Sour Cream Frosting

If you love the sweet yet savory flavor of cream cheese frosting on your red velvet cake or carrot cake cupcakes, you will want to try this Sour Cream Frosting that is so flowy and silky it won’t disturb one crumb of your cake’s velvety surface.

Sour Cream Frosting

Look at those angelic but yummy-looking cupcakes. They need a devil like me to eat them!! Sour Cream Frosting, like good Cream Cheese Frosting gives frosting an umami-rich flavor that is out of this world. All good chefs are trying to hit all your major tastebuds, you know. This is why in every baking recipe, no matter how sweet the cake, brownie, cookie, jam, or jelly, there is always some degree of salt—and the really good ones add a bit of acid with lemon juice or orange zest. Just a touch. Because what’s wrong with making something have more flavor, right? 

What Makes Sour Cream Frosting Especially Special Is

But what sour cream does for frosting that is unique and that cream cheese cannot do, is to give it a special silkiness of texture that cream cheese icing cannot offer no matter how long you let it soften. This frosting is great for icing those cakes that are, perhaps, a bit warm or wetter because they contain fruit like carrot and nut mixtures or still-warm cakes because it flows across the crumb of the cake like softened butter. 

What makes this Sour Cream Frosting especially dreamy is the combination of butter with the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla extract to yield a sweet, buttery, silky, creamy, flowy frosting that you can adjust the softness of by simply adding more or less sour cream. It is a great contrast of flavor against the nutty, fruity-veggie flavor of carrot cake or the deep chocolatey flavor of red velvet cake, but with a new texture that you simply must try for yourself to believe.

How to Make Sour Cream Frosting That Rocks

Do you know they don’t allow electric mixers in baking class? For one thing, they want you to see the value of an icing whipped with a balloon whisk versus a regular whisk or electric anything.  Most people overbeat and over stir most food creations—cakes, especially. I remember a great chef once winking at the class and saying, “This is the way you beat a cake.” And he took a wooden spoon, did one big fold of the dry into the beaten, creamed ingredients, and put down the spoon. 

The only thing you want to beat to make it stiffer is meringue. 

To make this frosting even flowier for pour-on iced desserts like cinnamon rolls and cookie bars, then double the sour cream in the recipe from 1/4th cup to ½ cup. If you’re frosting a cake or dessert that you want slightly stiffer icing that will hold up to heat, cold, or warmer cake temperatures, then add 2 and ½ tablespoons of sour cream only. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar sifted
Sour Cream Frosting

How to Make Sour Cream Frosting

Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup of softened unsalted butter, 1/4 cup of sour cream, and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat these ingredients together until they are well combined.

Sour Cream Frosting

Step 2: Gradually add in the powdered sugar, starting with 3 cups. Continue to mix on low. Once incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until smooth.

Sour Cream Frosting

Step 3: If the frosting is too thick, add a bit more sour cream, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach a spreadable consistency. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar a quarter cup at a time until it thickens enough.

Sour Cream Frosting

FAQs & Tips

How to Make Ahead and Store?

Just like milk, you cannot freeze sour cream frostings. The dairy content in it will make it break. But you can refrigerate it up to three days—but no longer, because it has other dairy in it besides the already-soured cream. It has butter. And that means it will spoil. It also means that it will have that amazingly yummy flavor of buttercream frosting.

How can I make this taste ultra-delicious for a special occasion cake?

Your frosting and cake are only as good and fresh as your ingredients are. Use real everything for ingredients. Good, rich milk, or even better—heavy cream. Most of all, for your cake batter—free-range eggs. Finely powdered sugar double-sifted, fine cake flour triple-sifted till it’s like pixie dust for real fairy-tale flavor. My sifter gets a lot of work!

What are the best, natural ways to add flavor to a frosting, without relying on flavoring with artificial ingredients?

Madagascar vanilla beans, scraped, and then stirred into the batter and frosting for a heavenly vanilla cake and frosting. Also, try orange or lemon zest, just a tad. It won’t turn it into orange or lemon cake unless you want it to with lots of zest plus fruit juice. Or stir raspberry preserves into sour cream frosting. It tastes so good!

Since there is sour cream is in the frosting, do I need to keep the cake in the fridge after frosting it?

Keeping a cake in the fridge is a good way to ruin a cake. It dries it out. If you want to make a cake ahead, you can freeze cake layers, unfrosted, then bring them to edible room temperature and then frost them. You can, however, refrigerate your frosted leftovers and they still taste yummy. Frosting not only cloaks cakes in deliciousness, it also protects them from the drying effects of the fridge, too. That and good, glass food containers!!

Will this frosting hold up outside for cookouts and birthday parties?

Well, you might want to keep them in a cake keeper or even a cooler just to be safe or take a dessert like my Spiced Chocolate Cookie Bars and serve it on the side from a bowl you keep foiled and on top of the chilled soda pops!!!

Sour Cream Frosting

Serving Suggestions

Did you ever make popovers or cinnamon rolls and the icing seems to slide right off of them before you can even get one bite of their steaming, hot, heavenly yumminess? After all, no one wants a cold cinnamon roll or popover, right? Well with sour cream icing, you won’t have to worry about that. You can drizzle it over hot cinnamon rolls and popovers, and it will stay on your baked goods and taste heavenly, but without that over-iced quality you might get with a cream cheese frosting on them. 

Sour cream frosting is great on so many things from fruit tarts to simple graham crackers. But try it on these sweet suggestions, especially: 

When you’re out of mascarpone, it makes a delicious substitute on my dreamy Creamsicle Cake

Serve it warm on the side in a cute little bowl with my cinnamon-y, very much lives up to its name Delicious Coffee Cake. 

Slather it all over toasted Spiced Applesauce Bread for an especially special morning treat!! 

My Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls taste heavenly with this frosting, too! 

Sour Cream Frosting
Sour Cream Frosting

Sour Cream Frosting

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 234 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar sifted

Instructions
 

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup of softened unsalted butter, 1/4 cup of sour cream, and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat these ingredients together until they are well combined.
  • Gradually add in the powdered sugar, starting with 3 cups. Continue to mix on low. Once incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until smooth.
  • If the frosting is too thick, add a bit more sour cream, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach a spreadable consistency. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar a quarter cup at a time until it thickens enough.

Nutrition

Calories: 234kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 0.2gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 4mgPotassium: 11mgSugar: 35gVitamin A: 319IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 0.03mg
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