To make a cream cheese frosting, beat together butter and cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Switch the mixer to low speed, and add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Once the frosting is smooth and creamy, beat in the vanilla extract.
Use 4 ounces of unsalted butter, 4 ounces of softened cream cheese, 2 cups of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. This is considered an easy recipe by FoodNetwork.com. It generally takes about 15 minutes.
Alternatively, put 8 ounces of cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Soften the cream cheese using a rubber spatula. Gradually add in 8 tablespoons (or 1 stick) of unsalted butter. Continue beating until it is smooth and mixed well. Mix in 1 cup of confectioners' sugar, and continue to beat until it is smooth again. Then add in 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and stir. This recipe, from MarthaStewart.com, makes about 2 cups and is ideal for cupcakes, pumpkin cake and carrot cake.
Finally, Kraft, the makers of Philadelphia cream cheese, also has a 10-minute cream cheese frosting recipe. Beat 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter or margarine and 1 teaspoon of vanilla in a large bowl until blended. Gradually add one package of powdered sugar, and beat until blended. This makes about 20 servings.