Make basic cream cheese icing by beating together 8 ounces of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of softened butter. Mix in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 4 cups of confectioner's sugar. Once the icing is creamy, spread it on cookies, cakes or cupcakes. Another recipe suggests using only half the sugar, while Martha Stewart's recipe calls only for 1 cup of confectioner's sugar along with 8 ounces of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of butter.
To make lemon cream cheese frosting, cream together 2 8-ounce packages of softened cream cheese and 3/4 cup of softened unsalted butter. Beat in 4 cups of powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of grated lemon peel. To increase the lemon flavor, add lemon extract or lemon juice.
Make a good frosting for pumpkin cake or cupcakes by combining 1 8-ounce package of softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup of softened butter, 6 cups of powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of sour cream. For a lighter frosting, swap out the butter for 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt, and mix it with 4 ounces of softened cream cheese, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar.