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Ermine or Boiled-Milk Frosting

Thanks for sharing!

This frosting is so fluffy, creamy and delicious.  It tastes a lot like whipped cream and whipped cream frosting is what it was called when I was introduced to it. Now I know that it’s also called Ermine or Boiled-Milk Frosting.  No matter what you call it, it’s good!

cupcake with ermine frosting rosette and sprinkles

This frosting is fluffy and smooth and perfect.  It starts by boiling milk and flour together to make a paste and that is whipped into butter to make a frosting that isn’t super sweet, but is really light and airy. 

It is a lot like whipped cream, but more stable.  It is a classic topping for red velvet cake, but is great in a variety of applications!

 It is hard to believe, but I have been making this frosting for 10 years now!  I was working with my friend Vicki and her birthday was coming up.  Of course I had to bake her a cake!

She requested red velvet cake with whipped cream frosting.   I had never heard of such a thing, other than the frosting some grocery stores call whipped cream.

beater filled with whipped cream frosting read to be piped onto red velvet cupcakes

As far as I knew, red velvet cakes were topped with cream cheese frosting.  Apparently this is quite a point for debate, is it ermine frosting or cream cheese frosting that is the proper way to frost a red beauty.

Vicki was obviously on team boiled milk frosting and I am always happy to try a new frosting!  She searched for the recipe of the exact thing she was talking about.

I had certainly never made a cooked frosting like this!  I had melted chocolate for frosting before and made Marlene’s Fudge Frosting, but never something quite like this.

I instantly fell in love.  This frosting is not too sweet, it is just right.  

The flavor is subtle, a lot like whipped cream!  However it does have better holding time and you don’t have to worry about mixing it too long and turning into butter… it is already butter!

thick boiled milk paste in saucepan ready to be chilled and used in ermine frosting

The key is getting the flour and milk paste correct.  It will still taste good even if it isn’t perfect, but if you don’t cook it long enough the frosting will be loose.

If you don’t stir it well enough, you could get small lumps.  If you scorch it, well then you better start over!

 It really isn’t that hard.  Just don’t be afraid to let it thicken and be sure to stand there stirring it while it happens.

The first time I made this for my family everyone loved it.  I made a couple of brownies, covered them in whipped cream frosting and topped them in berries.

Everyone was asking for the recipe.  Since then I have used the basic a idea for a number of other recipes.  I love the final texture it gets.

If made properly you could certainly frost a layer cake with it with no problem! You can also use it to pipe onto cupcake or do embellishments on your cake. 

I don’t think I would use it to do anything too detailed or small.  It is a softer frosting and likely wouldn’t hold a perfect shape.

However it is perfect for ruffly piles, borders and large rosettes.  If you want to do anything too detailed, I would chill the frosting before and after piping it to make sure it has its best shot at holding.

piece of rolo poke cake with boiled milk frosting

Of course this frosting is great on red velvet cake and the brownies with berries as I described above.  I also used it on my Rolo poke cake and that was scrumptious if I do say so myself!

This frosting was also the perfect way to wrap a blackberry shortcake cake too! It really gives the feeling of whipped cream but with less worry!

close up of first slice of blackberry shortcake cake being removed from the cake.

Tips and Tricks for making Ermine/Boiled Milk Frosting

Getting the milk and flour paste just right is the key.  You want it to be a thick paste before you remove it from the heat.

Be sure to keep stirring it, especially as it thickens. You don’t want it to scorch on the bottom of the pan.

Originally I made the paste from just the flour and milk and added the sugar with the butter in the mixer. After a really long mixing period, it dissolves and isn’t grainy. 

Lately I’ve taken to adding the sugar to the milk and flour to make sure it is dissolved.

cupcake topped with boiled milk frosting and sprinkles.

If the frosting seems a bit loose when you are done, there is a chance your butter was over softened or your paste wasn’t all the way cooled.  Try placing the bowl of frosting in the refrigerator for 15 or 20 minutes and whipping it again.

If it is still loose, the paste probably wasn’t thick enough.  A bit of powdered sugar or heat treated flour can help tighten it up this time.

