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. Kelly says:

    I cooled the frosting in an icebath while stirring.. it worked like a charm and cut out a lot of time! This is hands down the BEST frosting I have ever eaten!! I had it with your chocolate cake, nutella filling and topped it with fresh strawberries! mmmmm

  2. Ariane says:

    I finally made this after looking at it, for I think, since you posted it. I made it exactly as you have it and it turned out awesome. Mine didn’t come out as fluffy as yours but I piped it onto my cupcakes (I turned your cake into bite-sized portions) and it still has to be the very best icing ever. It doesn’t look like anything special, but wow, it is. I don’t know if I will ever want another recipe again.

  3. ELA says:

    What cocoa powder did you use, Dutched or regular? Could a dark cocoa make the chocolater version darker or have you tried it before? Thanks.

    • Mel says:

      Ela – I’ve used both with good results.

      • Natalie says:

        Mel, I was wondering if there is a way to incorporate coffee into this frosting recipe without cocoa. Would love to know if you’ve tried or if anyone else has tried. I don’t know if using brewed coffee in place of milk would work…might not thicken. ???

        • Crika says:

          I have not tried coffee, but I did use Chai concentrate once (Tazo brand) to make a chai spiced icing and it turned out amazing!

  4. [email protected] says:

    Fabulous frosting! I found the cooked portion of the frosting extremely easy to make in the microwave….I cooked it at 50% power and stirred it every couple of minutes. This was perfect on top of the favorite chocolate cake recipe!

  5. Stacy says:

    This is very similar to the recipe my Grandma made and I was so glad when I found it again. It’s the frosting I use on my Red Velvet cake (not a huge fan of cream cheese icing) and I have always gotten rave reviews.

  6. Natalie says:

    Mel, my sister-in-law, Bonnie, put me onto your site. I LOVE it! Question about this frosting: Do you think I could substitute 1/2 cup of the milk for lemon juice? I really like a frosting with flavor (i.e. browned butter frosting, or lemon and coconut—you HAVE to try adding coconut oil to your frosting recipes sometime. It’s delicious! I use it half-n-half with butter. And have you ever tried browning your butter for chocolate frosting? Wow! It does change the fluffiness aspect, though.) Anyway, I’d like to make a lemon frosting, but I was really excited to try this recipe. What do you think?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Natalie – I love Bonnie! Thanks for the note! I know there are a ton of comments on this recipe but I know someone else made lemon. I don’t think they subbed out the milk instead they added lemon zest in at the end. It might be worth reading through the last few comments because I’m pretty sure it was recent and I could be wrong. Good luck! Love your other tips!

  7. Kasey says:

    I see that this is an old post (with a TON of comments!) but I wanted to let you know I made this frosting today and it was ahhhmazing. The texture was very similar to the chocolate frosting found in this recipe (my FAVE chocolate frosting)-

    Glad that now I have a to-die-for vanilla frosting recipe too! Instead of vanilla I tried almond extract, but I think for my daughter’s birthday on Sat. I’ve decided to do the original vanilla instead. 🙂 Thanks!!!

  8. Lien4424 says:

    I’ve made it into lemon frosting by taking out a few tablespoons of milk, waiting until the mixture thickens, adding lemon juice, whipping up, then adding zest and pure lemon extract. Worked beautifully and tasted divine!

  9. Chiantel says:

    I am wondering, does this frosting dye well? I’m making a lego cake for my son’s birthday and I’d like to use this frosting – however I need the frosting to be yellow, blue, red, and green…can you dye this frosting? Thanks!

  10. Natalie says:

    Thanks, Mel and Lien, for the lemon help. I used 1 C. Milk and 1/2 C. lemon juice in the initial cooking phase. It was wonderful! My husband didn’t think it was sweet enough, but my dad and I couldn’t stop eating it. I loved not having the taste of powdered sugar in my frosting.

    It also dyed just great for the turquoise bat cake. (Thanks for the cake design idea, too.)

  11. Alastair says:

    I look forward to trying this recipe since I do not like cake frosting that is too sweet. I am thinking of making this recipe and then folding in a little bit of a homemade milk-free coconut vanilla pudding made extra thick. I am hoping for a frosting that has a slight buttery taste with a low sugar moist pudding like consistency.

