This maple cream cheese frosting is just right for cozy baking any time of year. It can be used anywhere you'd use standard cream cheese frosting but is particularly good with apple, pumpkin, and spiced desserts. Make sure to use real maple syrup!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Cream cheese: for frosting, always use the type that comes in a block form rather than the spreadable tub variety (spreadable cream cheese is too soft).
- Maple syrup: use real maple syrup, not imitation. The darker the syrup, the stronger the maple flavour will be – it should be labeled dark or very dark.
- Icing sugar: also called powdered or confectioner's sugar. Don't substitute granulated sugar.
- Salt: only add the salt if you're using unsalted butter for this recipe.
- Add-ins: try adding the zest of an orange or some cinnamon to the frosting!
Step 1: add the cream cheese and butter to a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: beat on high speed until fluffy and well mixed.
Step 3: add the maple syrup and vanilla, and beat again to combine. Taste at this point to check for sweetness.
Step 4: add the icing sugar and beat again, mixing until the sugar is fully incorporated.
- Don't use it for piping: this is a fairly thick frosting, but it does soften at room temperature, and will slump when it warms up. Any intricate piping won't show up well.
- Use room temperature ingredients: cold ingredients won't beat together properly, and you might end up with a split frosting due to the maple syrup. Wait for everything to come up to room temperature before starting.
- Sweeten to taste: you can leave the sugar out entirely - note that the frosting will be a little less stable - and should add as much as is needed for your taste. Start with half a cup and go from there.
If your maple syrup doesn't specify whether it's light or dark, you can check it yourself. Simply hold the bottle up to a bright light or window, and see how much light passes through it. For dark maple syrup, very little light should shine through the syrup. The grading system has changed recently so it's a little harder to know what's what, but any real maple syrup will taste good here!
Check to see if the frosting is ready by rubbing a little between your fingers. If it feels grainy, it needs more mixing to dissolve the sugar fully.
Keep in mind that anything you top with the frosting will have to be refrigerated unless it's being served right away, since it's made with cheese.
How to Store
Storage: keep the frosting in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. It can be made ahead and stored the same way, then brought up to room temperature before frosting your cake or other dessert.
Freezing: transfer the frosting to an airtight container and push any excess air out. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw in the fridge. You may need to give it a quick mix again before using.
Does cream cheese frosting need to be refrigerated?
It does, as well as anything that you've frosted with it. It can be left out for about an hour when serving and eating, but any longer and it should be kept in the fridge.
Is there a difference between cream cheese icing and cream cheese frosting?
While the terms are often used interchangeably, an icing is more like a glaze – think dip-able, rather than spreadable. Frosting is stiffer and holds its shape, like a buttercream.
Why is dark maple syrup better?
It's not better, necessarily, but has a stronger maple flavour. It depends what you're using it for. If you want to flavour something, darker is better. For pancakes, you may prefer a lighter maple syrup.
If you make this Maple Syrup Cheese Frosting recipe or any other frosting recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- Mixing bowl
- Electric mixer
- 8 oz. full fat cream cheese in block form, room temperature
- ¼ cup salted butter room temperature
- ¼ cup real maple syrup*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or ¼ teaspoon vanilla powder
- ½ cup icing sugar to taste, up to 1 cup
- Add the cream cheese and butter to a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of your standing mixer). Beat on high speed until light and fluffy.8 oz. full fat cream cheese, ¼ cup salted butter
- Add the maple syrup and vanilla, and beat again to combine. Taste for sweetness.¼ cup real maple syrup*, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add ½ cup of icing sugar and beat for 2-3 minutes, or until dissolved. Taste the frosting now and add up to ½ cup more sugar if you feel it isn't sweet enough, and beat again.½ cup icing sugar
- Use the frosting immediately, or refrigerate up to 4 days.