Chocolate Ermine Frosting is a silky smooth chocolate frosting made by cooking a milk and flour mixture and mixing it with butter, sugar, and cocoa powder. It is based on Ermine Frosting, or $300 Dollar Frosting, but with added cocoa powder for the chocolate flavor. Don’t worry, this frosting will not cost you $300, but it is a delicious and versatile frosting for cakes and cupcakes, as a filling, and even as a dip!

Chocolate Ermine Frosting in Bowl of Stand Mixer.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Milk: For a smoother and creamier frosting, it’s recommended to use whole milk or 2% milk. However, if you opt for lower-fat milk alternatives, the frosting may turn out less creamy and more watery.

Flour: For the best outcome, it’s best to use all-purpose flour. Cooking the flour with milk makes a roux that gives a more stable frosting and makes sure the flour is fully cooked. You can use gluten-free flour, but some readers have said the frosting is not quite as smooth.

Butter: Butter is an essential ingredient in ermine frosting as it adds flavor and creates a smooth and creamy texture. Use unsalted butter for the best results.

Sugar: It’s important to use granulated sugar in ermine frosting. It gets creamed with butter and cocoa powder, so there is no need to worry about grittiness!

Cocoa Powder: For a richer depth of flavor and darker color, use Dutch-processed cocoa powder. You can substitute regular unsweetened cocoa powder, but the frosting will be a lighter color and lack the depth of flavor.

Vanilla: Vanilla extract is added to the frosting to enhance the flavor. However, you could leave it out if you don’t have any on hand.

Steps for making Chocolate Ermine Frosting in Stand Mixer.

Chocolate Ermine Frosting vs. Chocolate Buttercream

Although similar, there are a few differences between chocolate ermine frosting and chocolate buttercream. Chocolate ermine frosting, which is also known as milk frosting, flour buttercream, or flour frosting, is made by first creating a roux by cooking flour and milk together.

In contrast, there is no cooking involved in making buttercream. Additionally, buttercream uses confectioners’ sugar rather than granulated sugar. Lastly, chocolate ermine frosting has a silkier texture compared to buttercream, which tends to be denser. Both are delicious options for decorating your sweet treats.

Partially frosted yellow cake using Chocolate Ermine Frosting.

How to Store Chocolate Ermine Frosting

Chocolate Ermine frosting will be great at room temperature for about a day. After that, it should be refrigerated. Ermine frosting will last up to a week in the refrigerator. When ready to use, let it sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Then, re-whip it to restore its smooth texture. This frosting can be frozen for up to 3 months, but freezing it could affect the texture. When thawed, whip it up to restore its texture.

Pieces of Yellow Cake with Chocolate Ermine Frosting on Them.

More Ermine Frostings

Bowl of Chocolate Ermine Frosting on Dark Cutting Board.
5 from 16 votes

Chocolate Ermine Frosting

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Chocolate Ermine Frosting is a silky smooth chocolate frosting made by cooking a milk and flour mixture and mixing it with butter, sugar, and cocoa powder.


  • 1 cup (245 g) whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks / 227 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (59 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk and flour. Cook, whisking constantly, for 3-5 minutes, or until no lumps remain and the mixture thickens and resembles a very thick pudding. It should coat the back of a spoon.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature. (The mixture will get lumpy again as it cools.)
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder on low speed until the cocoa powder is incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and mix until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the cooled milk mixture to the bowl of the stand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy (2-3 minutes), pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Switch to the whisk attachment. Add vanilla and mix on high for 8-10 minutes, or until the frosting is smooth and creamy.

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. I’ve been making this frosting my whole life (I’m 58), but never chocolate. My aunt gave this recipe to my mother many years ago, but back then she called it “poor man’s frosting”. I like it because it’s not as sweet as most frostings made with cups and cups of confectioner sugar.

  2. You are supposed to add the granulated sugar into the cooked pudding mix. If you add it to the butter the frosting will be grainy.

    1. There’s 2 ways of making this specific frosting. If you don’t add the sugar to the cooked mixture yiu have to whip/beat it very well with the butter. I find that method a better outcome for me.

  3. Do you have any tips for rescuing Ermine frosting that has broken? Not sure where I went wrong but mine was a bit too soft with tiny globs of white throughout, kinda like cake batter when you cream eggs with butter and sugar before you add the flour. Still tasted very good and was ok if I kept it in the fridge. I followed the recipe exactly and even tried re-whipping it after letting it chill in the fridge and over night. I would love to try again armed with some tips.

    1. Rewhipping is the solution. Make sure your mixer is oh high and leave it for 8-10 minutes or until you see it thicken. 🙂

    2. When I make this, I put milk and flour in a shaker bottle. I then strain it into my cooking pan. I think maybe you have little bits of flour that wasn’t smoothed completely when mixing I never get lumps in mine. I’ll jinx myself as I am making this tonight! Lol

    3. I’ve read that happens when the “pudding” is added before totally cooled. It melts it enought to “break it”. The article also Sid it was recoverable after refrigerating and re whipping. Sounds like yours did not. Hmmmm

  4. I really liked it, and my nephew asked for me to make him a cake with this frosting special for him. I have a question – I made too much cooked milk pudding, can I save it for later in some capacity? Could it stand to be frozen? Thought you may know. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. I make this all the time and I read somewhere you can freeze it. Froze it and it turned out just fine.

  5. I use ermine frosting exclusively for my cakes in lieu of buttercream. Is this chocolate ermine frosting good for designing. It looks like it has a lot of bubbles. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  6. Very informative it really looks tasty i will try it. Could you just tell me the difference between the 2 cocoa. I’m in South Africa.

  7. One suggestion. Instead of adding the sugar with the butter add it in with the flour and milk. It comes together beautifully with the butter and it will save you a lot of time mixing until the sugar melts.

    1. As the earlier commenter stated, there are 2 ways to make this. I made this frosting recipe without adding the sugar as part of the cooked mixture. I have looked for years for the difference. I will always prefer the way I originally learned the recipe 20 years ago. She’s not doing it wrong or less ‘good’, it’s just a different way.

  8. Thank you so much! The recipe was perfect for what I wanted, an old fashioned yellow cake with chocolate (not too sweet) frosting.

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