HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Why does my cream cheese frosting always go runny?

I am in the uk and despite being a competent baker, I cannot make make cream cheese frosting that doesn't turn into a gloopy, runny, un-pipable mess.

I nearly always end up pouring it over my layer cakes and letting it drip down the sides.

Can you tell me the exact components of american powdered sugar? ours is pure sugar with anti caking agent, I think american p. sugar has cornflour in it, is there anything else?

Just maddened by this today! Hope someone can help me solve the problem.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. How are you making it? Recipe?

    9 Replies
    1. re: chowser

      Doesn't seem to matter which recipe, I have tried with mostly cream cheese and a little butter beaten together, and I've tried half butter half cream cheese, and as soon as I add the icing sugar, it becomes impossible to work with.

      Do you think that american philly is different to uk philly cream cheese?

      Today I used this recipe - the cake was excellent btw!
      http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/appl...

      1. re: kookiegoddess

        Cream cheese icing is not be something you can pipe, imo. What you describe is what I always get with cream cheese frosting, soft and somewhat flowing; it's the nature of the beast. IIRC, the cream cheese in the UK is very similar to what we have in the States. The recipe you used also contained chevre, was there an improvement in the texture of the icing with that? I can't imagine there would be, as fresh chevre is a soft cheese, just an improvement in taste.

        Cream cheese icing is just not a firm, pipable icing, like a buttercream. I know this from experience, as I tried to pipe it onto a wedding cake one time, back in my youth; no good, bad idea. It doesn't ice well on layer cake sides either, and tends to slide downward. Chilling it before icing might help for icing cupcakes or a sheet cake, but the cream cheese/butter/sugar combo is softer than cream cheese alone. The cornstarch in the powdered (icing) sugar is not the issue. The issue is the sugar, it's hydroscopic, attracts water molecules and tends to melt when it comes in contact with moisture; that would be, the moisture in the cream cheese. Powdered sugar doesn't melt as much as granulated, but you'll always have soft icing. You can't really make a good cream cheese icing without the sugar as a sweetener, though. I suggest trying another icing if you want to pipe.

        American powdered (icing) sugar does indeed have cornstarch (cornflour) in it, although it's a very small percentage and functions as an anti-caking agent. From my box of Domino powdered sugar, "contains sugar and cornstarch."

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          If you cut back the sugar, cream cheese icing is not only pipeable, but in my opinion tastier (doesn't just taste like sugar). I throw in a wee bit of butter and salt, and whatever flavoring is appropriate. I use 1 c. sugar per one block cream cheese, and have had success using it on 3-D cakes that have traveled up to 1 hour by car.

          1. re: maxie

            I respect other opinions and experience but, from my experience I have found the icing to be unstable when placed on sides of cake layers or when used to pipe. I also have traveled with cream cheese iced cakes and didn't have a icing melting problem, but it's just not the best choice for finer, crisp, well defined piping without aggravation, imo. If you use too high ratio of butter to cream cheese to stiffen the icing, it will have a greasy mouth feel.

            Rose Levy Berunbaum, in the Cake Bible, has a formula for a white chocolate cream cheese icing and I stablized with whipped cream, it was highly pipeable, good for leaves, roses, etc. It doesn't have much of a white chocolate flavor, either.

            The OP used a recipe of 9 oz combined cream cheese and chevre, very little butter and one cup of sugar. I use a base recipe of 16 oz cream cheese, 8 oz butter and one cup of sugar, with flavoring. Here's a recipe link that claims it's good for piping, and contains an extraordinary amount of sugar:

            http://cooksdream.com/recipes/icing/C...

            Perhaps the OP is buying "whipped" cream cheese, as we have it in the US, in the tub, which would be too soft. I'm not sure if cream cheese is sold in blocks in the UK.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              That's the same recipe as the one I posted below. It has a pound of butter/cream cheese for the 2 cups of powdered sugar (vs 9 oz of cheese/cream/butter to 1 cup of sugar in the OP's recipe) so it isn't a higher ratio of fats to sugar. I think of cream cheese frosting as similar to american buttercream, only with cream cheese in place of some of the butter. I find both on the sweet side but have never felt a greasy mouthfeel from American buttercream, unless it uses shortening. Butter melts in my mouth. But, both pipe the same, possibly a bit more creamy w/ the cream cheese but roses, scrolls, etc. are the same. Refrigerating helps somewhat, if it gets soft.

              I do think the OP using a tub of cream cheese makes a difference. Even the non-whipped tub is too soft for frosting.

