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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.

Balloon whisk mixer attachment filled with fluffy white boiled milk frosting.

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?

Does boiled milk frosting get hard?

Boiled milk frosting does not form a crust. If you need to set the frosting, using the refrigerator is the way to go. The frosting will get soft again once it is at room temperature. If you need a frosting that crusts, try u003ca href=u0022 data-type=u0022postu0022 data-id=u00228603u0022u003ecrusting buttercreamu003c/au003e.

Does ermine frosting pipe well?

Yes, ermine frosting can be used to pipe simple decorations. If you find the frosting is too soft to pipe, chill it for 10-15 minutes and try again.

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.

cupcake with ermine frosting rosette and sprinkles

Ermine Boiled Milk Frosting

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!
4.79 from 32 ratings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 18 Servings
Calories 149 kcal


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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Spread on cakes, cupcakes, cookies or whatever scrumptious treat you are making!


This recipe makes plenty of frosting for a 9×13 inch cake. It can also frost 12-18 cupcakes depending on how generous you are with the frosting.



Serving: 1ServingCalories: 149kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 88mgSugar: 11g
Tried this recipe?Mention @carleecooks or tag #cookingwcarlee!
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!

Recipe Rating


Tuesday 22nd of August 2023

How do u use this This recipe to make chocolate buttercream


Tuesday 22nd of August 2023

You could add a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder in with the flour before you cook it with the milk. In fact, that sounds delicious. I am going to have to try it myself!


Thursday 4th of May 2023

My mom used to make this icing when I was a kid!! Forgot all about it till I saw this recipe!! Brings back lovely memories of her. Thank you!! Turned out awesome!!


Thursday 4th of May 2023

That makes me so happy! I am glad you liked it.


Monday 13th of March 2023

I've made it but it won't thicken up in the stand mixer and stays mostly runny (i've beaten it for at least a half hour with a break between). Is there any way at all to save it in that state? It was at room temp at the start of the final step, but I did tried cooling it more just in case. I really want this to work ^^; It's fantastic icing! My family has a variant of this recipe using a half cup of butter and a half cup of shortening (but i hate dealing with shortening and the steps for your recipe were much easier to follow lol)


Monday 13th of March 2023

It can get tricky. I'd try chilling it for longer and trying again. In a pinch, you can add little powdered sugar or cornstarch to thicken it up a bit. I'm wondering if your flour paste needed to cook just a bit longer. I hope it works out for you!


Sunday 13th of November 2022

Thank you for this recipe! I had one like it years ago, but spilled something on the recipe card and can't read it. This recipe reads to add the sugar to the flour; The recipe I had before had it added to the butter. I think I'm going to like this much better. I use this 'frosting' as a filling to my chocolate cake rolls .... family loves it!


Monday 14th of November 2022

When I first started making this recipe, I added the sugar to the butter as well. But I like dissolving it in the milk better. That way there isn't any chance it is grainy when you are finished. Just make sure to get the paste good and thick and the rest is magic! I hope you like this method as much as I do.


Friday 26th of August 2022

This is such a great icing. The one my Mom used for her Red Velvet cake-so much better than cream cheese icing for Red Velvet! Mine has always been grainy and I didn't know why. Mom had passed and I couldn't ask her. So thank you for you excellent information! Time to try it again!


Friday 26th of August 2022

It is one of our favorites too. I hope this method works well for you!