Today I come to you with a not-too-sweet Maple Cream Cheese Frosting that I think is the best I’ve ever made!
My version here eliminates the use of confectioners’ sugar that most traditional frosting recipes use. Instead, it relies on maple syrup for a refined sugar-free cream cheese frosting that you can use anywhere you use its version that is made with powdered sugar.
Living in Vermont, I am always looking for new and interesting ways to incorporate maple syrup into my recipes. It is not only a natural sweetener, but it possesses such a unique, earthy quality that I adore.
So today, I am going to share with you everything there is to know about Maple Syrup Cream Cheese Frosting. From how to make it, how to use it and how to store it, I’ve got you covered.
Maple frosting is made with just a few simple ingredients. You will need:
- Unsalted Butter – My original recipe included a higher ratio of butter, but I wanted the cream cheese to really shine. I like to use a richer, European-style butter for the higher fat content, but anything will do. If you use salted butter, simply omit the salt entirely.
- Full-Fat Cream Cheese – A richer, tangier, full-fat cream cheese is certainly worth the calories as compared to Neufchatal or Low-Fat. Go for the good stuff here!
- Pure Maple Syrup – The star of the show! I could go on for hours about the differences between maple syrup, but that’s for another day! Purchase Pure or Real Maple Syrup. Most supermarkets will carry two varieties – Grade A Golden or Dark Amber. The different color classes of maple syrup are produced during different times of the season (Source.) The lighter the color, the milder the flavor. Either will work in this recipe.
- Vanilla Extract – The vanilla extract adds that extra bit of sweetness that makes this frosting taste homemade.
- Fine Sea Salt – Fine sea salt dissolves much better than large, coarse salt. Use it for all your baking needs. If you don’t have fine sea salt, you can also use kosher salt.
- Citrus Juice – I listed general citrus juice rather than a specific fruit since you could honestly use whichever you have on hand – lemon, orange, grapefruit or even clementine! The juice provides that extra pop of acidity and brightens up all the flavors. I especially like to use orange juice when I am making a classic carrot cake recipe.
How To Make Maple Frosting
The maple frosting with real maple syrup whisks to a light and fluffy consistency with an electric stand mixer or hand mixer. Simply:
- Beat the butter and cream cheese. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrap the sides of the bowl.
- Add the maple sweetness. Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt, and citrus juice. Whisk on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through. If using right away and if needed, chill in the fridge for 10 minutes to stiffen slightly to a spreadable consistency.
A Note About Cream Cheese
I recommend using organic, full-fat, regular cream cheese with a gum or stabilizer. It is tangier, richer, and will ensure the frosting sets to the right texture (source.) I use the widely available Philadelphia brand.
If you are sensitive to dairy but do not have a complete allergy, you might want to consider cultured cream cheese, which will be easier on your digestion (similar to yogurt). Nancy’s Cultured Cream Cheese is a great brand to try. Just note the flavor of cultured cream cheese more acidic due to the addition of probiotics, so you may need to add an extra teaspoon or two of maple syrup to balance the flavors. As always, taste and adjust to your liking.
Cream Cheese Frosting Vs Cream Cheese Icing
These two terms are used interchangeably, but technically speaking, frosting (also known as buttercream) is the thicker, fluffier cousin of icing, which is thinner and higher in sugar.
How Many Calories Are In Cream Cheese Icing?
One serving (about 2 Tablespoons) of maple-flavored frosting is only 166 calories. You can get more information about nutrition facts in the recipe card below.
Uses For Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Much like Maple Whipped Cream, this recipe can be topped on just about anything. Some of my favorite uses for this maple sweetened frosting include:
- Slathering it on my favorite spring treat Almond Flour Carrot Cake
- Piping it in a decorative swirl on Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins, Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins or any of your favorite pancakes and waffles
- Toasting and smearing it on pumpkin bread
- Licking it right off the spoon!
How To Store
Maple syrup frosting will keep best stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Note that it tastes best when enjoyed at room temperature, so make sure to remove it (or the cake it is topped on) from the fridge 30 minutes prior to eating.
For optimal food safety, make sure the total time the dairy is out at any given point (including warming it to room temperature, preparing and decorating the cake) is no more than 2 hours.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
- 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, room temperature (28g)
- 1 cup Full-Fat Cream Cheese, room temperature (227g)
- 4 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup (84g)
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ¼ teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- A Squeeze of Lemon or Orange Juice about 1 teaspoon
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment or with a large bowl and handheld mixer, beat butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt, and lemon/orange juice. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl halfway through.
- If needed, chill for 10 minutes in the fridge to stiffen slightly to a spreadable consistency.
- This recipe makes 1 1/2 cups of frosting.
- Bring the butter and cream cheese to a cool-room temperature. Too cold, you’ll get lumps in your frosting and the ingredients will not emulsify. Too warm and the icing will be too soft and runny. I typically remove the butter and cream cheese from the fridge and cut it into small cubes while still cold. I then allow the ingredients to sit out on my kitchen counter for 30 minutes-1 hour before preparing the recipe.
- Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl throughout mixing. This ensures all the ingredients mix together thoroughly and bits of syrup or salt are not stuck to the side of the bowl.
- For any orange-hued cake, cookie, cupcake, muffin or bread recipe (think carrot, pumpkin or sweet potato), I highly recommend using orange for the citrus juice. The flavors complement each other so well!
- For a fun twist, change up the sweetener from time-to-time by using an equal amount of honey or agave instead!