The Best Frosting

I am rarely left speechless {if you are my husband you are seriously nodding your head right about now}. I like to talk {husband still nodding}. To dissect the details of important matters, such as great toenail polish and food {husband falling asleep}. However, after taking a taste of this frosting, I was left completely speechless. No words. None. Just absolute, incredible tastebud bliss {husband shocked into silence himself}.

It is the best frosting I have ever tasted in my life.

You might have seen the phenomenon of this type of frosting swirling around. I tried the Tasty Kitchen version (highlighted by the Pioneer Woman) twice, and both times it was a disaster. I had given up on the so-called miracle of flour-based frostings until I saw and made this latest version.

It left me weak and trembling.

The Best Frosting

And do you know what tops it all? There is a chocolate version. Oh, heaven help me.

I slathered this frosting on the most decadent cake I’ve made to date (posting tomorrow!) and I can’t begin to describe the magical web of fluffy, creamy sweetness that is beholden in this frosting. I am a self-professed frosting hater, which makes my testimonial of this frosting all the stronger. I abhor the greasy, filmy, overly-sugary taste of traditional buttercream. Even the adventurous seven-minute/marshmallow frostings of the world leave me wanting.

But this frosting…well, it belongs in The Best Recipe section no doubt about that. My search for the perfect frosting is over. I’ll be honest, it is a little more work and requires a bit more planning than throwing butter and powdered sugar together in a mixer but I’m promising you here and now that the results are worth every minute. The real issue now becomes making sure any of this frosting actually makes it to the cake before being inhaled by my little lips.

The Best Frosting

One Year Ago: Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

The Best Frosting

Yield: Makes about 4 cups frosting (plenty for two 9-inch cake layers)

The Best Frosting

Note: this frosting takes a bit of advance planning since the frosting needs time to cool so plan ahead! Originally, I put a note on here that was included in the original recipe that the frosting keeps in the refrigerator and then can be rewhipped, but I had to delete that note because every time I have tried it, it has been a major bust. After I have refrigerated it and rewhipped, it separates and never becomes satiny and delicious again. You may find different results but in good faith I have to say that in my experience, this frosting is best made and used fresh. Finally, I pipe a lot of cakes for my kids’ birthdays (think: Spiderman covered in Wilton stars) and although I haven’t tried it, I highly suspect that an hour or so of chilling time will lend this frosting nicely to being piped. When I try it, because I will, I’ll update the recipe with my notes.

This frosting is so magically delicious, it would be perfect on everything from sugar cookies to pumpkin bars to cake. Options are endless!


  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1% with stellar results)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 24 tablespoons (3 sticks) butter, cut into 24 pieces and softened at room temperature


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium saucepan and pour the milk mixture through the strainer into the saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils and is thick enough that it starts to become difficult to easily whisk. This could take anywhere between 5-10 minutes, depending on your stove, heat, etc. It should bubble quite a bit at the end (be careful of the splatters) and thicken considerably.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and cool to room temperature – this is extremely important! If it is even slightly warm, the frosting won’t beat up properly. I refrigerated my initial mixture overnight. If you do this, make sure to pull it out in time to let it warm back up to room temperature. If you try to proceed with the rest of the recipe and the mixture is too cold, the butter won’t absorb into the frosting like it should.
  3. Once the frosting is completely cooled to room temperature (it should have no hint of warmth at all!), beat the mixture with the vanilla on low speed until it is well combined, about 30 seconds (a stand mixer will work best for this). Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat the frosting until all the butter has been incorporated fully, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and let the mixer work it’s magic. Beat the frosting for five minutes, until it is light and fluffy. Let the frosting sit at room temperature until it is a bit more stiff, about 1 hour. I suspect if you chill it for an hour or so, it would be stiff enough to actually pipe with instead of frosting with a rubber spatula.


Chocolate Version: Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt mixture in the first step. Once the frosting has been mixed for five minutes and is light and fluffy, mix in 3 ounces of semisweet chocolate that has been melted and completely cooled to room temperature.

Note: I made the chocolate version a few days after I originally posted this recipe and it is delicious! The color wasn’t quite as dark as I was hoping for; it definitely made for a lighter-colored chocolate frosting but the chocolate flavor is deep and terrific. I increased the melted chocolate to 4 ounces when I made it and may even do 5 ounces next time.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook’s Country Oct/Nov 2010

660 Responses to The Best Frosting {a.k.a. Magical Frosting}

  1. I’ve been looking for a good frosting recipe to use on some black forest cupcakes instead of whipped cream, and I think this is the one!
    I’ve heard this type of frosting be called “mock whipped cream” before, does it taste a lot like whipped cream? Or should I sub some of the milk for heavy cream? I want to achieve a somewhat whipped cream taste, but want something more interesting than just a chantilly cream!