    Cristina – I would suggest substituting the milk with coconut milk and a about 1 or 2 Tbsps of sugar to make up for the lack of sweetness. If you do not have enough coconut milk for 1 1/2 cups, just add water to make the same amount of liquid. I am allergic to two of the three proteins in milk so always bake without using milk. I prefer coconut milk more than soya milk because the end result tastes better.

  12. Alastair says:

    The frosting is not too sweet using the above standard recipe but it does have a strong buttery taste. I think it is a great recipe because of the flour to make it less sweet and with a light whip to it. I modified the recipe to by folding in a little bit of a homemade milk-free coconut vanilla pudding made extra thick (a little more than half of the liquid that the recipe called for – 2 1/2 cups reduced to 1 1/2 cups). I also added about 1/4 teaspoon of gelatin dissolved in a little cold water and then heated in a bowl over hot water to make it smooth (next time I may increase the gelatin to 1/3 or 1/2 teaspoon).

    The result was fantastic, I got a nice light frosting with a slight buttery taste that becomes firm when chilled and becomes soft when let sit for 15 minutes before indulging. I also added a few tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice and a little finely grated orange rind which gave it a very mild orange taste which went great when I topped my dairy-free homemade moist carrot cake.

    I got a great frosting with a lighter sweetness and lighter buttery taste since I added a little of my thick homemade coconut pudding. I think everyone should try this recipe and experiment a little like I did until they find the taste that they are extremely happy with.


  13. Dom says:

    Could soy milk be used instead of regular milk?

  14. Kim says:

    I made this today for my daughter’s birthday cupcakes. I followed your directions… brought it to a boil over medium heat until it thickened and let it cool to room temp. Sadly, it did not work out for me. Soooo runny. Any suggestions?

  15. Lisa N says:

    HI! I feel like I’m missing something since most everyone seems to be over the moon about this frosting. I made it yesterday and I have to say I was disappointed. I didn’t have any problems with the recipe, it seemed to whip up just fine. The texture was nice, but the flavor was a little too floury/cornstarchy for me. My brother said it reminded him of raw cookie dough. Not horrible, but not what I’m looking for in frosting. It does seem to taste better the next day, which is unfortunate since ideally you are supposed to use it shortly after making it…

    • Cindi says:

      That’s interesting – wonder if it was the butter? Mine was very buttery – seemed to settle in after being in the fridge over night and then was PERFECT…did you use real butter? weird question maybe – or maybe it wasn’t cooked quite long enough?

  16. Mel says:

    Kim – the finished, whipped frosting was runny?? If so, it might be that the frosting base wasn’t quite cool enough.

  17. Megan says:

    I am making a cake for my daughter’s birthday tomorrow, can I make this frosting tonight and let the complete product sit in the fridge until I need to use it tomorrow?

  18. Liselle says:

    I made the most incredible cake yesterday! I must tell you all about it. I used your chocolate cake recipe and it made 3-8 inch layers. I cut each layer a little less than an inch with my horizontal cake saw thingie. I made a ganache filling by taking a bag of ghirardelli semi sweet choc chips and pouring 1 3/4 C just boiling cream over them. Wait 2 mins. Stir in slowly and thoroughly. Refrigerate 3 hrs. Take out an hour before youre ready to use. Spread this thickly between the cake layers. More than 1/4″ but less than 1/2. Finally frost it with your Magical Frosting. I scraped a vanilla bean in the frosting cuz I’m crazy that way. This cake is not from this world. I don’t know where it’s from but I’ll be moving there as soon as I find out! I have dreams about it.

  19. Daniela says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I’ve been looking for something like this for years!! Just one question… I made the flour-cornstarch-sugar-milk mix yesterday and I got a nice, thick cream, but it still tastes a bit of raw flour? Is that normal? Should I boil it longer?

    • Mel says:

      Daniela – you can try boiling it longer to get rid of some of the flour taste but adding the butter at the end will definitely make it taste more like frosting. Just keep in mind, this has a bit of a different taste and texture than every day buttercream.