              1. re: chowser

                I don't even find American buttercreams to be so great for fine piping, plus they're usually too sweet. I stick with an Italian or Swiss buttercream for the best results.

                I was just generally commenting that the greasy mouthfeel thing will happen if the ratio is not balanced and contains too much butter or heaven forbid, vegetable shortening. I didn't think the OP's recipe had nowhere near enough butter, actually, otherwise our recipes are propotionately similar to the OP's, given the amounts of cream cheese and sugar. I think he/she should consider a different cream cheese icing recipe or another type of icing all together. Just my opinion.

              2. re: bushwickgirl

                I do agree that it really isn't good for flowers and detailed piping, but you can get out some nice basic stuff with it. The one I use has 8 oz. cream cheese, 1 stick butter, tsp vanilla, and 4 cups powdered sugar. It stays nice and stiff all day with no refrigeration.

            2. re: bushwickgirl

              It is kind of sweet, but works well for transporting and holding its shape.

            3. re: kookiegoddess

              I think it depends on the recipe. Even the picture in the one you posted looks runny. I've piped cream cheese frosting, made leaves/ roses, etc. but you need a higher ratio of butter. The basic one I use is along these lines:

              http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cream-ch...

              You can tell in the picture that it's stiff and pipeable. You want the butter and cream cheese to sit about half an hour at room temperature but not too long. If it's too warm, you can refrigerate it to firm it up. Also, as maxie said, you want cream cheese in a block, not in a tub. That'll probably make a big difference.

          2. I always bring cheese and butter to room temp and beat well.

            1. I think the cream cheese is somewhat different in UK. It should be thick and not runny before you add any thing. I think you want to use what you call icing sugar. I believe it is the same as what we call powdered sugar.
              Also as recipe says the cake must be cool. I could see this happening if your cc had a consistency of our sour cream or a double cream in UK.

              2 Replies
              1. re: celeryroot

                Cream cheese comes in a tub and is firm like butter (not as hard as tho) when you get it out of the fridge. the mixture is usually thick and spreadable before I add the sugar. Cakes were totally cooled.

                I am concerned with the change in texture as soon as I add the icing sugar.

                1. re: kookiegoddess

                  I pipe mine , sometimes I put in bag and refridgerate for a short time. Also low fat does not work well and is much softer. Dont overbeat .

              2. I am not familiar with the UK cream cheese, but in the US I would always choose block over tub. If the tub is "spreadable" it likely has more water in it. You might also try cutting back on the sugar.

                1. I've had this problem, but I think I've come to a solution: first, I always use cream cheese AND butter. Usually a 2:1 cream cheese/butter ratio. It's important to have the butter at room temperature and the cream cheese not too cold, but not quite room temperature.

                  First, I cream the butter *well* (no cream cheese yet) and add some of the sugar. THEN I add the cream cheese and the rest of the sugar.

                  Too, while it makes for a pretty sweet frosting, I find the more sugar (powdered) the better to hold its shape.

                  Still softer than buttercream w/o cream cheese. But better and definitely pipeable.
                  Hope that works...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: jayaymeye

                    ok thanks for all these posts - but I am sure there must be a way to make pipeable cc frosting!!! I recently bought a cupcake from a shop near me and the frosting on it had been piped with a large star tip and it was light, fluffy, not unbearably sweet and you could still taste the cream cheese.

                    I have some royal icing sugar ( for making the icing for wedding cakes that sets very hard) and I have some fondant icing sugar (which sets lightly) - if I made it with either of these, do you think it would be firmer?

                    1. re: kookiegoddess

                      i think if you try the recipe link that chowser posted above, which is the same formula I use. You can get a reasonably good piping result with a large star tube, as is shown in the recipe link photo, if the icing is at a proper temperature, not warm. It won't be good for fine piping, but I already said that a few times... good for cupcakes or sheet cakes.

                      Royal icing sugar and fondant sugar in the US is powdered (icing sugar-UK) sugar. We refer to it alternately as powdered, confectioner's or 10-X sugar; this is the one you want for a nice smooth texture. So yes, you can use that sugar. I'm not clear whether the sugars you have for royal icing and fondant are different, but the powdered sugar is the one to chose.

                      Good luck with this, I hope it works out for you. Please post your results!

                    2. re: jayaymeye

                      I agree with the 2:1 ratio. I also find that more sugar is the key to a stiff and pipeable icing. Yes, it's sweet, but not overly so.