  2. La Traviata says:

    Lovely! I want to make the chocolate version, but we love milk chocolate and dislike dark chocolate. I would have said we hate dark chocolate, but in this case it would have cake attached to it, so at least we’d like the cakey bits. Anyway, couldn’t one use milk chocolate instead of semisweet? Any suggestions for adjusting the recipe to make rich milk chocolate frosting?
    Thanks for this. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    • Mel says:

      Actually, the chocolate version is quite light and creamy. I’d still use the semisweet chocolate chips – it doesn’t lend an overly bittersweet chocolate taste to the frosting.

  3. suzanne says:

    hi, Can we dispense the flour or Is there an alternative to it?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Suzanne – the flour is necessary to this recipe. You’d have to experiment if you wanted to leave it out or sub another ingredient.

      • David says:

        I don’t have a problem with the flour but I was thinking, maybe could substitute coconut flour for the white flour. 🙂

  4. Christine says:

    Hi, if I made a cake used this frosting inside and covered in fondant on a Wednesday would the frosting keep ok if I didn’t cut the cake Saturday?

  5. Ben says:

    When beating the frosting, do you use the paddle or the whisk attachment?

  6. Paula says:

    Mel: does this frosting crust? Would it work on a wedding cake?

  7. Dianna says:

    I see there is caramel version of this frosting. Have you heard of it or know how to make it? Can’t wait to try it!



  9. Emily says:

    I don’t know if someone has already commented on this but I just used this recipe last night to make cupcakes in a slight panic because I didn’t have any frosting, with an hour to go and then realized it takes a lot of time to cool down/warm back up, etc. I would just like to note that instead of waiting for the frosting to cool down on its own, I put it in the fridge for 5 minutes and the freezer for probably about 30, and it turned out great (in my opinion). I will probably even do that next time even if I am not short on time.

  10. Amy says:

    Hi, I am making this frosting for my daughters birthday on Sunday. I would like to make it and frost the cake on Saturday. Will the frosting be ok to do that ahead? I see you say don’t make the frosting ahead then try to beat it back together, but if its already together and on the cake will that be ok?

    • Farah.F says:

      Hi Amy, from my experience yes it should stay fine in the refrigerator. I used this frosting on cupcakes for my son’s birthday. I made them a day ahead and they were all good the next day. The cold frosting even tasted better actually 🙂
      Good luck.

    • Mel says:

      Yes, Amy, that should work great! I’ve done that several times. I usually refrigerate the frosted cake and pull it out several hours before serving so the frosting can soften up a bit.

  11. Gina says:

    Hi Mel,love your page! I’m trying to make this frosting and my issue is i think i cooked the moisture out of it because it turned into crumbs-lol- i think thats a no-no! Please help.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Gina, not sure what happened, sorry! You’d have to cook it an awfully long time to cook out all the moisture – are you sure you added all the liquid called for in the recipe? Did it turn to crumbs while cooking on the stove or later when you mixed in the butter?

      • Gina says:

        i realized that i did not use enough milk lol-tried again and it came out perfect! Thanks Mel.I also made the chocolate cake last week-to die for! Keep the recipes coming they are fabulous.Merry Christmas

  12. Suzanne says:

    Hi! This is my all-time favorite frosting recipe, but I’m not an experienced enough baker to know how to correctly adjust recipes (I am, however, an expert at INcorrectly adjusting recipes). My soon-to-be six-year-old has requested a vanilla cake with strawberry frosting.

    Is there a way to add strawberry puree to this frosting without it becoming runny and/or off-putting??

    • Mel says:

      The key with this frosting, in my opinion, is to add any extra liquid to the beginning step (cooking the flour mixture). I haven’t tried it but I wonder if you could replace some of the liquid with strawberry puree at the beginning?

  13. Rachel says:

    I was wondering if I could substitute liquid stevia for the sugar? I wouldn’t normally question it but I’m not sure if the sugar does more than sweeten in this case (texture, bulking, etc.)

    • Mel says:

      That’s a good question, Rachel, but I’m afraid I don’t know the answer. You’d have to experiment to find out (or maybe someone on this thread could chime in if they’ve tried it).

