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Cream Cheese Icing - how long unrefrigerated?

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Whenever I make cream cheese icing for cupcakes, I never know how long it's safe to leave this out on the counter.
If I refrigerate it, the icing gets hard plus it's hard to cram all these cupcakes in there.
Any ideas?

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  1. I've left them out overnight before and lived to tell about it.

    1. I'm in NJ so the humidity & summer heat would prevent me from leaving cream cheese out. How about frosting your cupcakes right before serving to avoid the hardening?

      2 Replies
      1. re: HillJ

        I'm in San Francisco and most of the time, the summer is quite cool here. In fact, the other night I had to turn on the heat, believe it or not.

        1. re: walker

          Lucky you walker! This week was quite hot & humid in NJ and I wasn't able to leave anything out on the counter (let alone cream cheese).

      2. I've left out frosted cupcakes for days with no ill effects. In my experience, the cake will get stale before the frosting goes off, cream cheese or butter-based.