See Printable Recipe for a quick list.
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
I use the generic store brand because it’s cheap but good. If you have salted butter, don’t worry: A little salt actually tastes good in this recipe.
If you’re making a flat 13×9 inch cake, use only one stick, so you’ll get less frosting with a heavier texture.
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
I use the generic store brand of this, too. You can buy the low-fat if you want. It’s almost as good.
1 lime (optional)
Look for one that’s just slightly soft from being ripe. Some limes have heavier white rinds than others, so try to avoid those by feel.
You can make different flavors of frosting. Try a lemon or part of an orange instead of a lime, or use an extract like orange extract. Almond and maple extract have their intrigue, too!
2 teaspoons (be generous) vanilla extract
Vanilla is a place where you don’t want to be a spendthrift. Buy premium pure real vanilla extract, not imitation, and you won’t regret it!
16 ounces powdered sugar
Tip: If you buy the 16-ounce package, you don’t have to measure it.
With this recipe, you can add another cup or two of powdered sugar if you want frosting that’s more structurally solid. But don’t cut the amount thinking you’ll make it not so sweet; you’ll just end up with butter.