Ermine Frosting

Ermine frosting is light, creamy and made with cooked flour as a thickening agent. Often referred to as flour frosting or boiled milk frosting. 
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 50 oz
ermine frosting

Ermine frosting is light, fluffy and not too sweet

Ermine frosting (also called roux frosting or boiled milk frosting) is made by cooking flour and sugar with milk to make a sweet paste. This paste is then whipped into softened butter until light and fluffy. Vanilla and salt is added for flavoring.

ermine frosting

This might sound like a bizarre process (it did to me at first) but it’s actually a delicious frosting! Ermine frosting reminds me a lot of that frosting that you find in a ding dong or twinkie. Very light and almost like whipped cream

This frosting does not have eggs in it so it’s a fantastic alternative to Swiss Meringue Buttercream if you want a light frosting but can’t have eggs. 

What does ermine frosting taste like?

Ermine frosting actually tastes really good! I admit making the roux did not seem very appetizing but after I gave it a taste, I could see why ermine frosting is the traditional frosting used with red velvet cake. It’s so good!

The frosting is super smooth and creamy. A nice light vanilla flavor and no hint of a flour taste. I promise. 

 ermine frosting piped into rosettes on a cake

How do you make ermine frosting?

Making ermine frosting is actually pretty simple. 

  1. Combine your flour and sugar in a medium sized saucepan and toast on medium high heat for a couple of minutes to cook the flour.
  2. Add in your milk and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and reduce to medium heat. Cook until the mixture thickens. Make sure you stir constantly to prevent the milk from burning. 
  3. Pour the mixture into a heat-proof bowl and cover with plastic wrap (make sure the plastic touches the surface of the mixture) and let cool. I put mine in the fridge. 
  4. Place your butter in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attached. Whisk until light and fluffy. 
  5. Add your flour mixture into your butter a little at a time. I used a spoon but you can also use a piping bag or measuring cup. 
  6. Add in your vanilla and salt and you’re done!

Does ermine frosting need to be refrigerated?

This frosting can be left at room temperature for 6 hours as long as it’s not too hot. You shouldn’t have any buttercream in high heat anyway. Because it does contain milk then leftovers should be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to 6 months. Similar to cream cheese frosting. 

Ermine frosting should be eaten at room temperature. Bring your cake out of the fridge for an hour or two before consuming. 

ermine frosting piped on a while velvet cupcake

Can you use ermine frosting under fondant?

This frosting is definitely firm enough to be used under fondant but I prefer to use it as a filling and use a firmer frosting like my easy buttercream for the outside. 

You can also pipe ermine frosting easily. 


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Cups of Batter Needed

8 cups

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5 cups

Note: measurements are estimated based off the vanilla cake recipe using standard US cake pans and sizes. Measurements used are for 2" tall cake pans only. Your results may vary. Do not overfill cake pans above manufacturer's recommended guidelines.

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ermine frosting

Ermine Frosting

Ermine frosting is light, creamy and made with cooked flour as a thickening agent. Often referred to as flour frosting or boiled milk frosting. 
4.89 from 262 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 50 oz
Calories: 107kcal


Ermine Frosting Ingredients

  • 14 oz (397 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 oz (85 g) flour
  • 16 oz (454 g) whole milk
  • 16 oz (454 g) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt


Ermine Frosting Instructions

  • Whisk together your flour and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook for about 2 minutes to toast the flour. Be careful not to burn it!
  • Slowly add in your milk, whisk to combine, and bring your heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisk continuously until it is thick and pudding-like. Once it's simmering, cook for one minute more.
  • (Optional) If your mixture has any lumps, place a colander on top of a heat-proof bowl and push your mixture through and into the bowl.
    Transfer the mixture into a heat-proof bowl. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap so that it is touching the surface without any air bubbles in between, this will prevent a skin from forming on the top of the mixture. Let cool in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
    You can also transfer the mixture to a sheet pan, spread it out, cover it with plastic, and put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes to cool faster.
    Make sure the mixture is completely cool or it will melt your butter.
  • Add your softened butter to the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk on high until very light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Once the butter is fluffy, place the cooled flour mixture into a piping bag and slowly pipe it into your butter as your whip. Incorporating slowly ensures a smooth buttercream. 
  • Add in your vanilla and salt, then mix until everything is creamy. Use it to frost your cooled cake. This buttercream will set quickly, so it's best used immediately.


  1. After your ermine frosting is fluffy and white, you can whip in 1/4 cup sifted cocoa powder to make this chocolate.
  2. Make sure your flour mixture is completely cool before making your frosting
  3. Ermine frosting does not work well the next day. It's best to use it right after you make it as it tends to "set" and not stay creamy. 
  4. Ermine frosting is not ideal for using under fondant because it is very soft but it is great for using it as a filling between layers. 


Serving: 2oz | Calories: 107kcal (5%) | Carbohydrates: 9g (3%) | Fat: 7g (11%) | Saturated Fat: 4g (20%) | Cholesterol: 20mg (7%) | Sodium: 16mg (1%) | Potassium: 15mg | Sugar: 8g (9%) | Vitamin A: 240IU (5%) | Calcium: 13mg (1%) | Iron: 0.1mg (1%)
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Ermine frosting made from boiled milk, flour, sugar and vanilla is light, fluffy and very much like whipped cream in texture. Ermine frosting is a traditional frosting that is typically paired with red velvet cake and is not very sweet which makes it very popular

231 comments on “Ermine Frosting

  1. 5 stars
    My favorite frosting, and yes you can use almondmilk.