  20. karla says:

    I found your recipe a few months ago and I’ve been meaning to stop by and leave a coment. The first time I made it I knew I was in love! I have made it dozens of times since then and everyone loves it as well. I have also made the chocolate version and I went a little crazy and made it in caramel, cheesecakes, white chocolate, lemon and lime flavors! Thank you sooooooo much for posting this!

  21. Daniela says:

    Thanks for your help! As you said, adding the butter helped a lot to get rid of it, and it tasted just like raw cookie dough, which I love! I used the Piña Colada oil by Lorann to flavour it and fill and frost a cake and it’s been a HUGE hit!! Also, it didn’t melt or “de-puff” even after a 2-hour travel by car, which is quite awesome considering it’s about 100F here in Spain. Thank you SO much for this recipe!!!

  22. Alastair says:

    Cristina – I have made this frosting milk free since I am allergic to milk. It turned out great. I assume you could use shortening and/or margarine instead of the butter but I would make sure you add some other flavor such as bit of orange or lemon rind to jazz it up a little.

    I find that the trick to substituting milk or cream is to use something that has a great flavor. I substitute coconut cream/milk mixed with some water or a little soya milk. Too much soya milk gives it a strong bean taste so I prefer more coconut milk.

    I also made a homemade vegan coconut pudding with 1 T cornstarch, 2 T Birds Custard Powder, 1/2 c sugar along with 2 T margarine or shortening and 1 tsp vanilla. I mixed in this thick pudding into the frosting to reduce the greasy taste and make it into an amazing frosting. You have to make sure to keep the frosting cool if the weather is really hot or it gets a little soft.

    I hope all the readers can try out some of my suggestions and a big thanks to Mel for sharing the original great “magical” frosting recipe.

  23. Maurine says:

    Mel! I have been looking for this recipe for years! I remember my mother made this on her Red Velvet cakes when I was a little girl. Your photo looks just like I remember it. I lost her recipe & all I could remember is that it had flour in it & that she cooked it on the stove. I think she might have used a double boiler. She always used it for my birthday cake as it was my favorite! Not too sweet! I laughed at all the comments about how do you store the left over cake? Or not needing that much frosting….Really? We never had too much or any left overs!

  24. Tami says:

    Looking for a great recipe for my son’s wedding cake. How is the consistency of this frosting? Will it work well for that?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Tami – I hesitate to say yes without knowing what kind of cake you are making and what consistency you are looking for. The consistency of this frosting is very light and creamy.

  25. Ruth says:

    I feel so out of the loop! I only discovered this recipe earlier this year when a friend of mine requested it on a cake I will be making for her.

    I tried it out the first time as written with great success; it turned out just like it was supposed to.

    I am using the frosting on a wedding cake in a few weeks and due to the comments, have decided to make the frosting the day of the event in order to give it the best chance of holding up. I tried a few days ago to make the roux the night before and let it cool in the fridge. I then gave it several hours to come back to room temperature before whipping in the butter. The final product was not as good as the first try – the butter did not incorporate as well. I can only think it was because the roux was too cool still.

    My question is this: do you think I could make the roux the day before and then, instead of refrigerating it, just letting it rest at room temperature until I am ready to whip it up the next day? Would the roux spoil? Do you have an recommendations?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Ruth – instead of letting it sit out overnight, do you think you could refrigerate the roux and then pull it out a few hours before you want to make the frosting so that it comes back to room temperature? I’m kind of a freak about food safety and don’t like to let milk products of any kind sit out overnight, but having said that, as long as your house isn’t really hot, the roux should probably be ok sitting at room temperature for a short amount of time (as long as it isn’t a couple days).

  26. lina says:

    Hi, Im in love with swiss merangue buttercream, but am excited to try this. pls tell me( if you can,) how long can this buttercream stay outdoor. Im in singapore and wonder if this can withstand the humid weather here.. Not that I plan to bake the cake under the sun, but good to know if it can be left out for a while without me being worrying abt it melting. thanks. lina

    • Mel says:

      Lina – this is a delicate frosting that won’t hold up super well in extreme heat so I wouldn’t recommend letting it sit out in the heat (75 degrees or above) for longer than an hour.