  14. Kelley says:

    I’m scrolling through the comments, but haven’t come across the answer yet. Have you or do you know if anyone has had success subbing gluten free flour for the flour. I’m recently eating gluten free, but love this frosting.

  15. Yan Ling says:

    HI!! OMG can i hug you/ kill you? I have been looking for the perfect frosting since forever because i always try the American Buttercream but am always disappointed by the sweetness/grittiness. This cream is sweet and fluffy but the sweetness is not overpowering and makes one want to try more 😀 I am thinking of adding various flavors to this frosting, for example, some salted caramel. I will update you on the results later! Thanks!

  16. JK says:

    Hi, I looked through the comments for this, but I don’t have time to read all of them all the way back in time.
    I was hoping for a little more detail on the “difficult to easily whisk” step – I think “difficult” depends a bit on endurance levels and determination factor. 🙂 How would you describe the consistency of the mixture at the point when it’s thick enough to take off the heat – chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, paste?

  17. Miriam says:

    I live in Israel and we don’t have the same butter sticks as you have in the States. do you know the exact weight/grams/ml for the butter needed (24 tablespoons (3 sticks) butter, cut into 24 pieces and softened at room temperature)?

    • Mel says:

      One stick of butter is 4 ounces.

      • Liz says:

        Your recipe was amazing but a but on the salty side. I may leave out the 1/4 teaspoon of salt or use unsalted butter next time. What do you suggest?

        • Mel says:

          Either of those suggestions sounds like it could help – I haven’t tried either one since I like the recipe as written but it’s worth experimenting to see. Good luck!

        • Rags says:

          I use unsalted butter in all my frostings and baked goods. That way you control the salt. I made this recipe for my sister and forgot to add the salt and it came out perfect. The salt helps to cut the sugar so the frosting isn’t overly sweet.

  18. Kathleen Herman says:

    I will definitely have to give this a try. I am a HUGE fan of whipped icing, and I seriously cannot find a recipe that compares to an icing I tried several years ago made by someone who won’t give up the recipe. I HATE that. It was like whipped cream, but not whipped cream. I don’t think I will ever get it, but I definitely want to give this one a try.

  19. danni says:

    I love the idea of having a frosting that is not super thick or super sweet, like most of the buttercreams that I’ve made in the past. I like that this is light and fluffy. I did add some whipped cream cheese at the very last stage, because I thought it wasn’t actually sweet enough. I also added maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar at the end and let it all whip in together. It was delish! Thanks for sharing!

  20. Dorothy says:

    I’ve made the PW’s version several times and this is superior. Cooking the sugar with the milk instead of adding it later makes it smoother. I’ve also been recently diagnosed with wheat/gluten intolerance, so I used GF flour (Krusteaz Gluten-free AP Flour). It worked very well! Once it was ready, I also stirred some lemon curd into the portion used between the layers. Delish!

  21. Maryam says:

    Looks yum!
    Question! Will whole cream milk work in place of 1% milk?

    • Mel says:

      Yes, I think you could sub in 2% or whole milk with good results.

      • Gina says:

        I just made this frosting with mostly 2%milk. I put about 3 tbs of evaporated milk and the rest was 2%. (I thought it might need more fat?) It came out awesome! It’s going on my daughters birthday cupcakes. She said this frosting is what clouds would taste like. So light and creamy! great recipe.

  22. Tara says:

    Oh yum! What a great recipe! For years I’ve wanted an Icing recipe that isn’t sickly sweet and here it is! Absolutely divine! I didn’t have enough butter so I used margarine and still incredible and light. So I wonder how much better it would be with butter! Thank you for this. It will be used frequently in the future!

  23. CJ says:

    Hi Mel! I hate to say it, but this was the worst frosting I’ve ever made. It was for a birthday cake, and everyone commented on how it just tastes like butter. I made the chocolate version and it came together well, but the flavor was horrible. I’ve made the Pioneer Woman version, I think I’ll have to stick to that one in future. I was really disappointed, I wanted it to be great! Any ideas on why the flavor was off?

    • Mel says:

      Not sure, CJ. Sorry you didn’t like it – it must boil down to personal preference since this is a favorite for us. Did you whip it for the amount of time in the recipe? I’ve found the long whipping time helps balance the flavor.

  24. Lien says:

    I think the quality of butter and chocolate play a big part in this recipe. Having tried both the pioneer woman’s and this recipe, I can’t see why this one would taste more buttery as I do not like the PW recipe for that very reason.

