This is a recipe for a crusting cream cheese icing that I’ve seen floating around this site in the forums. People are constantly looking for it and it wasn’t in the recipes, so I thought I would post it. It’s not mine, Kathy Finholt from Iowa is the original creator.

Crusting Cream Cheese Icing


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 pounds sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


    Cream butter, shortening, cream cheese and extracts. Gradually add confectioner’s sugar and salt. Beat on low speed until nice and creamy. If you want whiter icing, try to use butter without dyes available at most health food stores.

  1. This recipe is for a stiff consistency. For a thinner consistency, use 3 pounds of powdered sugar instead.
  2. If you want a very smooth cake, let the cake sit for 15 minutes after icing. Then smooth with the non-printed side of a Viva paper towel.


Chickydie Says... 1 Sep 2009 , 5:42pm

Thank you for going to the trouble of posting the recipe, I want to know if I can use high ratio shortening instead of the vegetable shortening since it has a fatty not so good taste.


kellyhoffer Says... 8 Sep 2009 , 5:59am

Can anyone tell me if this is more stiff than the regular buttercream recipe. I want to icing a cake but not sure how stiff this will be...

klynne Says... 18 Sep 2009 , 11:42am

This icing is absolutely wonderful and FINALLY a cream cheese icing thats stiff enough to decorate with AND even has the same color as my buttercream. THANK YOU SOOO MUCH!!!

mykidscakemaker Says... 26 Sep 2009 , 11:30am

This is Perfect!!! The flavour is perfect, the consistency is easy to work with, the texture is lovely. Thank you so much for posting this!!

amynf1 Says... 20 Nov 2009 , 5:07pm

Great icing, best cr cheese icing I have ever tasted.

Bettycrockermommy Says... 22 Nov 2009 , 2:11pm

I have used this recipe many times, and I love it!!

KDSteach Says... 27 Dec 2009 , 9:04am

This recipe was a huge hit. I did add a teaspoon of meringe powder to make sure it would crust well enough to use a paper towel to smooth. It worked perfectly. Thanks for posting it!

LoriMc Says... 4 Jan 2010 , 7:06pm

Does this need to be refrigerated?

ChrisPA Says... 28 Jan 2010 , 5:19pm

I made this earlier today and totally forgot to add the shortening. Is there any way I can add it after the fact? I am testing this recipe for a cake I need to make next week and wanted to taste it with a red velvet cake that my customer wants.

HRVzD Says... 24 Feb 2010 , 7:16am

I highly recommend this icing! The flavor is amazing and it crusted so well. I used 3 cups of powdered sugar instead of 3.5 and it smoothed well and crusted perfectly. Thanks!!!

Aeropanda Says... 16 Mar 2010 , 6:47pm

was just wondering if someone can share approximately how many cups of icing this recipe yields. I have a wedding cake at the end of April, and the bride wants red velvet cake. This sounds like it would make a great fit.

Mrsnoodle Says... 20 Mar 2010 , 1:32pm

I just used this recipe and comfortably filled and frosted a 12" round cake and had a bit more than a cup left over.

I also added a few drops of orange oil and it was delicious!

jklcooper Says... 25 Mar 2010 , 5:40pm

Does anyone know if this icing needs to be refrigerated? Would it be okay to leave out overnight?

Aeropanda Says... 28 Mar 2010 , 6:11pm

Thanks Mrsnoodle! I also wonder if anyone has tried to paint designs like swirls on the side of a cake iced with this. I have a bride who picked out her cake and wants the clean sharp edges for a square cake,(not like the softer edges with the fondant covered cakes) but wants the painted swirls.

QueenDisney20 Says... 3 Apr 2010 , 3:45pm

Hi all!! Ok, I was looking at this recipe, and if anyone can please clarify for me. The recipe calls for 3.5 POUNDS of powdered sugar. That would equal to about 12.25 cups of sifted confectioner's sugar. Did the recipe mean 3.5 cups of powdered sugar? I want to make this frosting for an Easter cake and was wondering if someone can reply. Thanks so much!!! :)

ErikaK Says... 16 Apr 2010 , 8:48am

QueenDisney20- this is a bit late for you, I just now saw this post. Generally a lb. of powdered (or confectioner's) sugar is equal to 8 cups, so this recipe would need 28 cups for the 31/2 lbs of sugar. You can always make half of the recipe if it is too large of a batch for your cake. Hope this helps for the future! And edencakes- this is a wonderful recipe! I used it for my husband's birthday cake (a cake shaped like a woman's torso in an Atlanta Braves jersey) and using this recipe with the Viva method turned out beautifully! Thanks for sharing!

