Sunday, November 22, 2009
Damn you, Cream Cheese Frosting!
Dear Tricia, So I tried to make a cream cheese frosting for a red velvet cake. But the icing I used was the consistency of glue and would not crust. I used 3lbs (3 f-ing pounds!!) of powdered sugar and it still would not thicken up! I can’t stand cream cheese frosting from the can, so do you know where I went wrong or have a good cream cheese icing recipe?
Damn, that is a lot of sugar. Sounds like you went wrong by adding that much. I know its weird to think that powdered sugar can make something runny because its starchy and dry, right? (Damn you, powdered sugar! You're so misleading!) But that's kind of how you get cream cheese frosting spreadable in the first place. Imagine taking a block of cream cheese, letting it come to room temperature, and then just trying to spread it on a cake. It wouldn't be soft enough to spread, even if you whipped it up in a mixer. The sugar is what helps it loosen up and get creamy and smooth enough to frost a cake without tearing it up into pieces.
In baking, there are 2 categories that any ingredient will fall under: stabilizers and liquifiers. Ingredients will only be one or the other... never both. Its like the Bloods and the Krips of ingredient classification. Flour and eggs are stabilizers; they give food their structure and stability. In my world, the stabilizers represent wear red gang colors, but that's neither here nor there. Water, and oddly enough, sugar, are liquifiers; they make things soft and runny. (Again, damn you powdered sugar with your false promises!) So when you add too much sugar, the icing will get too wet and gluey to use for your red velvet cake.
The good thing is, you don't have to throw out your frosting, you just have to add more cream cheese to get it back in balance. It might also help to put it in the refrigerator for a while first... sounds like its taken a real beating from you (and well deserved, I might add) and its probably warmed up too much by now.
I don't have a cream cheese frosting recipe I go by because I just throw a bunch of cream cheese in a bowl and eyeball how much powdered sugar I add because I prefer a thicker, less sweet cream cheese frosting. There seems to be a pretty standard ratio in most recipes though:
For every 8 oz package of cream cheese, use 1 stick of butter and 2 cups (about 9 oz) powdered sugar. Add vanilla to taste.
Back to my Wii...
Posted by Tricia Lewis, author at 11:54 AM