Just cook your paste a little longer next time! 

Have you ever made a boiled milk frosting? What is your favorite cooked frosting?

If you are a frosting fanatic like me, check out my Frosting 101. It goes through the different types of frosting and links to all sorts of delicious recipes!

Watch me make this frosting and decorate cupcakes 4 ways using my 2 favorite tips on YouTube.

Yield: 18 Servings

Ermine Boiled Milk Frosting

cupcake topped with boiled milk frosting and sprinkles

This frosting is fluffy and smooth and perfect. It starts by boiling milk and flour together to make a paste and that is whipped into butter to make a frosting that isn't super sweet, but is really light and airy. It is a lot like whipped cream, but more stable. It is a classic topping for red velvet cake, but is great in a variety of applications!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 5 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened (must be real butter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. This first step is the most crucial part to this frosting turning out. In a saucepan, whisk together the flour and sugar. Add the milk a few tablespoons at a time to get started. Stir until there are no lumps. Once you have a smooth paste, add the remaining milk and stir until combined. Turn on the burner to medium heat. Continue to whisk and cook until the mixture thickens to a paste consistency. You want it to be pretty thick. It will be tempting to walk away and so something else, but don't. Once it starts to thicken it will go really quickly and it is important you don't get lumps or scorch the bottom. Place paste in the refrigerator to cool.
  2. Once paste is room temperature or cooler, add butter and vanilla to mixer bowl. Turn on low and stir until smooth. Add flour/milk paste and whip on high for about 10 minutes. Don't try to cut the time short, you really want to whip a lot of air into it.
  3. Spread on cakes, cupcakes, cookies or whatever scrumptious treat you are making!


This recipe makes plenty of frosting for a 9x13 inch cake. It can also frost 12-18 cupcakes depending on how generous you are with the frosting.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 149Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 88mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 11gProtein: 1g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

This frosting is fluffy and smooth and perfect. It starts by boiling milk and flour together to make a paste and that is whipped into butter to make a frosting that isn't super sweet, but is really light and airy. It is a lot like whipped cream, but more stable. It is a classic topping for red velvet cake, but is great in a variety of applications!

Thanks for sharing!

Peggy Wright

Saturday 4th of December 2021

Will this cover a round layer cake? Or shall it be a double recipe?


Saturday 4th of December 2021

It can cover a layer cake. I've used it several times to cover my blackberry shortcake cake and there is plenty.


Thursday 29th of April 2021

My mother made this frosting using cornstarch instead of flour! Was delicious!


Thursday 29th of April 2021

Isn't it so good? I'll have to try it with cornstarch sometime!

Karen S kirby

Thursday 18th of February 2021

I had the original recipe for the red velvet cake and icing that goes with it. I got it from my mother when I was a young girl and I've kept it with me all these years. The only thing that you left out of the recipe for the icing is a half a cup of Crisco shortening. I have been looking on Pinterest for red velvet cakes and none of them AR the true recipe. just something I had to share.


Thursday 18th of February 2021

How fun to have such a recipe treasure!


Friday 6th of November 2020

Thanks so much for sharing this! My mother prefers not too sweet, so I decided to give this recipe a try on the cupcakes she requested for her birthday. She loved it and so did I! I planned on frosting 2 dozen cupcakes so I made a batch and a half, and now I have extra. How long will the extra keep? If I use it up quickly, does it need to be refrigerated? Thanks again!


Sunday 8th of November 2020

I would refrigerate it to be on the safe side. It should easily last a week in the fridge or you can freeze it up to 6 months. I am so glad you both loved it!


Thursday 8th of October 2020

This is the only cake frosting we used for red velvet cake- none of that cream cheese frosting and the red velvet cake was always what was asked for on birthdays. When I was a kid I would save big hunks of the frosting off my cake to eat alone. Also we called the cake Flame Cake. We also would have it at Christmas.


Sunday 11th of October 2020

I still like to save a little extra frosting for the end! ;-) I should make a red velvet cake this Christmas in your honor!

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