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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’d like to try a slightly richer version of this frosting, here’s a recipe for German Buttercream. German Buttercream has an egg custard base instead of a pudding base.

An if you love chocolate, try this Malted Chocolate Frosting which is a version of 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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

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

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