Ermine Frosting, also known as milk frosting, flour buttercream, flour frosting, or $300 Dollar Frosting is a silky smooth frosting made from a cooked milk and flour mixture, sugar, and butter. It is made without eggs and is traditionally used to frost red velvet cake. But, don’t stop there; its light and airy texture is perfect as a topping for a variety of cakes and cupcakes.

Ermine Frosting in a Bowl.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Milk: For a richer and creamier frosting, use whole milk or 2% milk. If substituting milk that is lower in fat, the frosting may be less creamy and more watery.

Flour: Use all-purpose flour for best results. Cooking the flour with milk forms a roux that results in a more stable frosting. It also ensures that the flour has been fully cooked.

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. Confectioners’ sugar may not dissolve properly and can result in a gritty texture. Sugar also helps sweeten the frosting.

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. Or, try adding almond extract or citrus zest for a different flavor profile.

Adding Milk and Flour to Saucepan to Make Ermine - $300 Frosting.

What is the Difference Between Ermine Frosting and Buttercream?

Although both are popular types of frosting, Ermine frosting and buttercream differ in a few ways. First of all, ermine frosting is made with a cooked mixture of flour and milk, creating a roux. There is no cooking in buttercream. Another difference is the sugar used. Granulated sugar is added to ermine frosting with confectioners’ sugar is usually used in buttercream. Finally, ermine icing has a silkier texture when compared with buttercream’s more dense consistency.

Warm Butter and Granulated Sugar in a Mixing Bowl to Make Ermine - $300 Frosting.

How to Store Ermine Frosting

Ermine frosting should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last up to a week. 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 Spice Cake Covered in Ermine - $300 Frosting.
Overhead Image of Pieces of Spice Cake Covered in Ermine - $300 Frosting and Cut.
5 from 33 votes

Ermine Frosting

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Ermine Frosting, also known as milk frosting, flour buttercream, or $300 frosting is a silky smooth frosting made from a cooked milk and flour mixture, sugar, and butter. It is perfectly sweet!


  • 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
  • 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.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • 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 7-8 minutes, or until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
    Ermine Frosting in a Bowl.

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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 have been making this for over 50 years, The original called for half shortening, half butter. I would add chocobake sometimes, or any number of flavoring extracts. I listed it in my cook book as “bakery style buttercream frosting”. It has adorned countess bake PTA bake sale cupcakes that sold out as soon as they were put out.

    1. Yes, Jane, my grandmother passed it down, but called it “Mock Whipped Cream”. Sh put it on a moist chocolate cake. Everyone loved it bc it wasn’t sugary sweet. I’ve been making it with 4Hers for almost 40 years. One of our boys called it “Patience Frosting”.

    2. What about a vegan Ermine frosting? I am lactose intolerant but use many vegan products. They make my life easier.

    3. I have made this icing for 40 years. I fpund the recipe inmy make a mix cookbook. I have handed the recipe down to my daughter. She loves it for summer cakes served outdoors

    1. Caroline, I have been making this frosting for many, many years. It is NOT as sweet as buttercream frosting. The first time I made it, I did not let the roux cool completely and ruined everything, because the butter was melting as I whipped it. This is just a novice’s mistake and I learned my lesson. This frosting goes very well with almost any cake.

    2. To me, it is not as sweet. Like the previous responder stated, I too have been using this same recipe for more than 50 years. It is my go-to frosting for devil’s food cake and I also add marshmallow crème to fill my clothespin cookies

  2. makes a large batch, had tons left over for cupcakes 1 dozen. The only thing i can’t seen to get past is the flour lumps in the milk, i beat frosting for double the time 15 minutes, it still had the bits of lumps, but flavor and color texture etc, is wonderful

    1. You really have to get the lumps out when mixing with the milk. Really beat it with your spoon then. No lumps once you add to other mixture or they won’t beat out no matter how long you beat it.

  3. I started using this frosting on Red Velvet Cakes at least 38 years ago. It’s
    delicious on coconut cakes, sprinkled with coconut and so pretty on a slice of Black Forest cakes. Since I don’t care much for cream cheese frostings this will always be my favorite. It’s not too sweet, but very lite and spreads so easy. I can eat it on any cake.

  4. This is our favorite frosting. One time made it with butter instead of real margarine and it never whipped up More I beat it, the runnier and curdled it got. What did I do wrong?

  5. One of several names aka flour frosting,Cooked buttercream, and Heritage frosting. There is a chocolate version also. Don’t know if there is any other flavors. The name for this frosting varys due to your location.

  6. My mother gave me the recipe for the original New York Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake with the icing just like this one. As for the comments on your IG page, put this on whatever you like and whip it good to get those lumps out =)

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