In another bowl, beat cream cheese for about 15 seconds or until creamy.
Add sugar, salt and vanilla to the cream cheese and whip until fully combined and creamy. It should only take a minute or two to whip up the cream cheese and sugar mixture. Don't worry about checking for sugar grittiness. Just make sure it's fully combined and still fluffy.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese for about 15 seconds or until creamy. Add sugar, salt and vanilla and whip until fully combined.
Drizzle cold cream down the side of the bowl (to prevent splashing) and beat until stiff peaks form. You'll see your beaters leaving clear trails in the mixture at this stage.
*I've always used the full cup of sugar, but yesterday I tried reducing it to 3/4 cup and I liked it better with less. Either way, it's delicious.
*I have a stand mixer and a hand mixer, so to save time, I usually let my stand mixer whip the cream while I mix the cream cheese mixture with my hand mixer. (Now I use the "one bowl" method, so only one mixer is needed!:)
*You want to work quickly and keep everything cold for best results when piping or frosting. If I have leftovers, I usually leave them in the piping bag and place the piping bag in a Ziploc and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days. It still pipes beautifully one day after storing, however, I've only used that option for leftovers.
*If I have leftover cake that has this frosting on it, I slice individual pieces, wrap in wax paper and place the wrapped pieces in a freezer Ziploc bag. I either thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or allow to thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes, or very carefully use the microwave on a 50% power setting. You want to thaw the cake without melting the frosting.
*Update 8/31/15...Many readers have asked about leaving this frosting out at room temperature. Here's the response I've given...It depends on how hot it is. When I use this recipe, I always keep my frosted cake/cupcakes etc... refrigerated until I have to take them anywhere, but they’ve been out up to two hours (in air conditioning or cool weather) and held up well, though I think they’re probably best up to one hour. I don’t like to leave anything perishable out more than two hours anyway. I wouldn’t leave them out for long at a hot picnic or in very warm weather. I actually like to take my cakes out about 1/2 hour or up to an hour before serving so that they can lose the chill of the refrigerator and the cake isn't too dense from being cold. So, I try to serve the frosted baked good almost at room temperature. But this is not a recipe I would leave out for hours and hours at a party. My Whipped Vanilla Frosting recipe is perfect if you need something that can live for a longer time at room temperature.
Update 12-26-15: I've recently started making this in one bowl and it has worked perfectly for me. Just beat the cream cheese mixture together first as stated in the recipe, then gradually add the heavy cream (unbeaten) and continue beating until you get stiff peaks. (I usually have to stir the cream in a little bit so that it doesn't splash when I turn the beaters back on.)
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