I’ve been experimenting with naturally sweetened cream cheese frosting. After much trial and error, here’s my recipe! Instead of powdered sugar, I used Medjool dates.
The dates contribute lovely caramel-like flavor and color, which I’m sure you’ve noticed by now. They also add some fiber, which you don’t normally find in frosting recipes.
Even though this frosting doesn’t look or taste exactly like classic cream cheese frosting, this fruit-sweetened frosting is creamy and truly delicious. Plus, it’s very easy to whip up in your food processor!
Why dates? Honey and maple syrup are my usual go-to natural sweeteners, but they don’t work in frosting. Their flavors are too pervasive and they yield frosting so runny, it runs down the cake.
Dates are the answer. I like to call them “nature’s caramels.” When you blend pitted dates with some water, they produce a date paste that is thick and creamy, not unlike the texture of whipped cream cheese.
In addition to dates, you’ll just need cream cheese, butter, and vanilla for this recipe. A little pinch of salt enhances the flavor of it all. Please let me know how you like this frosting in the comments!
Naturally Sweetened Cream Cheese Frosting
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups 1x
- Category: Frosting
- Method: Whipped
- Cuisine: American
Learn how to make naturally sweetened cream cheese frosting! It’s so easy. This recipe as written yields 2 cups, or enough frosting for one 9″ round or square cake layer, or 12 cupcakes. Multiply as needed (times two for a double-layer cake or 9×13″ sheet cake, and so on).
- 18 Medjool dates (about 1 ½ cups firmly packed)
- ½ cup room temperature water, plus hot water for soaking
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Small pinch of salt
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- To prepare, pull the cream cheese and butter out of the fridge so they have a few minutes to warm up. Slice the cream cheese into quarters and set aside.
- Place the dates in a heatproof bowl and pour hot water over them until they are covered (this ensures that the dates are hydrated and soft enough to blend—don’t skip this step!). Let them soak for 10 minutes, then drain.
- Once the dates are cool enough to handle, remove the pits and discard them. In a food processor, combine the pitted dates, ½ cup room temperature water, vanilla, and a little pinch of salt.
- Process until the date mixture is quite smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes, pausing to scrape down the sides as necessary. Then, add the cream cheese and butter and blend until smooth and fluffy.
- Use the frosting immediately, or store it in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days. Before using, let it warm to room temperature for about 15 minutes and briefly rewhip before using.
Chocolate version: For chocolate cream cheese frosting, blend in ⅓ cup cocoa powder with the cream cheese and butter.