cream cheese? Check out my Strawberry Buttercream.
- Need a cake recipe? Check out my Small Cake Recipes and Small Batch Cupcake Recipes for ideas, including chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and lemon.
- Enjoyed this recipe? Check out my other Frosting Recipes For Small Cakes, including cream cheese, chocolate buttercream, and vanilla buttercream.
Originally published July 10, 2017