  25. Michelle says:

    Can you pipe this frosting with a pasty bag or is it betsy used to spread on cakes?

  26. Kasey says:

    I’m making a birthday cake for my father-in-law for tomorrow afternoon. Can I use this between layers of a round cake, or is it not stiff enough to work there? I have four skinny layers (about half an inch) planned. Thoughts?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kasey – I use this between cake layers all the time! I hope this worked out for you.

      • Kasey says:

        It was perfect! I even added a little food coloring to two smaller batches and piped rosettes and a Happy Birthday message. No chilling of the frosting required! If I knew how to include a picture, I would. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

  27. Kristy says:

    Can this be made to be peanut butter. I have used this as is and love, love, LOVE it. Just didn’t know if it would work and if so what would I have to do to adapt it to make it PB.
    Thank you so much

    • Mel says:

      I’ve never tried a peanut butter version but maybe you could decrease the butter by a few tablespoons and mix in 1/2 cup peanut butter at the end while whipping the frosting?

    • Karen says:

      I haven’t tried it, but PB2 powder would probably work great!

      • Whitney says:

        I’m wondering if Kristy or Karen or anyone tried the PB version – AM LOVING THE IDEA!

        Would you guess that one might add in PB2 powder in the same way one would add in cocoa powder? IN ADDITION TO ? or INSTEAD of actual PB when adding butter?

        • Naomi says:

          So I made a peanut butter version. I added 1/4 cup slightly packed PB2 to the flour mixture. I have a 3 tier chocolate petal cake to ice and half way through making this realized I probably wouldn’t have enough frosting. This is my first time making a cooked frosting so I. Wasn’t sure but wanted to err on the too much side. So I quickly cooked up a second batch and put it in the fridge to cool for a few hours. I had left the first batch on the counter with the butter while I was at work. I also needed more volume for my mixer to work properly. It’s a 5qt bowl lift. I was getting more butter out when I realized I wouldn’t have enough. So I added all I had, about 4 1/2 sticks. It needed more fat to it and didn’t have the peanut buttery taste I was going for. So I tried adding some regular peanut butter to a small sample and it worked wonderfully. I then added 1 cup to the whole batch and is great. Still short a few tablespoons of fat so I hope it holds up okay. It’s doing it’s hour of chilling now. When I finished I couldn’t stop eating it so I guess that’s a good sign. Will update when cake is served in a day and a half. I used my family chocolate cake recipe which is quick and easy and so good. It tastes better after sitting a few days.

  28. Sundus says:

    I reduced the amount of butter by a couple tablespoons and still had great results!

  29. Zahn says:

    Hi, just saw this recipe and wish to try it. Would like to know if you can leave the cake for a few days without it spoiling. Th cake is not for a special occasion, I just like to bake and I make large cakes. Thanks, I am sooo tired of confectioner cakes like WIlton,s recipe. I will have to try it at another time though as I want to finish tonight

  30. Diana says:

    Hi Mel,

    I LOOVE this frosting! I made it along with your unbelievable chocolate cake, and they were DELICIOUS. I am in no way an experienced baker, this is actually only my second time “baking” anything. My first time I baked a rainbow cake for my sons birthday and the frosting ended up being a total bust I just used cool whip as frosting ( lol). But I am so glad I found a frosting that is delicious, not too sweet, and overall amazing! It will be my go to. The process is not hard at all, a little time consuming but it’s worth it! Tastes better than any other frosting I’ve had (store bought) . Thanks for the recepie!

  31. Christina says:

    I would describe the taste as whipping cream mixed with white chocolate. It bountifully frosted 24 cupcakes.
    It was very good, but a few mouthfulls did leave me feeling sick (maybe it was more than a few?) I am already thinking about tweaking it with a cooked thick vanillia pudding replacing the flour & milk mixture. I think this will get rid of the “cookie dough” taste some were decribing.
    Thanks for a great recipe!

  32. Lien says:

    ^^sounds like a german buttercream.

  33. Heather says:

    Hi Mel,
    I’m wanting to use your frosting recipe on a birthday cake. Have you had luck piping this frosting?
    Thank you!

  34. Axel says:

    Mel, your frosting is perfect for me. Thnaks for this post. I will back.

  35. Reham says:

    Can i freeze this frosting?

    • Mel says:

      I wouldn’t recommend freezing this.

