I am making a red velvet cake for a friend's birthday. It is a carved cake and will have fondant over it, so it will not be able to be refrigerated. I am planning to ice and carve on Friday and it will be served Saturday night. I had heard that cream cheese icing would spoil if left out, but then I started hearing it could be ok. I obviously don't want to get anyone sick, so I can use plain buttercream, but cream cheese would taste so much better with the red velvet. Does anyone know the answer to this? It also seems that some recipes are stable and others aren't. What is the difference?
Anything cheese or cream related MUST be refrigerated, no matter what the recipe calls for. There are some shelf stable fillings you can get at cake decorating stores that don't require refrigeration and are housed in plastic sleeves. But they don't contain real cheese, just a flavoring. What about using instant cream cheese pudding with a non-dairy creamer. Try it out. Delish and no refrigeration needed.
Check Erlene Moore's site. It IS possible to use cream cheese in an icing that does not need refrigeration. It's all about the ratio of cream cheese to sugar to water. The sugar binds the water so that it's not available for bacterial growth.
The other option is to refrigerate your cake. From what I read you can put fondant in the fridge, just keep it covered as it warms up so the condensation is on the wrapping, not the cake. And don't touch it if it is damp or your finger will leave a mark. Do a little search and you will find some threads on how to refrigerate you fondant covered cake.