erinrouse Says... 29 Apr 2010 , 3:38am

actually 1lb of powdered sugar is equal to only 4 cups... not 8!

kathy164 Says... 7 May 2010 , 2:35pm

Hi. No one has answered the question, " DOES THIS NEED TO BE KEPT REFRIDGERATED?" Please let us know, and Thank you very much!! Have a wonderful day.

doc_farms Says... 18 May 2010 , 8:04pm

It can be left at room temperature for a few days, then refrigerated. HTH!

staten93 Says... 16 Jun 2010 , 9:48pm

Very yummy recipe and so easy to make. I thought it was easy to work with and my family really enjoyed it. Thanks for posting.

Jesa Says... 11 Jul 2010 , 11:21am

I halved this recipe and added a bag of melted milk chocolate chips (and a little heavy cream to offset the texture change with this chippies) and it was AWESOME. Joy and happiness at the thought of a new favorite icing!!

zespri Says... 6 Aug 2010 , 8:56pm

Has anyone tried using this in a piping bag? Or to make cupcake swirls? I'm also keen to know what the yield is, it looks like a lot of ingredients!

kenglish Says... 9 Aug 2010 , 6:02pm


JustGettinStarted Says... 23 Sep 2010 , 7:54am

Okay I've made this 2 times and both times it seems way too soft. yes, it does eventually crust and it tastes great, but left at room temperature it almost melts off my cakes. So, I was looking at SugarShack's blog and she has Kathy Finholt's CCC recipe and it is the same, but it says 6 oz. of cream cheese, not 16 oz. Maybe that's the difference. Anyone else have this problem?

Crraziegirl Says... 24 Sep 2010 , 5:11am

I just made my son's tipper truck cake with this icing, also decorated it using a fine writer on my piping bag ZESPRI so yes it can be cake isn't as professional looking as some of the others on here but didn't turn out too shabby....just need to work on my hand being steadier when doing the lines, lol. I also made some yellow rose cup cakes and they looked and tasted beautiful with this frosting on them.

Thank you so much for this recipe I have been wanting a nice crusting cream cheese icing as I love to bake cake with spices and it tastes so much better teamed with cream cheese.

Justgettinstarted, I used to have that problem with other cream cheese recipes but not this one. But then I crumb coated first and then came back after an hour and then coated the cake so maybe the time frame made the difference to the thickness of the frosting.

mickey35 Says... 24 Nov 2010 , 5:02am

I think I'd did something wrong because I've tried the icing and it was soft and did not crust. However it taste great!!!

wpowell4 Says... 27 Nov 2010 , 3:31pm

I am going to try this today for a wedding cake that I have this weekend. But I leave in Texas so I will add mergine powder

Wesha Says... 22 Dec 2010 , 8:01pm

I just made a carrot cake and will make this recipe and half it to see how it comes out...I need something that will crust over...stay tuned...

Wesha Says... 2 Jan 2011 , 9:41am

It turned out awesome. It crusted beautifully and the Viva paper towel smooth out all the small imperfections....This will be my go to receipe for cream cheese icing...

sccandwbfan Says... 6 Jan 2011 , 2:37pm

Thank you for posting this; it's a perfect compliment to the Italian Creme cake that I found on the web. It's awesome for anyone who is looking for a recipe.


Rosie2 Says... 2 Mar 2011 , 12:03pm

Does anyone knows if this icing freezes well?

Thank you !!

areinsbach Says... 3 Mar 2011 , 10:01am

Does this icing color well? Is it a white color or a cream color with no coloring added? Thanks! I am hoping this will work with fondant accents on top! :)

sugarshack725 Says... 31 Mar 2011 , 4:26pm

Definitely would like to try this recipe, but I need to know if it will color well. I need to make it pink and purple for an 8 yr old birthday. Thx!

chendra Says... 9 May 2011 , 12:52pm

Ok I have to ask...what is the VIVA paper towel method? Also, how much is a lb of cream cheese, block wise? Does this need to be refrigerated if I frosted the cake the night before I needed it?

pechee Says... 15 May 2011 , 3:47pm

I just made this one and the "Just Right" cream chees icing. I like the other one better. This one turns out whiter, but I dont like the taste with the shortening in it.

mitzi229 Says... 17 May 2011 , 10:30am

I also would love to know if I prepare the cake and cover with fondant the night before, should I refridgerate or can I leave it out overnight?