  27. Amy says:

    I was wondering if you could share the frosting technique you used on this beautiful cake…you know for those of who are less than novice in the baking department.

    • Mel says:

      Amy – it’s been a long time but I’m pretty sure I just used my small offset spatula and swooped the frosting into swirls. Pretty low key and super easy!

  28. Annie says:

    Can I add food coloring to this icing?

  29. Carrie says:

    Hey Mel, Faaaaantastic frosting. I made the chocolate version to top brownies and it was utterly perfect. I doubled the melted chocolate (on accident—i forgot I was halving the rest of the recipe) and it was perfect! I will double it every time now. Thanks a million. Love love love your site.

  30. Nirmal says:

    Hii, the frosting tastes amazingg but when i use it on cupcakes it melts! I’m in distresss. Please help?

    • Mel says:

      Nirmal – this frosting is fairly delicate meaning it needs to be kept cool and won’t fare well in hot temperatures so try keeping it cool and see if that helps.

  31. June says:

    the recipe that we used when I was a child was:
    equal amounts of:
    Milk, flour, butter, crisco beat together about ten minutes until it all comes together and looks like whipped cream, add a teaspoon vanilla extract. A 1/2 of each will frost a two layer cake or a 13×9″ pan.

  32. Terri says:

    I’ve made this icing for years, my recipe was called “French Cream Icing”, I really can’t remember where/how I got it. I use it to frost angel food cake.

  33. Tracy says:

    My great-grandmother called this Mock Whipped Cream which more closely describes it than frosting. My family has been making it for over 100 years, so it’s an old recipe! I can’t imagine how they did it without an electric mixer! She’d heap it onto a dark chocolate cake, very yummy!

  34. lara says:

    Im not much of a cake eater, and when i do eat cake, i scrap most of the frosting off the cake because i just dont like it. My 2 1/2 year old wanted me to make chocolate chip cookies but i jad no chips to make them so i made a cake instead (from scratch, boxed cakes taste like poo) so after i made the cake i decided i might as well make frosting too. I didnt quit have enough flour for this recipe so i just guessed on the measurements for everything. I also didnt have a strainer so after i mixed the firat ingredients i just slowly poured the mixture into the saucepan and avoided pouring in (most of) the thick part of the mixture. But even after all that, the frosting turned out amazing! Though i wpuldnt advise eating too much cause it made me feel a little sick. Also, after my first piece, i put the rest of the frosted cake in the fridge and had another piece the next day, and it was even better after the frosting got stiffer. Its not too stiff, but perfect texture in my opinio. Best frosting ive ever tasted! And im very picky!

  35. lara says:

    Im not much of a cake eater, and when i do eat cake, i scrap most of the frosting off the cake because i just dont like it. My 2 1/2 year old wanted me to make chocolate chip cookies but i had no chips to make them so i made a cake instead (from scratch, boxed cakes taste like poo) so after i made the cake i decided i might as well make frosting too. I didnt quit have enough flour for this recipe so i just guessed on the measurements for everything. I also didnt have a strainer so after i mixed the firat ingredients i just slowly poured the mixture into the saucepan and avoided pouring in (most of) the thick part of the mixture. But even after all that, the frosting turned out amazing! Though i wpuldnt advise eating too much cause it made me feel a little sick. Also, after my first piece, i put the rest of the frosted cake in the fridge and had another piece the next day, and it was even better after the frosting got stiffer. Its not too stiff, but perfect texture in my opinion. Best frosting ive ever tasted! And im very picky! Oh, and im also terrible in the kitchen! (Sorry if this is a duplicate post, im doing this on my phone and its acting up)

  36. Catherine says:

    Just made this and OMG! So good! Hope it makes it to the cake.

  37. Gayle H. says:

    My Grandma used to make this all the time. She called it ” 7 minute frosting.” The whole family loved it; and she passed it down through the generations, and still going.