                    3. I don't think it's possible to make cream cheese icing that's not gloppy, runny, un-workable, etc. It's just the nature of cc frosting. Even if you use part butter, you're going to get part-gloppy frosting.

                      Maybe if you really love the taste, you could make a half recipe cc frosting, do the layers and maybe a super-thin crumb coat, and then in the same bowl make a 1/2 recipe of all butter frosting to do the outside.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: danna

                        Adding more sugar will give you a great stiff frosting that is very fluffy and never runny or gloppy. Again, it's not as rich as a lower sugar cream cheese frosting and is pretty sweet. I'm not sure you could pipe a low sugar cream rich tasting cheese frosting and have it hold at room temp.

                      2. To answer your basic question: American powdered sugar is finely grounded granulated with 3% cornstarch added to prevent caking (no other mystery ingredients). Since what you are using is pure sugar with anti-caking agent, it is probably the equivalent. The standard version of cream cheese frosting that I use is one of the easiest frosting I know and has always worked:
                        1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
                        2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
                        1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
                        1 cup sifted powdered sugar.
                        Beat cream cheese and butter together in a electric mixture until light and smooth. Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, beat in the powdered sugar until everything is well combined.
                        The frosting is soft but definitely not runny and not pourable. It is easier to use if the cake is cold or put the frosting in the refrigerator to firm up a bit. That will help for piping. Make sure it it doesn't get to firm. Since cream cheese frosting is generally used on heavier cakes such as poppyseed, carrot, buttercakes, cupcakes; I generally frost the cake strict from the freezer.
                        Bushwickgirl gave a great chemical process why there can be a problem when sugar and the moisture in the cream cheese come together. It is similar when one sprinkle powdered sugar on top of lemon bars; let them sit for an hour and the powdered sugar melts and disappears.

                        1. I asked this same question to a large chain grocery's bakery once after fighting with whipped cream and CC frosting. I was told that they have access to stabilizers and emulsifiers that are added to the frosting to make it fluffy and stiff enough to pipe - these can include powdered egg whites, gelatin, guar gum, carob bean, etc. Soooo, unless you can get your hands on some of that, it probably won't turn out exactly like what you get from bakeries. Good luck.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: karrill

                            Whipped cream stailized with gelatin or cornstarch folded into the cream cheese icing is one option. Powdered egg white or meringue powder is another.

                            1. re: karrill

                              That seems so complicated. I never have to add anything weird and get great frosting, again by adding more powdered sugar. The one cup that everyone seems to be using isn't nearly enough for a pipeable room temp stable fluffy frosting. The powder sugar is what gives it volume, fluff and stiffness. I have a bowl of cream cheese frosting that has been sitting on my counter all night (won't be eating it) that I could bag and pipe right now.

                              Trying different recipes is the key to finding something that works. For me the ratios that work are:

                              2:1 cream cheese to butter
                              4 x as much powdered sugar as cream cheese (in cup measurements not weight)
                              a nice splash of vanilla.

                            2. I've only ever made cream cheese frosting once, but it was delicious and definitely stiff enough to pipe; kept its shape fairly well even after hours at room temperature... certainly never got anywhere near "runny" although it did soften a tad.

                              170g cream cheese (brick! No tub! Nothing with the word "spread" on the container)
                              140g butter
                              455g icing sugar
                              5ml vanilla

                              Cream butter and cheese until fluffy; gradually add sugar and vanilla, starting at low speed (if using a mixer) then crank it up to med-high until it gains volume and lightens in colour.
                              Ta da!

                              Very sweet, obviously, so not something that you really want to load up on -- a little goes a long way -- but really, really good stuff, and no nasty aftertaste. Don't reduce the sugar, even though it seems like a huge amount... it's crucial to the texture.

                              1. Piping cream cheese icing is doable, but maxie is correct, you have to cut back on the sugar and chill it first. There is however a way to mix it using more sugar but it requires a high speed mixer that does not overheat the motor and leave you waiting on the motor to cool down to run the mixer again all the while your frosting is turning to a liquid. You won't find a mixer like this at walmart. If you happen to own TWO mixers however, you can cheat and run one at max speed till it cuts out then place the mixing bowl in the other mixer and do the same thing. It is usually thick enough by the time the second mixer cuts out. Several grocery store baker's use this trick to avoid spending the big money on a full duty high speed mixer. Another issue encountered by many would be cake makers in a home kitchen is room temperature. If its 90 deg in your kitchen you will never make a pipable iceing =) Ideally you want room temperature to be under 70 deg. The colder the better.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: vintagechef

                                  ok my kitchen is really warm so will next time try and use softened but still cool ingredients.
                                  I think that the way to get a pipable result is to use fondant sugar which contains a bit of glucose. I also have some egg white powder so maybe this will help also. I imagine that this is what the commercial places do as that cupcake I tried had frosting that was definitely fluffy on the inside but had "set" into its piped shape like a magnolia bakery cupcake.

