Ermine Frosting Artistry

Ermine Frosting, also known as boiled milk frosting or heritage frosting, is a classic and time-honored frosting that brings a delightful combination of lightness, flavor, and versatility to a wide range of desserts. Unlike more common frostings like buttercream or cream cheese, Ermine Frosting is characterized by its delicate, silky, and creamy texture. It is made by creating a cooked flour and milk paste, which is then whipped into a smooth, fluffy consistency and sweetened with sugar. This frosting has a subtle, sweet flavor that doesn’t overpower the dessert it adorns, making it a fantastic complement to cakes, cupcakes, and other baked treats. Ermine Frosting is a versatile choice, perfect for those who appreciate a frosting that is not overly sweet but still adds a luxurious finish to their homemade desserts.


What is Ermine Frosting?

Ermine Frosting, also known as boiled milk frosting, cooked flour frosting, or heritage frosting, is a classic and lesser-known type of frosting used to adorn cakes and other baked goods. What sets Ermine Frosting apart from more common frostings like buttercream or cream cheese is its unique preparation and characteristics.

Here’s how Ermine Frosting is typically made:


  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Flavorings (such as vanilla extract)

How it’s made:

  1. In a saucepan, a portion of flour is mixed with milk to create a smooth paste.
  2. This paste is heated and stirred until it thickens and becomes a pudding-like consistency. It’s crucial to prevent lumps from forming during this process.
  3. The cooked paste is then cooled to room temperature, ensuring it doesn’t transfer excess heat to the other ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, softened butter and sugar are creamed together until light and fluffy.
  5. Once the flour and milk mixture has cooled, it’s gradually incorporated into the butter and sugar mixture.
  6. The frosting is beaten until it reaches a silky, smooth, and light consistency.
  7. Flavorings like vanilla extract can be added for additional flavor.

Ermine Frosting is known for its subtle, sweet flavor, which is not overly sugary like many other frostings. It has a velvety texture and a lightness that pairs well with various cakes and cupcakes. This frosting is an excellent choice for those who prefer a less sweet and more delicate topping for their baked goods.

Ermine Frosting is also quite versatile and can be tinted with food coloring or flavored in various ways to suit your specific needs and preferences. It’s a delightful addition to classic and vintage recipes and is making a resurgence in popularity for those who appreciate its unique qualities.


Why you will love Ermine Frosting?

  • Light and Silky Texture: Ermine Frosting has a remarkably light and silky texture that’s velvety smooth. It’s less dense than buttercream and not as heavy as some other frostings, making it a delightful choice for those who prefer a lighter finish.
  • Balanced Sweetness: Unlike some frostings that can be overwhelmingly sweet, Ermine Frosting offers a balanced sweetness that enhances your baked goods without overpowering them.
  • Versatility: Ermine Frosting is a versatile frosting that pairs well with a wide range of cakes and cupcakes. You can easily adapt it by adding different flavorings or food coloring to match your dessert’s theme or taste.
  • Flavor Absorption: Ermine Frosting has the ability to absorb the flavors of your cake, creating a harmonious blend of tastes. This quality can make it a fantastic complement to various cake flavors.
  • Vintage Charm: Ermine Frosting has a charming, vintage quality that adds a touch of nostalgia to your desserts. It’s a great choice for those looking to recreate classic or heritage recipes.
  • Smooth Finish: When applied to cakes and cupcakes, Ermine Frosting creates a smooth, polished finish that’s visually appealing and enhances the overall presentation.
  • Not Overly Rich: If you’re not a fan of frostings that are overly rich or heavy, Ermine Frosting is an excellent alternative that adds a layer of indulgence without feeling too overwhelming.
  • Homemade Goodness: Making Ermine Frosting from scratch allows you to have control over the ingredients, ensuring that you’re using quality, natural components without any artificial additives.
  • Low Effort, High Reward: Ermine Frosting is relatively easy to prepare and doesn’t require complex techniques or equipment. It offers a satisfying result without the need for intricate decorating skills.
  • Resurgence in Popularity: Ermine Frosting is experiencing a resurgence in popularity as more people discover and appreciate its unique qualities, making it a trendy choice for modern bakers.