Aeropanda Says... 10 Jun 2011 , 6:05am

Hey, everyone! I have used this recipe on several wedding cakes, and was able to leave it out over night. The Viva paper towel method is when you allow the icing to crust, then use a Viva paper towel (because it is a smooth paper towel) to help smooth out the cake. I usually place it on the cake and use a fondant smoother. I've colored this icing several times and used it for piping on several cakes, and it has always worked well for me. I've never frozen this icing, but I have refrigerated it for a few days, and as long as I allowed it to soften before use, it's always worked beautifully. Hope this helps!

LoveConfections Says... 15 Jun 2011 , 6:55pm

How many oz would 1lb of the cream cheeze be??

jvsg1rl Says... 23 Jun 2011 , 4:12pm

Does anyone know how many cups/servings of icing this makes??

jewlsjahl Says... 7 Jul 2011 , 10:03pm

Thank you to the people who clarified that 1 lb of powdered sugar = 4 cups. This icing colors very well. I colored before adding the powdered sugar which made it alot easier. The color did darken a bit after adding sugar.

luvkin05 Says... 16 Jul 2011 , 6:35pm

Do you think I could use this for an outdoor wedding?? It's been 90 degrees here, I have a grooms cake that's red velvet and would like to use this but am not sure how it will hold up in hot weather.

BekkerG Says... 27 Jul 2011 , 10:00pm

I had the same problem some others have had of it being too creamy. My husband and I actually did not like the flavor...way too creamy....we were hoping it would be light like buttercream frosting just with a light cream cheese flavor. Maybe I'll try 6 oz instead of 16oz like someone else had said

CHORTON Says... 3 Aug 2011 , 6:56am

I loved the taste of this one, but I found it difficult to cover the cake because it was so soft/creamy. I even added a little more PS but it didn't seem to do anything except make it sweeter. Maybe I'll chill it for a bit and try it again to help the consistancy. Thanks for this did taste yummy!!!

evy84 Says... 4 Sep 2011 , 11:33am

This is a delicious recipe! It crusted beautifully!!!! I added one tsp of meringue powder only because another poster suggested it and I didn't have the time to risk it not crusting. It was delicious and I got rave reviews. Thank you so much!

cookiescookies Says... 28 Sep 2011 , 10:34am

Does anyone know if this icing works well under fondant? I will be assembling the cake 2 nights before the wedding and just want to make sure the frosting works well covered in fondant?

Darlene99 Says... 10 Oct 2011 , 11:41am

Don't know if anyone is still looking at this recipe much, but from the comments I've read, I think some may not be measuring correctly. The recipe calls for 3.5 lb. conf. sugar. This is a weight measurement; NOT volume. I would not sift and then measure; I would use 3 1/2 1lb. boxes (or equivalent) and THEN sift. You cannot measure a weight; you would have to use a scale. Also, I'm not trying to be a smarty, but do people not know that 16oz = 1 pound? Just saying...

tortapertutti Says... 13 Oct 2011 , 7:31pm

Just made this yesterday. Very yummy. Crusts beautifully! Although I did add 1T. of meringue powder (just to be sure). It's consistency does, however, fluctuate with temperature. In the fridge, it's hard as a rock. Sitting out today for a couple of hours on dining room table (semi-humid outside) it softened and dripped off of the cake. So to those of you wondering if it can sit out, I'd say, from a decorating standpoint, no.

Pearl645 Says... 4 Nov 2011 , 4:44am

Do you all find the cream cheese flavour is very strong? I was reading about another Cream cheese icing on CC and ppl loved it but said it needed more cream cheese for the flavour to come through. I have 200 mini red velvet cupcakes to decorate with this and wanted to know if the amount of cream cheese is sufficient for a full-bodied taste.

funtodecorate2 Says... 17 Dec 2011 , 9:35am

I've used this recipe 3 times now and love taste and it did crust. I live in oregon so don't have an issue with the weather . Either that I still don't know what I'm doing and don't know the difference LOL . I want to use this as a base under fondant but hoping someone else has tried this and can let me know if it works well. Someone please let me know if you've done this. thanks

BeeSweetBakeshoppe Says... 27 Dec 2011 , 6:44am

I'm using this for a wedding cake this weekend, but wanted to ask because I saw some comments on here...I'm worried about it getting too warm. What's the best way to use this? Should I frost my cake and then keep it in the fridge? I'm worried about this getting too warm and "dripping off the cake"!

