This smooth and velvety, creamy and buttery low-carb icing is perfect for cakes and cupcakes. It’s something between buttercream and cream cheese icing. Not a compromise, but a sweet marriage of cream cheese and butter. I developed this icing especially for my Fluffy Little Lemon Thingies. Just quickly spread it or pipe beautiful decorations — it suits perfectly both.
|Nutrition information||Protein||Fat||Net carbs||kcal|
|The whole batch:||10.6 g||250.4 g||9.9 g||2335 kcal|
|Per serving if 12 servings in a batch:||0.9 g||20.9 g||0.8 g||195 kcal|
|Per serving if 16 servings in a batch:||0.7 g||15.7 g||0.6 g||146 kcal|
|Per serving if 20 servings in a batch:||0.5 g||12.5 g||0.5 g||117 kcal|
|Per serving if 24 servings in a batch:||0.4 g||10.4 g||0.4 g||97 kcal|
|Per serving if 28 servings in a batch:||0.4 g||8.9 g||0.4 g||83 kcal|
|Per serving if 32 servings in a batch:||0.3 g||7.8 g||0.3 g||73 kcal|
It took me some time to develop perfect texture for this icing. The ingredients were clear from the very beginning — cream cheese, butter, powdered erythritol, heavy cream and vanilla extract. Finding the best ratio for these took some exploring, however most times the results were quite delicious (or at least edible… you cannot go much wrong with fatty and sweet stuff unless the mixture curdles).
A long time ago along with my experiments with Fluffy Little Lemon Thingies I prepared Vanilla Crème Icing from The Low-Carb Baking and Dessert Cookbook by Ursula Solom which is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. There was just a problem that in general the consistency was a bit runny and the whey tended to separate while storing the icing. Next time when making the icing I reduced the amount of heavy cream, but the separation still occurred. Next I omitted the heavy cream and the consistency was better, though a bit dry, and the taste had suffered since the softening cream was missing. I thought I start from the scratch and develop my own vanilla cream cheese icing.
The key to the smooth texture here is xanthan. I found by accident its great capabilities for fixing a curdled icing. I was quite dejected after so many of my experiments got curdled and I didn’t want to throw away another batch of curdled icing. I thought there has to be a way to fix the curdling. I googled and found that baking soda could fix the curdled mass. Didn’t help. No effect at all. I googled again and found a great tip that you should either heat or chill the mixture and beat it again, but I was simply too indolent. Next I took a look of my pantry and the stuff what I had at hand when I realized that xanthan could help — I added a pinch (well, actually two pinches = 2 ml) and voilà! The ugly, watery and lumpy mass turned into a beautifully smooth icing. My day and a batch of icing were saved. However, be careful with xanthan, since too much of it makes the icing gummy and rubbery. A pinch or two is enough.
All the ingredients should be at room temperature, well, at least the butter. If the butter is cold, you might end up with icing full of tiny lumps of butter (yes, I do have some experience on that…). Talking of butter, I use quite much of it in the recipe — it makes the texture even more rich and velvety. I started with the usual half amount of butter of the amount of the cream cheese, but increased the quantity because the taste of the cream cheese was too overpowering and the consistency too runny.
At some point I gave up the heavy cream because sometimes it separated, sometimes not, and sometimes the icing curdled and I didn’t find any reason for that. In fact, one reason could be different brands of cream cheese, they seem to behave somewhat differently.
In general I achieved the best texture when using Philadelphia cream cheese. I usually read the ingredient list carefully, but this time had by accident ignored that Philly contains carrageenan. I try to avoid carrageenan at any cost. So, I learned not to use Philly anymore, but rather cream cheese without preservatives, and which is preferably organic. As a future project I could try to make my own cream cheese, at least here would be some instructions.
Even the texture is velvety, the powdered erythritol might feel somehow gritty in the mouth. I tried some experiments with stevia but didn’t reach good enough taste. The bitter taste of stevia was there even with my favorite stevia from NuNaturals which I’ve found to have least aftertaste. Even worse, the mixture curdled, I’ve got no idea why. I used exactly the same ingredients than when trying out with erythritol, and the icing didn’t curdle. However, xanthan seems to fix also the curdling with stevia. If you want to be absolutely sure that there is no gritty mouthfeel, stevia is a good sweetener if you can cope with the aftertaste.
To solve the problem with grittiness, I also tried to dissolve the powdered erythritol to hot heavy cream and chill the mixture before adding it to other ingredients. The erythritol crystallized while cooling down, but dissolved again when beating the icing, and formed a smooth texture with almost no gritty mouthfeel. So, in case you are willing to put more effort to this icing, dissolving erythritol to hot heavy cream and chilling the mixture before adding it to the icing seems to help. Lime or lemon juice might also do the trick.
This Buttery Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing is a very basic icing. You can modify it to your heart’s content. Just omit the vanilla if you want, and add your favorite flavor(s). Please feel free to adjust the sweetness also to your liking, and use your preferred sweetener.
All in all, as much as I like this icing, even happier I’m about the fact that I found a way how to fix curdled icing. What is your trick to fix curdled icing?