In summary, Ermine Frosting is a delightful option for those who appreciate a frosting that’s light, smooth, and not overly sweet. Its versatility, vintage charm, and ability to enhance the flavors of your desserts make it a favorite among those who value both taste and aesthetics in their baked creations.


Ermine Frosting Recipe


  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 cups or 4 sticks for a richer version)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or other flavorings of your choice)


1. Prepare the Flour and Milk Mixture:

  • In a saucepan, whisk together the flour and milk until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps.

2. Cook the Mixture:

  • Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook the flour and milk mixture, stirring continuously. The mixture will thicken and develop a pudding-like consistency. This typically takes about 5-7 minutes. Ensure there are no lumps. Once thickened, remove it from the heat.

3. Cool the Mixture:

  • Allow the cooked flour and milk mixture to cool to room temperature. It’s important that it’s completely cool before proceeding to the next step.

4. Cream the Butter and Sugar:

  • In a separate mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is light, fluffy, and slightly pale in color. This may take several minutes.

5. Combine the Mixtures:

  • Gradually add the cooled flour and milk mixture to the butter and sugar. Mix well after each addition. Continue to blend until the frosting is smooth and fully combined. This may take a few minutes.

6. Flavor and Finish:

  • Stir in the vanilla extract or other flavorings of your choice to add flavor to your frosting. Mix until well incorporated.

7. Frost Your Dessert:

  • Your Ermine Frosting is now ready to use. Frost your cake, cupcakes, or other baked goods as desired.

Note: If you want to tint the frosting with food coloring or add other flavor extracts like almond or lemon, this is the time to do so.

Ermine Frosting is best used immediately to achieve its desired texture. If it becomes too soft, you can refrigerate it briefly to firm it up before frosting your baked goods. Enjoy the delightful lightness and flavor that Ermine Frosting brings to your desserts!


How to serve Ermine Frosting

Serving Ermine Frosting is a delightful part of enjoying your baked goods. Here’s how to serve Ermine Frosting:

  • Frosting on Cakes or Cupcakes: Ermine Frosting is commonly used to adorn cakes and cupcakes. To serve, spread or pipe the frosting onto your cooled and prepared cake or cupcakes. You can use a spatula, knife, or piping bag to create various decorative patterns or swirls.
  • Decorative Touch: Use Ermine Frosting to add a decorative touch to your dessert. You can pipe rosettes, swirls, or other designs on top of cupcakes, creating a visually appealing presentation.
  • Flavor Variations: Ermine Frosting can be flavored in various ways. You can add extracts like vanilla, almond, or citrus to complement your baked goods. The flavor should enhance and complement the overall taste of your dessert.
  • Tinting: If you wish to add color to the frosting, use food coloring to achieve the desired hue. Tint the frosting in advance to ensure it’s evenly colored before decorating.
  • Pairing: Ermine Frosting is versatile and pairs well with a variety of cake flavors. Serve it with your favorite cake, whether it’s chocolate, vanilla, red velvet, or a fruit-based cake.
  • Texture: Appreciate the silky, velvety texture of Ermine Frosting, which adds a lovely contrast to your baked goods. The frosting should be light, smooth, and not overly sweet.
  • Room Temperature: Ermine Frosting is best enjoyed when it’s at room temperature. This allows its flavor and texture to be at their best. If you’ve refrigerated the frosting, allow it to come to room temperature before serving.
  • Garnishes: Enhance the presentation by adding garnishes like fresh fruit, chocolate shavings, sprinkles, or edible flowers to your dessert. These elements can make your Ermine Frosting creation even more visually appealing.