                                  In england philly cr cheese only comes in tubs. Does anyone know if the cream cheese in blocks is actually different to what you get in tubs in the US?

                                  When you let the cr. cheese come to room temp, as I normally do, it brings more of the moisture to the surface so next time I will drain off as much of this liquid as poss.

                                  Finally, I have read about another icing which uses Mascarpone and Fromage Frais - it may be that these components will withstand the addition of sugar better than the cream cheese. This recipe is far less sweet than an american recipe, but it comes from the english version of Ina Garten, our very own Delia Smith! Usually her recipes are fail proof.

                                  Glad I raised the question as it was really interesting to get all your responses!

                                  1. re: kookiegoddess

                                    The Philly that's sold here n the US in blocks is the firm style used for cream cheese icing and cheesecakes. The Philly in the tubs here is usually whipped, flavored in some manner, or low fat versions, not good for icing. I wonder if the UK version of cream cheese is as solid and thick as it is here...can't remember from when I was there, but maybe that's the issue.

                                    I think the fondant sugar should work and try adding a bit of egg white powder. If you have a moment, could you post an adapted or paraphased version the Delia Smith recipe, I'l love to see it.

                                    Good luck with your endeavor.

                                    Yes, it has been an interesting thread, and it's probably not over yet. Makes me wanna make some carrot cake muffins!

                                    1. re: kookiegoddess

                                      Can you post the recipe for the mascarpone and fromage frais? That sounds really good. I don't know that they'd stand up better to piping than American cream cheese, though.

                                      If your kitchen is warm, that will also be a problem. Have you tried refrigerating the frosting first?

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        refrigerating doesn't make much difference, just means the icing is less likely to spread but definitely still not pipable.

                                        the Delia recipe is here:
                                        http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/cu...

                                        Have tried chilling the icing, it firms up a little but is nothing like a buttercream.

                                        1. re: kookiegoddess

                                          That sounds great--not overly sweet so you could probably taste the mascarpone that much better. Thanks!

                                          1. re: kookiegoddess

                                            Another thing to think about that I have not seen mentioned here is what size mixing bowl are you using? I have seen simple using a smaller bowl fix the problem or that someone's mixer only came with a large bowl where just the tips of the mixer came into contact with the icing. Using the correct size mixing bowl vs. batch size alone can make the difference between sucess and failure.

                                      2. re: vintagechef

                                        Wow. Mascarpone in the icing sounds amazing!!!Not something I would have thought of, but I'll be trying it on my next Italian Cream cake.

                                      3. The cream cheese icing recipe that comes along with this Great Canadian Heinz Ketchup Cake is the most amazing cream cheese icing I've ever tasted. And it's definitely pipable.

                                        http://www.heinzitup.com/view_recipe....

                                        I know the cake sounds rather unconventional because of the ketchup in the ingredient list, but the cake itself is also amazing. It is a moist, delicious spice cake. Definitely would recommend making the cake AND the icing.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Hassley

                                          4 cups of powdered sugar to 6 oz of cream cheese and 3/4 cup of butter, that will make one sugary sweet frosting.

                                        2. I often have this problem too, or rather had.

                                          Firstly the counterintuitive key thing to remember is that actually the more icing sugar you add, the runnier the icing gets! It's best to use as little icing sugar as possible, just enough to give a little touch of sweetness, but not enough to make the stuff runny. (The icing sugar dissolves into the cream cheese, I think, which is why it has this effect). This also, IMO, makes for a much tastier icing. It allows for the tanginess of the cream cheese to shine through!

                                          When I worked at a café we eyeballed our cream cheese icing, and we had industrial sized tubs of cream cheese, but I'd guess that our proportions were something like 2 1/2 packs of cream cheese to 2 very big rounded servingspoons worth of icing sugar to ice the TOP ONLY of a 14" cake, oh, and two teaspoons of vanilla extract.

                                          Method: using stand or handheld mixer, beat cream cheese VERY briefly to get it smooth, add icing sugar and vanilla and beat briefly again to combine. You should have a lovely smooth, quite thick, and nicely glossy mix. It would probably have been fine to use there and then, on a cooled cake of course, but because of our schedule we'd always refrigerate it overnight, so perhaps it's worth trying that too, and then leave it out for 30 mins before using.