  2. Is it good to decorate cakes? I’m afraid of it being too bubbly and just not good to decorate 🙁 also what about the consistency? How is it compared to standard SMBC? waiting for your reply

    1. Yes, of course, you can decorate a cake with it. That’s what I used it for 🙂 It is not as easy to get smooth as SMBC and isnt as smooth the next day so its best to use it right after you make it. Taste is amazing though. Very similar to whipped cream

      1. How long will the frosting on cake keep in the fridge? I’ll be gifting your buttermilk cake so I don’t want it to melt or go bad too quickly. Cheers

  3. Hi. Is it possible to overcook the flour-sugar-milk mixture? You mentioned that it be thick like a paste so I let it cook til it was bubbling (whisking all the time). Mine came out really thick like a pasty pudding. Your video showed a more softer consistency. Can I still use this or start again? Thanks!

  4. Hi . Sounds like an amazung recipe. Can we use it under fondant cakes ?

  5. My niece wants this frosting for her wedding cake but I won’t be able to refrigerate it the day of the wedding. The wedding is February 1 so where I live it will be cold outside. The venue is heated but due to its size I don’t think it will get very warm. Do you think the cake will be okay sitting out all day?

  6. Was looking to try a whipping cream-like buttercream, and OMG i love this frosting! Thank you Liz!

  7. 3 stars
    Not sure what happened. Watchwd the video and followed the recipe to a T and the final product had the consistency of melty ice cream. It also taste like the “sweetened condensed milk frosting” that is all over Pinterest (tried that yesterday, we did not like it…threw out). It’s in the fridge right now trying to stiffen up. I really wanted to like this because I think regular American buttercream is way too sweet. Do you know what I might have done wrong? Thanks!

    1. If your frosting was too soft, either you didn’t measure correctly using a scale or your flour mixture was too hot, causing the frosting to be soft. This frosting is not sweet at all, so something is definitely not right

  8. I didn’t mind the taste but It came out way to thin to pipe!

  9. I only have salted butter and can not go out to buy more, can i use that instead and not add in the extra salt?

    1. You can if that is all you have but your buttercream might be too salty for your taste because there is a lot of salt in butter.

  10. Hi! I tried making this recipe yesterday and i do have some questions.. I was basically running out of sugar and i only added about a cup and a half of it, about half a cup less than what your recipe called for.
    The frosting came out pretty good, the taste was awesome but the consistency was a little too thin for my liking and it was kind of hard to work with. Do you think the lack of sugar in my flour mixture might have caused the frosting to be so unstable and runny? Waiting for your reply ?

  11. Can this frost a 2 or 3 layer 10 inch cake or would I need to double frosting?

  12. Can I use a hand mixer since I do not have a stand mixer? Would I get same result?

    1. I haven’t tried this with a hand mixer but I think you could still achieve the same results as long as you mix for long enough 🙂

  13. 5 stars
    Is it possible to use any kind of sugar with this? Say, brown sugar?

  14. 5 stars
    So when I was making this recipe I suddenly had flashbacks of this cake my late mother used to make that everyone but I loved (Ho Ho Cake). It had a white frosting underneath a chocolate ganache and the white frosting was terrible (in my opinion!). It was made by boiling flour and milk on the stove and she would put the entire pot in the fridge with the whisk sticking straight out of it and at some point I think she beat in margarine.

    I was extremely skeptical of this frosting once I remembered my mother’s cake but was pleasantly surprised when I tried it and it became my new favorite! I make the boiled milk mixture a day ahead and keep it in the fridge until ready to make the frosting.

    My six year old decided she wanted to make orange cupcakes for her girl scout troop’s virtual cupcake war, so we added orange zest to the milk mixture. We may have added too much zest, but its delicious and refreshing, perfect for our Easter dessert!

  15. Can you use icing sugar with ermine frosting? Or is it only granulated sugar?

  16. Hi! Is this something I could use under fondant and how long would it last? I make the cakes 1-2 days in advance. Thanks!

  17. What kind of flour should be used? Can I used cake flour?

    Doing this for my baby’s first bday tomorrow

  18. I know this is probably blasphemy, but I have a ton of Sweetex high ratio icing shortening to use. Do you think I can do a 1/2 and 1/2 of Sweetex and butter in your icing recipes, including this one, until I use it up and they would still turn out? By the way, watched your Bosch mixer tutorial, very informative. Just waiting until they come back in stock to get one. Thank you for all your advice and recipes.

  19. Can I frost sugar cookies with this frosting?

  20. Hello,
    Can this be made with chocolate? At what point would I add it?

    1. After your ermine frosting is fluffy and white, you can whip in 1/4 cup sifted cocoa powder to make this chocolate.

  21. Can I use heavy cream/whipping cream for the milk? Also how should the cake be stored after decorating?

  22. 5 stars
    Made this once and it was delightful. I see that you can flavor with cocoa powder….has anyone tried any other flavors? Trying to figure out if you could use the same amount of freeze dried fruit that’s been ground up to give it a different flavor.

  23. I need the cake for Saturday and today is Friday can I crumb coat the cake and leave in the fridge till Saturday night to put on the final coat?

    1. Ermine frosting should be used as soon as possible because it “sets” so if you try to frost this cake tomorrow, your frosting will not but creamy anymore.

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