Join Our Community

Love baking? Why not subscribe to The Hummingbird Bakery mailing list for updates and news.

Buttercream Frosting and Cream Cheese Frosting FAQs

Want to make better buttercream and creamier cream cheese frosting for topping cupcakes and smothering over layer cakes? You’ve come to the right place!

 

Why is my buttercream frosting lumpy?

This is because you haven’t beaten your buttercream frosting enough. To fix it, simply beat for longer.

 

Beat buttercream for at least five minutes with a paddle attachment in your mixer to remove all lumps of butter and icing sugar. You can mix it with an electric hand mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer.

 

Make sure your butter is at room temperature before you attempt to mix your frosting. Chop it into 1cm cubes for easier mixing.

 

If your icing sugar is adding lumps, sifting before adding is a good habit, as is scraping down the sides of the bowl between mixing to incorporate any ingredients stuck to the sides.

 

My buttercream frosting is too stiff or too runny. What can I do?

Don’t be afraid to add a little spoonful of icing sugar or milk to stiffen or loosen up the frosting as you’re making it. All bakers know this trick!

 

Why is my cream cheese frosting runny?

It could be that you overbeat it or the temperature is too high in the room, which has caused it to melt. Cream cheese needs to be used cold and straight from the fridge.

 

The golden rule is to not beat cream cheese frosting for any more than five minutes. Once you reach five minutes or before, step away from the mixer, or the frosting will turn runny from too much beating.

 

It could also be that you’ve used low-fat content cream cheese. We always recommend a creamy, high quality full-fat cream cheese, such as Philadelphia.

 

Can I add flavourings to my frostings?

Of course! Edible essences are a wonderful way to add variety to your cupcakes and cakes. We’ve used candyfloss, bubblegum, rum, peppermint, orange and lots more to add extra oomph to our frosting flavours.

 

Use sparingly as a little goes a long way and some edible essences can be very strong indeed.

 

We have also infused our cupcake frostings with teas, coffees and spice infusions.

 

How do I colour my frostings?

Gel food colouring works brilliantly to colour buttercream frostings without adding extra liquid and making them runny. Add a sparing amount of gel food colouring with a toothpick and mix until you reach the desired shade.

 

We don’t recommend colouring cream cheese frostings as the mixing required to distribute the food colouring makes the frosting too runny. Unless you’re using a tried and tested recipe, you’re better off adding a fresh ingredient such as citrus zest to flavour and add a hint of colour to it naturally.

 

Can I make my frosting in advance?

You can make frosting in advance, but we recommend making it on the day for best results. It will keep well for 48 hours in the fridge when stored in an airtight container.

 

When serving frosting made in advance, let it sit at room temperature for an hour or more to bring it up to temperature and rewhip it to make it fluffy again.

 

Can frosting be frozen?

We’ve heard from our home bakers that buttercream frosting freezes well, but we wouldn’t recommend freezing cream cheese frosting as this is more delicate and is likely to go runny.

 

If you do wish to freeze your buttercream frosting, keep it sealed in an airtight container and let it defrost completely in the refrigerator before rewhipping to plump it up.

 

Can I substitute my frostings with vegan ingredients?

By all means experiment with vegan substitutes available.

 

For tips please visit our blog on Baking with Substitutions.

 

 

More baking tips

For more Cupcake and Frosting Problems Solved visit our blog.

 

Frost a cupcake

Watch our video and learn how to frost a cupcake with a palette knife, Hummingbird Bakery style!

 

Make our bestselling recipes

To try our irresistible frosting recipes in your own kitchen, our bestselling American baking cookbooks are your go-to for the most authentic frosting in town.