How to learn from your mistakes: Cream Cheese Icing & not so Curly Whirly Cake

Friday, 26 October 2012

I think there’s something in the oven/Kenwood. This time round, I’m tackling something else that has gone horribly wrong…cream cheese *sulk* icing. It goes without saying that when you make one mistake, you put it under the carpet and carry on trying. But when you make a second, (cringe shields at the ready) feelings of self-doubt start to pave their way in.

I definitely thought about avoiding this post altogether, but then I thought about how many times I haven’t been satisfied with my cream cheese icing, so it was inevitable…I just had to learn from my mistakes. The icing was poured atop the all-London Curly Whirly Cake made from a Konditor & Cook recipe found here, the picture of the cake is what I aimed for…Decoration wasn’t even an option after this disaster went down! But try not to be fooled, the cake was densely satisfying!
I’ve wrote about some of the things I think will help you not to achieve this big, runny, gloopy mess. Here we go (again):
Straining
Its absolutely necessary to strain your packets of cream cheese before you add it to the mixing bowl because extra fluid will contribute to a runny mess. Get rid of all that curdled juice by dangling the packet over the sink, your cream cheese is solid at this point (and hopefully will stay that way) so you don’t have to worry about it falling out of the packet!

Above Room Temperature 
There is no baking rule that your cream cheese has to be at room temperature, do not treat it like you would butter and eggs. As long as it’s not straight out of the fridge, you won’t have a problem like I did. Let the packets rest at a room temperature for a maximum of ten minutes.

Beating 
Now, the recipe I used instructed that I melted the butter and added it to my already whipped cream cheese and icing sugar. Naturally, you’re going to assume that that’s where I went wrong, right? Wrong. The cream cheese had already loosened into a form of gloppy-ness before I added the butter! This is because I mixed the cream cheese and icing for too long at too high a speed. You can avoid over beating by whipping room temperature butter and all of the icing sugar until pale and fluffy, and then adding the cream cheese. This will give you a thick cream cheese, but one with a dominant buttery flavour which isn’t very nice, so to avoid this altogether take a look at my next pointer.

Meringue powder 
Forget for a moment that meringue powder adds a crusting quality to your icing and listen up. Adding 2 tbsp. to 1 batch works chemical wonders into your icing, it will give it pipe-able and spreadable stability. Also, the great thing about this cheesy trick is that it won't give off any bad flavours either, it will simply stop your cream cheese icing from looking like mine does, which none of you want, surely!

Whipped cream 
Another great tip which I’ve yet to try yet is adding whipped cream to your cream cheese. This not only gives height, fluffiness and stability to your icing, but also, I think, would give a better flavour! Whip some double cream together and simply fold it into your icing. Also, if you don’t want to regurgitate a rainbow - remove 1 tsp vanilla extract from your recipe and replace with 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, this will also keep your icing from having an off-white look. 
Love Em xx

12 comments:

  1. Great post and some great tips! Going to try them out as I always have trouble with icing too!

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    1. thanks kat, let me know how it goes :)

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  2. Great tips. I've had my fair share of cream cheese icing and now just stick to good ol buttercream or butter icing x

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    1. i know how you feel, but it just never tastes as good as cream cheese!

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  3. Oh no poor cream cheese icing! Your cake looks deliciously dense and fudgy though. Never heard of adding meringue powder to the icing, cool tip. I've not had much bother with cream cheese icing (so far, touch wood) but tend to follow the Hummingbird Bakery method of mixing the butter and icing sugar together for 5 minutes before adding the cream cheese and not over mixing it.

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    1. thanks jo. yes you should deffo try adding some, it gives real stability. dont you find that the hummingbird recipe is oh so too sweet?

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  4. Great post, I'll definitely have to remember the overwhipping advice! I've only made cream cheese icing a few times and I remember it being a little runny once before.

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    1. really! what do you use as your frosting recipe then? theres such a fine
      line between overwhipping and not overwhipping, its crazy!

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  5. Hi! Thanks for your post. I've been searching the web for different tips to make my cream cheese frosting stiff. Your tips are very helpful.

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    1. That's okay! im glad this post is of use to you!

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  6. No need for meringue powder or whipped cream. Just pop the cream cheese icing in the fridge until it's the consistency you want. Worked a treat for me!

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  7. 2 bricks cream cheese, 1 stick butter, 8 oz weigh it powdered sugar, 2 tsp vanilla and as our friend suggested, 2 TBSP Meringue Powder...best cream cheese frosting ever. Beat soft butter with sugar, add cream cheese that has been out for about 8 minutes, still cold to touch, beat on low, add vanilla and finish with meringue powder...perfect. YUMMY!

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