      • Kasey says:

        If you frost first and then freeze it once it is on a cake, you’ll have no problems. My mother-in-law froze a leftover cake (who’s ever heard of leftover cake???) I made using this frosting, and it came out just as delicious when they ate it a few weeks later.

  36. ruby says:

    Hey Mel, I’ve just finished cooking the milk and flour mixture. The consistency is as you described it should be, but the color is strangely dark! I’m a bit worried and am hoping it lightens up once I add the butter. Any ideas what may have gone wrong?

  37. Mae says:

    I DID! Thank you! You are right about how great it’ll turn out! only downside is it can’t hold shape too well.

  38. Melissa says:

    Hi Mel,

    I was wondering if I could pipe “happy birthday” on this kind of frosting since it does seems so light and airy…I am worried what ever I use may bleed into the white frosting? Can you suggest what to do? Should I frost the cake with this magical frosting and use another for the piping? Any suggestions are very much appreciated! Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Melissa – I pipe with this frosting all the time (it helps to chill it first like the recipe suggests). Once you frost the cake with white frosting, it helps to refrigerate to let that frosting harden before piping another color on top.

  39. Chelsey T says:

    A follow-up on making strawberry frosting: 6 dark strawberries mushed into milk and strained to yield 1.5 cups milk came out suuuper delish and very strawberry flavored. In all other ways like the original. However, the vanilla made the whole thing brownish, so I had to use 2 drops food coloring for pastel pink.

    Also, I tried to chill this for piping, left it in the fridge too long and had to rewhip it. It was a hot mess texture-wise after that. But still delish.

  40. Melissa says:

    Hi Mel,

    I think I have finally decided I am making this frosting and your chocolate cake for my daughter’s birthday! Will there be enough frosting from this recipe to ice a 13 x 9 sheet cake and to have some left over to add food colouring gel to pipe letters on the cake? Thank you.

    • Mel says:

      Are you frosting just the top of the 9X13 cake? If so, then yes, I think you would have enough to frost the top and do some piping.

  41. Aimee says:

    This frosting knocked my socks clean off, from here to Texas. Seriously. It’s truly magical – best frosting I’ve ever had. I’ve made it (along with your chocolate cake recipe) at least 3 times now. I’ve even told my husband not to bake me a birthday cake (which always offers to do) because I simply MUST HAVE THIS ONE!

    I have a lemon cake on the agenda, and I wonder if this frosting would work with some lemon juice and zest added to it, or whether I should just stick with a lemon buttercream / confectioners sugar-type frosting. Any thoughts? Have you ever tried it with lemon or any other flavor?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Aimee – happy to hear you love this one. I haven’t made it with lemon but I believe several people in the comment thread have with great success.

  42. MJ says:

    I made this frosting and your Unbelievable Chocolate Cake & it was wonderful!!
    Could you please tell me, how long does the frosting last in the refrigerator since it has milk in it? Thanks!!

  43. Molly says:

    “Magical Frosting” is a totally apt name for this. I was incredulous (which is silly because every recipe on this site is amazing) and I felt like an actual magician. This frosting was PERFECT. I piped it on cupcakes, and my coworkers raved about the frosting more than the cake! Thanks for giving me a new (and super impressive) go-to frosting!

  44. Payton says:

    This is a fantastic recipe. I have successfully made the chocolate version with a lot more chocolate and it was to die for. I have also reduced the 1 1/2 cup sugar to 1 1/4 cup with no issues intact for what ever reason it came out better. We are toning down on sugary stuff and find as we go lower in our sugar content we are more sensitive to it in baked goods. I’d rather focus on favors then just sweetness anyway. So if you want to reduce it even more… You can definitely do so with a 1/4 cup…. Depending on how we like it I may even try 1/8th less next time.

  45. wreckabec says:

    This sounds delicious! I think I’m going to try your frosting for my son’s upcoming birthday party cake. I am doing a chocolate sheet cake (double layered) and then carving it into a number “5”. I would like do your frosting as filling, and then also as the main layer of frosting all over, but then to decorate with piped frosting in different colors and also a few fondant decorations. Do you think it’ll hold up to that kind of abuse? Haha. Will the color run? Thoughts? TIA!

  46. Natalie says:

    I tried it and it seemed to separate as it sat. What did I do wrong??

  47. Rhonda says:

    Mel, can I add food coloring to this. I need to pipe trees, will it stay formed?


    • Mel says:

      Yes, you can add food coloring. I’m not sure what type of trees you are wanting to pipe – tall, stand-alone trees probably not. But just a decoration piped onto the surface of the cake should be just fine.