                                          Only ever use full fat Philly, and you should be fine!

                                          However, I don't believe you can possible make cc icing at a pipable, very thick consistency that well 'set' without adding other things to it, for example, egg white powder, or other more artificial stabilisers. This may be what the bakery you mention does. It is simply a question of melting point. Cream cheese has a much lower melting point than butter and is therefore never going to give as stable an icing. Futhermore, because it is significantly lower in fat than butter (although still not precisely a diet food!) it contains much more WATER than butter. It's this water that the cream cheese dissolves into, making for a much runnier frosting (think of the result when you just add icing sugar to water - while cream cheese isn't this watery of course, it's a similar thing that's happening.)

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: chochotte

                                            Chochotte, thanks so much for this post, really interesting! I really prefer a less sweet icing and will bear yr tips in mind next time I make it.

                                            1. re: chochotte

                                              The key here is not over whipping the cream cheese. I make and use CCfrosting fairly often and it is pipable.

                                              1. re: chochotte

                                                Thanks...HUGE help! I'll look for more of your postings

                                              2. I'm not a real baking expert but I always thought that cream cheese frosting was too sweet. Most recipes have a pound of powdered sugar in it. That is sweet.

                                                If you are having trouble piping it, why not make it with more butter therefore acting a little bit more like buttercream and then I would recommend a whole lot less sugar.

                                                With the added butter it will firm up nicely especially after 10 minutes in the refrigerator.

                                                1. Speaking of runny frosting: if anyone ever wondered if you could save a few calories and sub "light" butter for regular butter in frosting...well , you can't.

                                                  It looks fine when you make it, and pipes reasonably well....but then it just smooths itself out and becomes more and more runny, eventually starting to slide down the sides of the cake. blah.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: danna

                                                    Definitely - same with 'light' cream cheese. Reduced fat dairy products just have extra water and air added to them, reducing their stability. The added artificial stabilisers can compensate for that while the product is being used for spreading etc. but not for making frostings.

                                                    1. re: chochotte

                                                      yep. my mistake was that I had used the light butter in the past for putting a thin layer of flavored frosting (mint or espresso) on top of brownies. It works pretty well for that application but not for frosting that has to go vertical ;-)

                                                    2. re: danna

                                                      Yes! I followed a Cooking Light recipe for a yellow cake w/ cream cheese frosting and it was terrible. I'll use full fat and eat less.

                                                      1. re: danna

                                                        With all the sugar in frosting, does it really matter how many calories you save using light butter?

                                                        1. re: tonka11_99

                                                          Of course! Every calorie counts. But if your question is "is it worth it?", then that's gonna depend. I'll certainly never try to frost a cake w/ it again (btw, I used 1/2 regular butter and 1/2 light and it STILL messed it up) But the small pats I set out w/ the bread worked fine when my (heart patient) Dad smeared it on his bread.

                                                      2. I've found a solution!!!!

                                                        Found this link this evening while looking at cream cheese frosting recipes on blogs.

                                                        http://nightbaking.blogspot.com/2009/...

                                                        I was shopping for cream cheese today as I have a cake to do tmw and I had an instinct that maybe the cream cheese would hold up better cold, but I wasn't sure how. This is the answer!!!

                                                        Very excited to try the method tmw. Will post and let you know how it goes.

                                                        Really hope I get to do a victory dance around my kitchen....

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: kookiegoddess

                                                          I've always put it back into the fridge after blending and before frosting, and wah lah, no drips, no runs, no errors.

                                                          Good luck with yours!

                                                          1. re: kookiegoddess

                                                            Kookie... what was the result?? I'm having your exact issue and I'm wanting to eliminate everything that definitely doesn't work before I start on all my solution (provided by Google) you never posted your results, so what were they :) ?

                                                            1. re: theblahmunchkin

                                                              I beat room-temp cream cheese with a little butter, then fold in some marshmallow fluff, until it's sweet enough. Never measured how much. This makes a fluffy, stable frosting.

                                                              1. re: theblahmunchkin

                                                                I can confirm that using the food processor result does work! 5tbs butter, 2 pks cream cheese, and 2 cups of powdered sugar. I blended the sugar and butter till they were completely combined then added the c cheese. you do need to scrape the bowl down well to make sure all the cream cheese is incorporated. Makes about 2 cups of icing, that covers one 9x13 cake. I would have mine a little less sweet, personally. I also added the juice of half a lime at the end just to lift it and had no problems. Good luck with yrs!