Remember that Ermine Frosting is a delightful choice for those who appreciate a lighter, less sweet frosting with a silky texture. It adds a layer of elegance to your desserts and complements a wide range of baked goods. Whether you’re serving it for a special occasion or an everyday treat, Ermine Frosting can be a lovely addition to your dessert repertoire.


How to store Ermine Frosting

Storing Ermine Frosting properly is important to maintain its texture and quality. Here’s how to store Ermine Frosting:

  1. Refrigeration: If you’re not using the frosting immediately, place it in an airtight container. Ensure that the frosting is tightly sealed to prevent it from absorbing odors from the refrigerator. Ermine Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
  2. Freezing (for Longer Storage): Ermine Frosting can be frozen if you need to store it for an extended period. To freeze, place the frosting in an airtight container or resealable freezer bags. Make sure to squeeze out any excess air. Ermine Frosting can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
  3. Thawing: When you’re ready to use refrigerated or frozen Ermine Frosting, transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw overnight or for several hours. Allow the frosting to come to room temperature before using it. Gently stir or rewhip the frosting to restore its smooth consistency.
  4. Avoid Frequent Temperature Changes: Try to avoid frequent temperature changes. If you’ve refrigerated the frosting, keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it, and avoid taking it in and out of the fridge.
  5. Freshen Up: Before using refrigerated or thawed Ermine Frosting, it may benefit from a quick rewhip with a mixer to restore its light and silky texture. This can help ensure that the frosting is as fluffy and smooth as when you first made it.

Proper storage of Ermine Frosting will help maintain its quality and ensure that it’s ready to use when you need it for your baked goods. Whether you’re preparing it in advance or dealing with leftover frosting, these storage guidelines will help preserve its delightful characteristics.

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Tips to make perfect Ermine Frosting

Making perfect Ermine Frosting requires some attention to detail and a few key tips to ensure that it turns out silky, smooth, and delicious. Here are some tips for achieving the perfect Ermine Frosting:

  1. Cool the Flour and Milk Mixture Completely: After cooking the flour and milk to create a paste, it’s essential to allow it to cool to room temperature before combining it with the butter and sugar. This ensures that the frosting has the right consistency and doesn’t melt the butter.
  2. Use High-Quality Ingredients: Quality butter, fresh milk, and pure vanilla extract can make a significant difference in the flavor and texture of your frosting. Opt for the best ingredients available.
  3. Cream Butter and Sugar Thoroughly: Cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light, fluffy, and slightly pale in color. This can take several minutes, but it’s essential for a smooth, airy frosting.
  4. Stir Gradually: When adding the cooled flour and milk mixture to the creamed butter and sugar, do so gradually. Mix well after each addition. This step helps prevent lumps and ensures the frosting’s smooth texture.
  5. Vanilla Extract or Flavorings: While vanilla extract is a popular choice, you can also experiment with other flavorings like almond, citrus zest, or espresso for a unique twist. Just remember that a little goes a long way.
  6. Refrigeration for Firmness: If your Ermine Frosting is too soft for your liking, you can refrigerate it for a short time to firm it up before frosting your cakes or cupcakes. Be cautious not to over-chill it.
  7. Avoid Over-Whipping: Over-whipping Ermine Frosting can lead to a denser texture. Once you achieve a smooth, silky consistency, stop mixing to avoid overworking it.
  8. Coloring: If you want to add food coloring to the frosting, do so after the frosting is complete and well-mixed. Gel food colors are preferred because they won’t affect the frosting’s consistency.
  9. Enjoy Immediately: Ermine Frosting is best used right after preparation for its ideal texture. If you’re not using it immediately, store it properly, and rewhip it gently before applying to your dessert.

By following these tips, you can create a perfect batch of Ermine Frosting that’s light, smooth, and enhances the taste of your cakes and cupcakes. It’s a versatile and elegant choice for those who appreciate a frosting that’s not overly sweet and has a delightful texture.



