Lumpy icing or frosting, how to fix it and my favourite cream cheese icing

Lumpy icing or frosting is easy to make but with this quick fix it’s no problem! Save yourself from having to start again with this simple solution.
Why cakes sink in the middle and what you can do about it - Madeira raspberry and cream cheese cake recipe

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I’ve been on 3 different holidays over the past two weeks hence the lack of blog posts. We started with lots of family on the Yorkshire coast. Fabulous uncles had filled a treasure chest with goodies and buried it on the beach. You can imagine the delight of the six little ones when they ‘found it’ and dug it up.

Then we headed to near Oban in Scotland for a few chilled days before sailing to the Isle of Coll to meet with friends and their lovely kids. Coll was a reunion of sorts because most of us get to see each other three or four times a year – however we met 16 years ago on Coll. I met Dave and other wonderful people through these friends. They are my oldest friends, people I know will always be part of my life. We met through an organisation called Project Trust and visited Project’s HQ while on the island. I won’t go into loads of detail – Project’s website can do that for you, but suffice to say if you are about to leave school I’d definitely explore what they offer. The experience I had with them has significantly shaped my life, it gave me a confidence I didn’t know I had and it landed me a best friend to spend the rest of my life with.

Anyway we are back in Edinburgh and not thinking about post holiday blues or anything similar! Right now to focus on what I’m here to talk about – lumpy icing or frosting. Everything was going well making this Madeira raspberry and cream cheese cake until I forgot to sift the icing (confectioners) sugar. (Actually that is a lie. Things weren’t going smoothly and you can read more here Why cakes sink in the middle and what you can do about it.)  What had been smooth beautiful icing became lumpy although not big, the lumps were definitely there.
Lumpy icing or frosting

I looked in the fridge just to check some more cream cheese hadn’t magiced itself there in the last ten minutes, but no joy. I couldn’t start again. I was going to have to persevere with this lumpy mess. Given I had forgotten to sift the sugar, I thought that pushing the lumpy icing through a sieve would solve the problem. It did sort of – the lumps were smaller but still there.

Lumpy icing or frosting

But I thought on and came up with this easy fix.

How to fix lumpy icing or frosting

My simple solution to the lumpy icing or frosting problem is to put the whole lot into the microwave for a short blast sufficient to melt the cream cheese and butter mixture just a little – I started with ten seconds. Then, with a good mix, your lumps of sugar just dissolve. Ta da! Back to silky smooth icing. Pop it in the fridge to harden it up a little, so that you get thick icing for the top of the cake. If you want a cake with dribbles of icing cascading down the sides, don’t fridge it. It will just be a little thinner on the top, but you’ll have that wonderful drippy look on the sides.
Lumpy icing or frosting

I love cream cheese icing. I love the taste, how easy it is to make and how it isn’t too sweet. Cream cheese icing is also far healthier than buttercream. Full fat cream cheese has a quarter of the fat compared to butter. As well as far less fat, this cream cheese icing is only 14% sugar, whereas traditional buttercream icing is 50% butter 50% sugar. So it’s almost healthy, right?!


Cream cheese icing or frosting

Madeira raspberry and cream cheese cake

This icing is great on it’s own, but you can also add additional flavours.

  • A pinch of cinnamon works well for a carrot cake.
  • The zest of one lemon for a lemon and blueberry cake.
  • Or you could add a raspberry coulis, 100g of raspberries gently reduced with ½ tsp of icing sugar. See the link above to my Madeira raspberry and cream cheese cake.
  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes


  • 180g cream cheese
  • 40g butter
  • 70g icing sugar


  1. Put the cream cheese and butter into a bowl and beat well until combined.
  2. Sift in the icing sugar, add other flavourings if using, and stir well.
  3. Ice cake.


This is enough buttercream icing to generously ice the top of a

  • 8”/20cm x 4”/10cm rectangular cake
  • 2lb loaf cake.
  • 6”/16cm round cake

This is an easy recipe to scale up if you need to.

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