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Ermine Frosting

Ermine Frosting is the Goldilocks of buttercream. It’s less sweet than American Buttercream and a little sweeter than Meringue Buttercream. This old-fashioned frosting is juuuust right!

a vanilla iced cake on a cake stand

All About Ermine Frosting:

Ermine frosting is known by many names; boiled-milk frosting, roux frosting, Heritage frosting and flour frosting to name a few.

Whatever you call it, this is an old-fashioned recipe that starts with a pudding base. Then you add the pudding to whipped butter to make a light, luscious and versatile cake frosting.

Because the sugar is cooked into the “pudding” base, there is no grittiness in this frosting. What you have is a creamy, airy buttercream with a lovely milky flavor.

Ermine is the traditional frosting for Red Velvet cake. I love to use it as the base for Malted Chocolate Frosting and to frost Malted Milk Blondies. Use coconut milk in the pudding to make Coconut Rum Frosting.

Scroll through the step by step process photos to see how to make Ermine Frosting:

pudding base for ermine frosting before and after cooking
Stir together the sugar, flour and milk. Cook until it is thick like pudding.
butter base for ermine frosting before and after adding pudding
Whip the butter, then add the “pudding” and mix it until combined.
ermine frosting before and after whipping
Switch the to whisk and whip until light and fluffy

FAQs about Ermine Frosting:

Does Ermine Frosting need to be refrigerated?

Yes, because it’s made with milk, Ermine frosting should be refrigerated.

Can I freeze Ermine Frosting?

Yes, it can be refrigerated for up to 3 months. Wrap in a double layer of plastic to prevent it from picking up off-flavors in the freezer. After defrosting, rewhip to revive the buttercream.

Can Ermine Frosting be tinted?

Yes, add food coloring to the pudding base or to the whipped buttercream.

How long does Ermine Frosting keep?

The frosting will keep up to a week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.

How do I thicken Ermine Frosting?

If your Ermine frosting is runny either the butter was too soft or the pudding was warm when added to the butter. Chill the frosting briefly and then re-whip.

Why is my Ermine Frosting curdled and runny?

The pudding was probably too warm when added to the butter. Chill the frosting briefly and then re-whip.

Is Ermine Frosting a crusting buttercream?

No, Ermine frosting will not form a crust. It will firm up a bit in the refrigerator. For a true crusting buttercream make American Buttercream.

a spatula dropping frosting onto a cake
a small spatula icing a cake with ermine frosting

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a spatula dropping ermine frosting onto a red velvet cake

Ermine Frosting

Yield: Enough to fill & frost an 8" cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ermine Frosting is the Goldilocks of buttercream. It's less sweet than American Buttercream and a little sweeter than Meringue Buttercream. This old-fashioned frosting is just right! Because the sugar is cooked into the “pudding” base, there is no grittiness in this frosting.


  • 1 1/2 cups (12oz, 336g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (2.5 oz, 70g) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 oz, 360 ml) whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 sticks (12 oz, 336g) unsalted butter, room temperature


  1. Combine the sugar, flour and salt in a saucepan, whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth. Heat the mixture over medium low, whisking constantly, until it begins to boil.
  2. Continue to cook and stir for 2-3 minutes until it thickens to a pudding-like texture. Immediately remove from the heat. Transfer to a bowl. Add the vanilla and cool to room temperature.
  3. Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the pudding, a little at a time, until completely incorporated. Switch to the whisk attachment and whip the buttercream until it’s light and fluffy.
  1. Use immediately to fill and frost your favorite cake.


One batch of frosting is enough to fill and frost a 9" round cake.

Did you make this recipe?

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Monday 1st of February 2021


I was wondering what flavour cakes would pair great with this buttercream ?

Eileen Gray

Monday 1st of February 2021

I love Ermine Frosting with Red Velvet cake.


Sunday 17th of January 2021

Would I be able to ice a cake with this icing the day before and then leave the cake covered at room temperature overnight to eat the next day??

Eileen Gray

Monday 18th of January 2021

Because there is milk in the frosting, I wouldn't leave it at room temperature more than about 6-7 hours. I would refrigerate the cake then take it out a couple of hours before serving to allow it to soften.


Saturday 2nd of January 2021

I am doing a 70th birthday day cake and would love to use the Ermine chocolate frosting. I do have to make it entirely chocolate from cake to buttercream. I plan on adding all kinds of Kit Kat bars, malted milk balls, espresso beans etc. on side of cake as well as top for decorating. My question is will the Ermine frosting hold the candy in place or do I have to worry about it falling off? I will have to make and freeze decorated cake in advance and when picked up it will be transported to destination almost 2 hours from here. It will be leaving in its frozen state and once it arrives it will go in the fridge to be served at room temperature the following day. I am a self-taught decorator so need your professional opinion.

Eileen Gray

Saturday 2nd of January 2021

Let me see if I get this: You plan to bake and ice the cake ahead of time. Then you will freeze the cake before a 2 hour trip. Then refrigerate the cake until the next day for serving. Do you plan to add the candy before freezing the cake? What I would do is to ice the cake, freeze, transport, refrigerate, etc. Once you take the cake out to let it come to room temperature before serving you can add the candy as the icing softens. I just think that adding the candy before the freezing, etc would mess up the design no matter how careful you are.


Wednesday 16th of September 2020

Holla! Can I combine Ermine frosting with Buttercream frosting?

Eileen Gray

Wednesday 16th of September 2020

Do you want the Ermine frosting to be sweeter? Ermine is a type of buttercream.


Thursday 16th of July 2020

Olá a cobertura permite fazer flores e resiste a climas quentes sem derreter?

Eileen Gray

Friday 17th of July 2020

I ran your comment through a translator and I think you're asking if this recipe will hold up in hot weather and if you can pipe flowers. You could probably pipe flowers with Ermine Frosting, but I wouldn't leave it out in hot temperatures. It does have quite a bit of butter and will melt in a warm environment.