  48. Natalie says:

    Tried again and it still separated! It’s sooo yummy (pretty sure I gained 10 pounds today) but just looks funny. I added the cocoa to the original mixture but didn’t add chocolate at the end. Is that my problem? Maybe I’ll just try the original next time and see if I have the same issue. Everything was room temp etc. Grrrr. On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t perfect it so I can fit into my jeans! 3 birthdays in 3 weeks is bad news! Love all your stuff.

    🙂 — a fellow Boisean (if that’s a word)

    • Mel says:

      Shoot, Natalie. Sorry this still separated when you made it! I suppose it could be due to the cocoa powder without the chocolate – the melted chocolate may act as a bit of a binder. If you make it “normal” and it still separates, let me know and we can do some more troubleshooting. I hear you on the yumminess, though – don’t even TRY it sandwiched on graham crackers. Just don’t.

  49. Kristina B says:

    Hey Mel!
    Just wanted to say thanks for this recipe! It’s turned out absolutely amazing both times I’ve made it and it pipes beautifully! This is the first time I’ve come across your blog and I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  50. Cindi says:

    Third time making it – LOVE IT – shared with lots of folks! Thanks for making buttercream go away :).

  51. Tracey says:

    Help! I just made the milk mixture for this and it turned out more like a thick syrup than pudding consistency. Has this happened to anyone else?? I’d hate to use all that butter in the next step of its not going to turn out! 🙁

  52. Alison says:

    I have been making a version of this recipe for as long as I can remember. Cook’s Illustrated made it better by adding the sugar to the cooked mixture (instead of creaming it with butter and then blending the two mixtures together which makes for a smoother end product with no grittiness at all) and by swapping out some of the flour for cornstarch. The straining also eliminates any possibility of lumps.

    I recently started a batch and realized I only had half and half. I also used some vanilla which had come from the Dominican Republic (much thicker than what we are used to) and it was UNBELIEVABLE.

    Also, I recently made a batch with a gluten free flour blend. It came out just fine. So yes, you can substitute the flour. You could probably also eliminate the flour and replace with just cornstarch, but I suspect the texture might be a bit gummy.

    I have never tried the caramel version and don’t recall the ingredients list, but I just made a batch using light brown sugar instead of granulated in an attempt to achieve a cookie dough flavor. This worked perfectly fine as well. Based on previous comments, I might try the chocolate version and pipe both together into two-tone rosettes.

  53. Alison says:

    PS I never had a problem with the separating as I do with this version but it’s an easy fix. Just keep beating it and it will come together. I’ve even made this ahead and frozen it.

  54. Venesa says:

    Have you (or anyone) tried to make this with shortening to get it to crust?

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t tried it with shortening.

      • Alison says:

        I have never made this with shortening, but may years ago I had a neighbor who used either all shortening or half shortening and half margarine* (I don’t recall which). I don’t believe this made it crust over but did give it a different flavor and texture, and is whiter than one made with all butter.

        *This dates back to the days when people used margarine and was probably more of an economic issue for her than anything else.

  55. esme says:

    I totally loved this recipe I made it twice and it came out perfectly I used half and half cream 10 percent I was wondering if I could use a smaller amount of butter say 1 cup butter I have a stand mixer so I beat it for 10 min I really thank you for this recipe my son in law said he liked as well as the expensive one they got on holidays so this recipe is making me look good my granddaughter is having a baby so they asked me to do them for here big shower thanks again

  56. Kristyn says:

    Holycrapthiswasamazing! Seriously so delicious! This might be the only frosting I ever make again.

  57. Mandy says:

    This sounds amazing! Would this frosting work with the Viva paper towel frosting method?

    • Mel says:

      No, I’ve tried it. Because it’s an all butter frosting, it doesn’t crust over like frosting that has shortening in it (which is the best for that Viva paper towel trick).

  58. Lisa says:

    What happens if you would use brown sugar? I’m wondering how that would work in the chocolate version. Also, can I use 1/2 cup cocoa powder, what would the extra dry ingredients do for the texture? I’m looking for a deep chocolate frosting and love this.

  59. Heather S says:

    Can you use Gluten Free Flour?

  60. Linda Pilkington says:

    I made the chocolate version today using Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa and Ghirardelli’s chocolate bar. OH MY GOODNESS!!! Best chocolate frosting ever. Also made your chocolate cake and layered it with raspberry filling and it is AMAZING!!!

