Ermine Frosting
Ermine Frosting

An old-fashioned, velvety, not-too-sweet buttercream. Perfect for frosting layered cakes or squirting on cupcakes.

Ready to decorate a cake? Take a page from the past and make Ermine Frosting, an exceptionally silky buttercream frosting made by boiling milk, flour, and sugar, then whisking with butter.

The result is a deliciously smooth frosting that’s perfect for spreading on birthday cakes or adding decorative details. If this frosting recipe isn’t part of your baking portfolio, it should be!

My mom remembers my grandmother making it, only with Crisco instead of butter (it was the 1950s, after all). But we don’t have to totally backtrack on this—for a melty mouthfeel, skip the shortening and go straight to the butter.

What is Ermine Frosting?

Ermine frosting is very similar to a Swiss meringue buttercream in that you cook a mixture, cool, and incorporate lots of butter. Both are smooth and silky.

Where’s the difference? It’s a little creamier, egg-free, and less fiddly to make. It doesn’t spread as gracefully as Swiss meringue buttercream – you may need to work out small air bubbles before applying or piping.

Still, that frosting makes up for the sensory experience. Ermine hits the palate without the chalkiness or tooth-cracking sweetness you might get from an American powdered buttercream.

You can color this any color you like, just like regular buttercream. By itself it is an ivory color, not a pure white.

Ways to taste ermine frosting

Ermine frosting is appealing in its simplicity, but you can easily customize it with other flavors alongside or in addition to vanilla.

  • White chocolate: Add up to 4 ounces of chopped white chocolate to the milk paste when you remove it from the heat. stir until the chocolate has melted.
  • Fruity: Add up to 3 tablespoons of tinned fruit (more than that and the glaze could crack).
  • Coffee: Add 1 tablespoon of instant espresso powder to the flour paste after removing it from the heat; Stir until dissolved.
  • Chocolate: Before making the milk paste, stir in up to 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder with the sugar, flour, and salt. Or add up to 4 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate to the milk paste once you remove it from the heat; stir until the chocolate has melted.
  • mocha: Before making the milk paste, stir in up to 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder with the sugar, flour, and salt. Add 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder to the flour paste after removing it from the heat and beat until dissolved.
  • Cream cheese: Substitute an 8-ounce (244-gram) block of cream cheese for a stick (115 grams) of butter. You can swap directly without having to add extra sugar.
  • Almond: Replace the vanilla extract with 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.

Bug fix for ermine frosting

This icing gets softer and greasy when the weather is hot — it’s best to frost or pipe it in a kitchen that’s around 65-70°F. A cake decorated with ermine glaze can remain in this temperature range for up to 3 days. If it’s hotter than 70°F, the frosting will soften and appear greasy. In this case, you should keep them in the refrigerator.

  • glaze clot: There is too much moisture causing the butter to “break”.
  • Frosting is greasy: This glaze is heat sensitive. If you decorate with the frosting and it starts to get soft and greasy, place in the fridge until it cools slightly and sets, 10-30 minutes. If it is warm in your kitchen, you should keep cakes in the refrigerator after decorating.
  • Frosting has little bubbles in it: This can be a nuisance when you whistle! Before you fill your piping bag, try working the frosting with a silicone spatula on the side of the bowl to draw out any air bubbles.

Frosting in a snap

Here are all the pros and cons of ermine frosting – how it looks, tastes, prep tips, and more.

  • Taste: Cute
  • Texture: Satiny, creamy, rich
  • Piping: Whistles well unless it gets warm
  • Works best on: Layer cakes, cupcakes, sheet cakes
  • expenditure of time: About 20 minutes active time
  • Get ahead: Refrigerate up to 3 days before decorating. Bring to room temperature and beat for 2 minutes before using. Cakes can be decorated with it up to a day in advance.
  • Freezer friendly: Freeze up to 3 months.
  • Vegan variant: Use unsweetened all-plant milk and high-quality vegan butter.

Benefits of Ermine Frosting

  • Smooth
  • Sweet, but not as sweet as traditional American buttercream made with powdered sugar.
  • egg free
  • Sounds good
  • whistle good

Cons of Ermine Frosting

  • Not good in hot environments
  • Easiest to make with an electric mixer, but can also be made by hand
  • Not gluten free

More icing recipes to try

  • How to make Swiss meringue
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
  • Extra rich chocolate icing

Ermine Frosting

preparation time
5 minutes

cooking time
10 mins

cooling time
60 minutes

total time
75 minutes

to 3 cups of frosting

You can make this vegan by using unsweetened plant-based milk and high-quality vegan butter.

This recipe makes about 3 cups of frosting; enough to generously frost 2 (9 inch) rounds or 2 to 3 dozen cupcakes. When in doubt, make extra frosting as you can always freeze leftovers.


  • 2/3 cup (150G) sugar

  • 1/4 cup (40G) all purpose flour

  • prize Salt

  • 1 Cup milk

  • 1 cup (2 chopsticks/226 grams) unsalted buttersoftened

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Make milk paste:

    In a medium non-heated saucepan, whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt. Stir in the milk slowly. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes.

    Eventually, the mixture will slowly boil and thicken; it should be the consistency of pudding or a thick white sauce.

  2. Pour milk paste into a bowl and let cool:

    Scrape the milk paste into a bowl, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface, and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.

  3. Beat in butter:

    In a large bowl add the butter. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Get the milk paste out of the fridge.

    Continue beating the butter and add the cooled milk paste 1 tablespoon at a time. Wait for the first addition to be fully incorporated before adding more.

    Periodically stop to scrape down the bowl with a silicone spatula. All in all, it takes about 5 minutes to incorporate the milk paste into the butter.

  4. Add the vanilla extract:

    When all of the milk paste is incorporated, add the vanilla, then beat on high speed for 2 minutes to fluff the glaze.

  5. Use or save:

    Use the frosting immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

    Allow the chilled ermine glaze to soften slightly before whipping until fluffy and smooth, then proceed to decorate. You can also freeze the buttercream for up to 6 months.

nutritional information (per serving)
827 calories
63g Fat
64g carbohydrates
5g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!