No kidding.

By Stacey Ballis
April 11, 2019
Leo Gong

Let’s be honest for a moment and just admit that as great as cake is, it serves predominantly as a delivery service for frosting. Eating frosting with a spoon out of a bowl is frowned upon but slather it atop a cake and no one bats an eye. I’ll hand off the bowl and beaters for a cake batter without a thought, but my husband knows that when he gets the bowl and spatula from the frosting prep, it is the purest most unselfish act of love I can make.

Frostings are the place where you can best express your creativity. After all, with cake you are limited in many ways by the laws of chemistry and physics, and unless you are a master pastry chef, you have a fairly standard set of cakes upon which to ply your frosting wares. But frosting is forgiving. It can take bold flavors, even unexpected flavors, like a champ. It lets simple flavors like vanilla or chocolate shine but start to experiment and you’ll get magic. The viral success of Molly Yeh’s tahini buttercream essentially took her career stratospheric. Christina Tosi is as known for the extra toppings and interesting flavors that decorate her cakes as she is for the cakes themselves.

Watch: How to Make the Ultimate Coconut Cake

From silky European buttercreams to marshmallowy whipped egg frostings to basic whipped creams, you can add extracts from grapefruit to root beer, stir in lemon paste or citrus zest, fold in crunchy bits like toasted coconut or little chocolate pearls.

But one frosting that almost never gets experimental is cream cheese frosting.

This creamy, tangy topping that is traditional on red velvet and carrot cakes simply replaces the butter you would use in a buttercream with softened cream cheese, with delicious results. Richly flavored cakes need the bit of sourness to help balance their sweet intensity. But even the best cream cheese frosting can sometimes still go slightly too sweet for me.

Enter, goat cheese frosting. Fresh chevre is still smooth and creamy and easy to work with but has a slightly more intensity on the flavor end of things, and I have found that by swapping out between half and two-thirds of my cream cheese for softened mild chevre, I get a balance with my frosting that really works well with those spicy sweet cakes. I especially love it on deep dark chocolate cakes, parsnip loaf cake, this spiced apple carrot cake, or as the filling in tea sandwiches made with date nut bread.

Depending on your cream cheese frosting recipe, and how much you like goat cheese, I would start with swapping in chevre for half of the cream cheese and see what you think. As with the cream cheese you want it to be room temperature soft before you work with it so that it blends in smoothly. Once you find the balance you like between cream cheese and goat cheese from a taste or texture perspective, you can even experiment with flavored cheeses. Honeyed goat cheese makes a version that is great on hummingbird cake. I’ve even done one that was rolled in black pepper for a gingerbread cake, and the pepper really enhanced the spice of the cake.

However you use it, goat cheese frosting is going to take your next cake to the next level.

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