  61. Claud says:

    Made this yesterday and it was really good I add some dulce de leche when I cook the mixture and turnout great. this will definitely replace my buttercream, thank you so much

  62. Creolechic says:

    I dont like icing that is too sweet and this was perfect. This recipe is similar to Italian buttercream without the risk of burning yourself on boiling hot sugar. Thank you for posting this!

  63. CABD says:


    Please let me know is this good enough to use under fondant?? TIA

  64. Shannon says:


    I have been looking for an icing to make my son’s birthday cake. I don’t care for the sweetness of buttercream. Is it possible to get the correct consistency with just using a hand mixer with the whisk attachment? I don’t have a stand mixture. Also, would the icing be okay with some fondant accents on top of it? Lastly, I was hoping to ice the cake Friday night for a Saturday afternoon party. Would it keep well for that if I refrigerated the iced cake and pulled it out a few hours before the party?

    Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Shannon – I haven’t tried this with a hand mixer because it requires such a long (and vigorous) mixing time. I haven’t used it with fondant but I believe others have up above in the comment thread. And yes, you could ice the cake a day ahead of time – just take it out in time for the frosting to soften to room temperature. Good luck!

  65. Angie says:

    Did you ever try using this to pipe with? I’ve made it before it is my favorite, but I haven’t tried piping with it. I’d like to use it for my daughters cake. Thanks!!

  66. Catherine says:

    Amazing! The chocolate frosting version is so good I wanted to cry! For any readers wondering…. I place in ziplock in fridge overnight, let come to room temp and piped cupcakes no problem next day.
    I’m using chocolate for inside layer of my daughters cake and outside vanilla.
    Gonna be amazing!

  67. Michele La Capria says:

    Hello I love vanilla frosting but cannot find a homemade one I love except for one that doesn’t taste good next day if left out and I hate to refrigerate my cupcakes. I refuse to use store bought because there is so mich garbage in there. I made something similar to this but didn’t get it perfect. I have two questions I want to make for my sons school party next week can I make a day ahead and frost and leave them out and if so are they still safe to eat and just as yummy? If not can I do the flour part and leave that out overnight and finish up the rest in the morning Because there is no way I would have time to do it all in morning lol. Thanks

  68. Lindsey says:

    I whipped this with a hand mixer not realizing the whipping needed to be so vigorous. I thought it seemed smooth enough and then my husband put it in a piping bag and it separated like nobody’s business. Did I not whip it long enough?

  69. Briana says:

    Hi Mel! How long do you think this leftover frosting will last in the fridge?

    Merry Christmas! Hope you are well!

    • Mel says:

      A week or so. 🙂

      • Hannah says:

        Hello! Delicious, decadent frosting recipe! Made it for my son’s first birthday yesterday and made extra. Hoping to use it on the extra cake I made for his other party this weekend. How would you recommend I store it in the fridge? It’s currently in a lidded Pyrex bowl. What would be your recommendations for using this frosting after it’s been refrigerated for a week? Bring back to room temperature? Re-whip or not?
        Thank you!

        • Mel says:

          That container should work just fine. Yes, I’d bring it back to room temperature and beat until light and fluffy again.

  70. Rags says:

    Hi Mel.

    I made this frosting for my sister and she loves it!! She won’t make it herself – just insists that I make it for her. For Liz who said the frosting came out salty, I always use unsalted butter in eveything, and especially for any recipe that calls for salt. That way I control how much salt is actually in the recipe. I totally spaced and forgot the salt the first time I made this recipe and it turned out great. I have a friend who is lactose intolerant so am going to try substituting the milk with plain and flavored non-dairy creamers to see how that works.

  71. Necole says:

    I am new to baking. LOL. Do I use salted or unsalted butter?? Thank you. Merry Christmas!!

  72. Teresa says:

    Hi Mel, I am a huge fan of your blog and have used many of your recipes as staples in my collection. You are the best! I am just wondering if, in your honest opinion, this frosting would be good on an angel food cake? I make one for my husband every year and I was thinking about either making this frosting or going with the other recipe you have with the whipped chocolate frosting and toasting almonds to top on the cake. Thanks so much for your time!

    • Mel says:

      Hmmm…I think the flavor and texture of this frosting might be a little too rich for an angel food cake but that’s just me. My favorite frosting for angel food cake is just heavy whipped cream, whipped to stiff peaks with a bit of powdered sugar and cocoa. So light and yummy.