Q1: My Ermine Frosting is too thin and runny. What should I do?

  • Troubleshooting Tip: If your frosting is too thin, it may be due to warm ingredients or overmixing. To thicken it, you can refrigerate the frosting for a short time (15-30 minutes) to allow it to firm up. Then, gently rewhip the frosting to restore its texture.

Q2: Why does my Ermine Frosting have lumps in it?

  • Troubleshooting Tip: Lumps in Ermine Frosting can occur if the flour and milk paste wasn’t fully smooth or if the mixture wasn’t cooked long enough to thicken properly. To avoid lumps, ensure your flour and milk mixture is smooth, and cook it until it has a pudding-like consistency.

Q3: How can I fix grainy Ermine Frosting?

  • Troubleshooting Tip: Grainy frosting can happen if the sugar isn’t fully dissolved. To fix it, ensure the sugar is well-creamed with the butter before adding the flour and milk mixture. If the frosting remains grainy, you can gently heat it while stirring until the sugar dissolves, then cool and rewhip.

Q4: My frosting looks curdled. What went wrong?

  • Troubleshooting Tip: Curdled frosting can result from ingredients that are too cold or if you overmix the frosting. To fix curdled frosting, allow it to come to room temperature, and then gently rewhip it to restore its smoothness.

Q5: Can I make Ermine Frosting in advance and refrigerate it for later use?

  • Trouleshooting Tip: Yes, you can prepare Ermine Frosting in advance and store it in the refrigerator for a few days. When ready to use, allow it to come to room temperature and rewhip it for a smooth consistency.

Q6: Can I add food coloring to Ermine Frosting?

  • Troubleshooting Tip: Yes, you can add food coloring to Ermine Frosting for different colors. It’s best to use gel food coloring, as it won’t affect the frosting’s consistency. Add the coloring after the frosting is well-mixed.

Q7: My frosting has an odd flavor. What might have caused this?

  • Troubleshooting Tip: An unusual flavor in your frosting might result from using low-quality ingredients, expired ingredients, or not properly cooling the flour and milk mixture. Ensure you’re using fresh, high-quality ingredients and cool the paste to room temperature before mixing it with the butter and sugar.

Q8: Can Ermine Frosting be used in high-heat environments or outdoor settings?

  • Troubleshooting Tip: Ermine Frosting is best suited for indoor settings with controlled temperatures. It can be sensitive to high heat and may soften or melt in warm conditions. If used in warmer environments, consider stabilizing it with a small amount of cornstarch.

These FAQs and troubleshooting tips should help you address common issues and ensure that your Ermine Frosting turns out perfect. Ermine Frosting is a wonderful choice for those who appreciate its unique texture and subtle sweetness.

Nutrition information

Ermine Frosting is primarily made from common kitchen ingredients like flour, milk, butter, sugar, and flavorings. The nutritional content of Ermine Frosting can vary depending on the specific recipe and the quantities used. Below is a general estimate of the nutritional content for a typical serving of Ermine Frosting (about 2 tablespoons):

  • Calories: Approximately 100-150 calories per serving.
  • Fat: Around 8-12 grams of fat, primarily from butter and any fats in the milk.
  • Carbohydrates: Approximately 7-10 grams of carbohydrates, primarily from sugar.
  • Protein: Minimal protein, typically less than 1 gram per serving.
  • Sugar: Ermine Frosting contains a moderate amount of sugar, usually 6-8 grams per serving, although it can vary based on the recipe.
  • Fiber: Ermine Frosting contains minimal dietary fiber.
  • Cholesterol: The frosting may contain a moderate amount of cholesterol due to the butter and any fats in the milk. This can vary based on the recipe.

Keep in mind that these values are general estimates, and the actual nutritional content of your Ermine Frosting may differ depending on the specific recipe and quantities used. If you require precise nutritional information, it’s best to calculate it based on the exact ingredients and quantities you use in your Ermine Frosting recipe.

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