                                                                1. re: kookiegoddess

                                                                  To be clear, the method I'm referring to uses butter at room temp but COLD cream cheese. This gives a thicker, more swirlable result than the usual method of starting with all ingredients at room temp.

                                                              2. re: kookiegoddess

                                                                yes, over-beating is to be avoided. leave the electric mixer in the cupboard. let the butter and cream cheese reach room temp, start to blend them with a spoon or spatula, and add the sugar as you go along. leave out vanilla until you've done it successfully a few times without it. good luck!

                                                              3. I have solved this. (live in the UK) Go and buy some unsalted butter and philadelphia cheese, a box of icing sugar and the magic ingredient; cornflour. British cream cheese labeled 'soft cheese' has a lot more water in it than the US stuff. When you take the lid off, the water is pooling on top of it. Mix up 2 heaped desert spoons of cream cheese, with one spoon of room temp butter. The cream cheese will quickly lose its consistency and turn into liquid. Keep going. When the butter is dissolved, add a quarter to a half teaspoon of cornflour and watch it suddenly turn into paste. Now tip in half a box (yes you read that right) of icing sugar. It will be hard to blend to begin with, and have the consistency of cement. You can now add other liquids, such as vanilla extract or lemon juice. Now carefully add more cream cheese slowly until the mixture is just as you need it. If you add icing sugar to an already wet mix, it just makes more wet mix. The secret is to remove the moisture percentage early on, then add cream cheese to a slightly over dry mix.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: RobJ66

                                                                  I wonder if you could drain it in cheese cloth overnight to get rid of some of that water.

                                                                  1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                    I'm a bit baffled by some of the replies to my posting: if people want to add more and more sugar, why not just make a plain butter icing and leave out the cheese?
                                                                    Having once had a comnpletely successful cream cheese frosting using the recipe I gave above, I then, using 2 different recipes, twice had a gloopy mess that had to be poured down the sink. So I checked out that first recipe yesterday and once again had complete success. Please try it. The principle is that when sugar & the cheese come together, the sugar takes on the water in the cheese - instant gloop. When you mix the sugar withg the butter first it's incorporated into the greasy butter so can't take on any water. Please try it - you won't be disappointed. It may be necessary to put a bit more sugar in so it can be piped, but mix it with the butter FIRST.

                                                                2. Hi there - I don't know whether you ever got to the bottom of your problem, but here are my thoughts. Firstly don't use any lowfat products (cream cheese or butter). You need the fat content to keep the mixture stable. Finally don't mix by hand, use a hand held mixer and whisk the ingredients it will then turn into a thick buttercream. If you beat mixture by hand it does go extremely runny like paste (glue). Using a mixer helps add air into the ingredients and thorough mixes the butter with the icing sugar and stabilizes it. I do hope this is of help. (im from the UK and there should be no difference between your ingredients and ours - just make sure they are full fat)

                                                                  1. Use more butter than the recipe calls for, my recipe only called for 2 tablespoons, I had to use twice the butter and once I added the extra butter the frosting began to hold much better

                                                                    1. This is the ultimate answer: Mix the butter & sugar FIRST; then add the cream cheese. That way the sugar is in the butter and can't take water out of the cheese. My successfull recipe is:
                                                                      125 g butter
                                                                      50g icing sugar
                                                                      250g cream cheese.
                                                                      You can, of course, adapt quantities#
                                                                      HAPPY FROSTING!

                                                                      1. Have you ever tried adding a bit of instant pudding to the mix. I have found that it helps hold the shape better while still keeping the frosting fairly light. another alternative I have found is to added a melted white chocolate to the mix as well. The white chocolate does make the frosting heavier so the frosting is not as fluffy. I have found that both ideas work well especially when transporting my cakes and cupcakes long distances. It also helps to chill the icing before piping.

                                                                        1. Hey! So I know this was asked a while ago, but I just came across this with the same (ish) problem, and I found a solution so thought I would post.

                                                                          I am in a little village in the Czech Republic (so without actual cream cheese) and decided to sub tvaroh, a thick farmers cheese, into my cream cheese frosting . WELL it totally turned to gloop. To fix it, I got a pack of plain vanilla instant powder and beat it in, which made it super thick, and so I had to even it out by adding another tub of tvaroh.

                                                                          In summary -- if it's gloopy put a little (not a lot) of instant pudding powder in, and it comes out really good. I couldn't even taste the pudding.

                                                                          I hope that helps someone!