ghasan887 Says... 4 Feb 2012 , 6:33am

Can you use this to crumb coat

mskaren72 Says... 9 Feb 2012 , 7:31pm

To BeeSweetBakeshoppe, I have used this recipe several times and it has always held its shape at room temp for days. It has never lost form but I would recommend refrigeration after a day to keep from spoiling. Also, if the cake will be outside or in the sun on a hot day, I would also reccomend to frost then refrigerate. But if prepared right, then this recipe will not drip off the cake. I hope my comment helps : )

Debbye27 Says... 26 Feb 2012 , 7:08pm

This recipe was awesome! It crusted so beautifully and tastes good too. I was worried about how thick it was when I added the powdered sugar, and almost added milk or cream but just let my mixer keep going and it turned out great- very easy to decorate with this icing - I gave it a 10!

wcakes369 Says... 27 Feb 2012 , 8:17am

1 pounds is 16 ounces which is equivalent to 2 cups.

Apple1950 Says... 29 Feb 2012 , 7:10am

I have halved this recipe: 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup Crisco, 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 7 cups (close to a 2 lb bag of 7 1/2 to 8 cups) of powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 Tablespoon merinigue powder (put in dry to mixture). You could use all CRISCO if you want a perfectly white icing and add 1 teaspoon of butter flavoring. This can sit out for several hours in not too warm temps.

Randysgirl777 Says... 28 Mar 2012 , 12:56pm

Was looking for a new creamed cheese to try with my blue velvet cupcakes n I can't wait to try this one. Thank you so much for sharing :)

otmama Says... 4 Apr 2012 , 11:42pm

If I am using this recipe to make a 3 tier wedding cake with filling, is it best to put the cake all together first (all 3 tiers) and then frost them? I'm concerned about it cracking on me if I frost the bottom tier, then place the next layer of cake on top of that and frost it, and so on. Thoughts?

bk111057 Says... 18 Apr 2012 , 5:27am

Does anyone know if u can make this icing chocolate? I have to find a chocolate cream cheese icing recipe that will crust over for a wedding cake. Do you know if there is a way to make this chocolate and still have it crust nicely for a wedding cake.

forjenns Says... 22 May 2012 , 1:37pm

I tried making this today and it turned out soupy. I suspect the rainy weather is a big part of the problem and I am not expecting the rain to go away before the weekend when I plan to serve my cake. I will say the flavor is awesome. I tried to add PS to thicken it up but it turned it pretty sweet and less cheesy. I will have to try this again on a dry day. I am still looking for a thick cream cheese icing that will hold up, I planned to used B/C to decorate with as I have a lot left over from my last project.

SChristison Says... 18 Sep 2012 , 11:15pm

I read through all of the comments before trying this and there were both good and bad reviews as well as several of the same question I had left unanswered and that was how this held up or could it be used under fondant. I decided to give this recipe a go and hope for the best because I needed something that wasn't too soft that I could use under fondant as well as on cupcakes that were going to be sitting outside before being served. Being a little cautious I decided to use hi ratio shortening in place of the shortening and the recipe worked out beautifully! It did seem really thick when I was mixing it which had me a little concerned (I used the full amount of powdered sugar) but it ended up being perfect. The cake and cupcakes sat out in 82 degree weather for about 45 minutes before being served and everything held up perfectly. I since have had test cupcakes sitting in my house at 76 degrees for 2 days (I just threw them away) and they never did lose their form. I had rave reviews on the taste as well (I don't like cream cheese so I went off of everyone else's opinions), I was told that there wasn't an overwhelming cream cheese taste that some were concerned about and that it was just perfect the way that it was. I hope this helps answer some of those unanswered questions! This will definitely be a recipe that will be kept in my recipe files!

Boop62054 Says... 27 Oct 2012 , 1:56pm

I made 6-1/2 dozen cupcakes and 2 batches of this icing. I was able to pipe 3 swirls high of icing and also made a rose on top of each and I had about 3 cups of icing leftover. I used a large star tip #829 to pipe with. I hope that helps to give you an idea of how much icing a double batch made. By the way, I did not alter the recipe and followed it is delicious and able to hold its shape nicely. It was a cool day, not humid...I think I would use meringue powder if it were humid.

prettycupcake Says... 4 Sep 2015 , 1:18pm

I followed the recipe just as is. I halved it since I didn't need need that much frosting (30 cupcakes) 1/2 of this recipe was just enough for 30 cupcakes.  It tasted GREAT! and crusted well!!

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