  73. Robert K says:

    Recently, I tried this frosting, using heavy cream, and upping the sugar by one-half cup to 2 cups instead of the 1 and 1/2 cups the recipe calls for.

    During the cooking phase, however, the liquid never thickens substantially, as described. … Instead, the liquid just bubbles into a frothy mixture that is like syrup. … It still sets up well, and it tastes pretty dog gone good, but it just never thickens, really. … Is this because of the extra sugar?

  74. Susan says:

    Hi Mel,
    Love you, love your site! I was just reading your post about brown butter yesterday, but I haven’t tried it yet. I’m wondering if it would work in this recipe?

    • Mel says:

      I’m not sure how the browned butter would do added at the end of the frosting – it would have to be cooled (resolidified) but honestly, you’d have to experiment since I don’t know if it would set up in the frosting like butter in stick form as called for in the recipe. The idea sounds heavenly though!

  75. Lynn says:

    Hi Mel! I’m hoping you might see this before tomorrow (Thursday) sometime. I’m making a birthday cake for my friend, and she requested this icing with your chocolate cake for her party. I’ve made similar frostings with cutting in the butter while whipping, but honestly can’t recall which beater I used in my Kitchen-Aid. Do you recommend the whisk or the beater for this one? Thanks!

  76. Kerri says:

    Hi – first, I just have to say that your site is my absolute favorite and I recommend it to everyone! I have never made a bad recipe from your site and I am not an expert chef/baker.
    I was wondering if you had ever gotten around to piping with this recipe. I have to make a cake this weekend and the frosting needs to be piped and I wanted to try this recipe because of the great reviews but if you hadn’t had success, I will try one of your other frosting recipes instead.

  77. Jennifer says:

    I made the chocolate version of your icing, and my husband said this was the best icing I’ve ever made! So thank you for sharing your recipes! And it paired beautifully with your Perfected Yellow Cake! Just one question, though ~ does the iced cake need to be refrigerated?

    • Mel says:

      If it’s stored at cool room temperature it should be fine for 8-12 hours. Longer than that, I’d refrigerate but it will take 4-5 hours at room temp for the frosting to soften again.

  78. Becky says:

    Hello! Can’t wait to try this! At what point do you add food coloring of using? Thanks so much

  79. Dee says:

    This frosting was lovely! Seriously my new go-to. Not too sweet but delicious, light, and airy! I even won over my coworker who hates traditional buttercream.

  80. Joy says:

    Hi. I love your site! I would like to make this frosting along with the chocolate cake. Would it be OK to make the cake and frost it the day before and leave out until the next day?

    • Mel says:

      Yes, as long as it stays at cool room temperature, that should work great. It usually keeps a cake nice and moist to frost it all the way if it’s going to be a day before you serve it.

  81. Crystal says:

    This turned out great! Hopefully everyone likes it 🙂 I added 2 tsp of rum extract at the end (along with the vanilla) just to sweeten it up slightly and its amazing! I am making it along with you chocolate cake which so far so good!

    Thank you!

  82. Amanda W. says:

    Mel this is a weird question:
    Do you whisk this in a non-stick sauce pan? That is the only type I have…so I have to use a silicon whisk (which bends more easily and can’t take thick mixtures) I am wondering before starting this if my silicon whisk will be able to handle it….OR do I need to buy a sauce pan that is not non-stick—so I can use my metal whisk?
    Sorry, I know you get a million questions—But I am planning this for my b-day and I don’t want it to fail!

    • Mel says:

      I use a stainless steel pot (without a nonstick coating) but if your silicone whisk is sturdy it should hold up to the job. It will be like whisking pudding or something similar to that consistency.

      • Amanda W. says:

        Thanks Mel:)
        And have you ever frozen the cake with this frosting on? Does this frosting hold up to being in the fridge if not the freezer?

  83. Amanda says:

    I tried the chocolate frosting yesterday and could never get it to come together. I seriously must have let it beat in my stand mixer for 20+ minutes and every time I stopped, it would separate and start to look grainy. I did cool the mixture in the fridge prior to beating and adding butter – it felt maybe slightly cooler than room temp (but only ever so slightly, because I had just checked it minutes before and it was still warm). Is the temperature of the mixure really that finicky? Looks like an amazing frosting so I’m just wondering what could have gone wrong! Thanks Mel!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Amanda – I do think the temperature of the cooked base can be the factor – it needs to be completely cooled and I’m guessing that might have been the issue. I’m sorry this didn’t work out – I know how frustrating that can be!

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