  38. Cristina says:

    Hi Mel,

    I was very excited when I found this version of the recipe, but I am a little sad over how it came out… I tried the tasty kitchen version and it came out really fluffy and good and tasty, but I didn’t like that the sugar didn’t completely melt and you could still feel it. So i tried this one, but i think i like the other version better.
    What i didn;t like about this version is:
    1. i can feel the starch flavor quite a lot and if also give a floury texture. It might be something that i am not used to because we rarely use cornstarch in anything…Can I only use flour and no corn starch at all? If yes, how much?
    2. after the mixtures cools it becomes very very hard. i could barely beat it and the finished frosting was a little less fluffy. Maybe i let it boil to much? After i took it off the stove, it had a caramel like consistency and i thought it would be ok like that, but then it got extremely thick…
    3. i absolutely hate butter creams and from where I am from (Romania) they are not very popular (maybe this is why i don’t like the taste)…. so i was hoping it would not have such a buttery taste, but it did… Can I use less butter? The thing i loved most about the tasty kitchen version was that it did not have such a strong butter flavor…

    I will try it another time, maybe this time leave it a little less on the stove and perhaps use only 2 sticks of butter?….

    • Mel says:

      Hi Cristina, sorry this didn’t work out for you. I haven’t tried any of the changes you suggested so if you want to omit the cornstarch or decrease the butter, you’ll have to experiment. Also, the base of the frosting (that you cook on the stove) should still be very soft and mixable after it cools. If your mixture was a caramel consistency and very hard, it sounds like it may have cooked quite a bit longer than it should have. It should just bubble and thicken before pulling it off the stove. If you really don’t like buttery frostings, this may not be for you. The finished frosting is very light and buttery. Good luck if you decide to experiment!

  39. jessica says:

    Hi! I see that this has been posted over two years ago but I luckily came across it and can’t wait to try it. I’m wondering, by the way, if it melts on humid summer weather? Or is this one of those crusting frosting/icing recipe that hardens? 🙂 I am looking forward to hour reply ! Thanks so much for posting this !

  40. Lien4424 says:

    In case she doesn’t get to your answer in time, yes, it will melt if too hot, and no, it doesn’t crust over.

  41. […] be the best frosting I’ve ever had, but I’m not passing final judgement till I try this recipe for another flour based frosting.Let me know if you try either one what you think. Next time I […]

  42. Marian says:

    I like to frost my cake while it’s still frozen and then stack my layers and let it thaw several hours before serving. What do you think of that? I actually won’t have time to wait for a reply, but I’ll let you know how it went.

  43. Tesee says:

    I made this today to go on Strawberry cake and it worked so beautifully! I had also tried the Tasty Kitchen’s “Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had” recipe and, while I liked the flavor, the consistency wasn’t what I wanted. Then I found this recipe and the flavor is pretty much the same but the texture is just divine! It manages to be so light and fluffy yet creamy and silky all at the same time. When I first tasted it I thought it was too sweet and I went back to check the recipe and make sure I put in the right amount of sugar. That’s when I noticed that I had forgotten the salt! So I put in a good sized pinch of salt while I was letting it sit for an hour before frosting my cake. I made sure to mix it well with my spoon and it dissolved and mixed in beautifully. That little touch of salt took away the cloying sweetness and left it at just the perfect amount.

  44. Tesee says:

    Also, this recipe wasn’t quite enough for a 3 layer cake. It would have been fine for a 2 layer but I think for a 3 layer I will make one and a half times the recipe.

  45. Sara says:

    Made this last night and it is everything it claims to be. I stopped making buttercream and eating buttercream frosting a long time ago because I can’t stand the sickly sweet, greasy, gritty, taste of it. This frosting was mild in taste, light, and fluffy!! I used salted butter, and halved the recipe..amazzzing!

  46. Alright, I’m sold.
    I love that you throw everything together, even the sugar so it melts.
    Going to give this a go with some test-baking I’m doing for my hubby’s bday.

    BTW – Don’t forget to enter in my foodie giveaway. There’s still time!!

  47. Robin says:

    This has been around since i was a kid. It is known to me as Mock Whipping Cream, a friend of my Dads would make this for my brother and me when we were little, When i started cooking i got in touch with her and go the recipe, it is to die for!

  48. min says:

    I just tried making this but it curdled. I dont know why.

  49. Lanette says:

    I made this frosting last night for cupcakes. It was delicious. Sadly, I didn’t frost them all last night and missed the “caveat” at the bottom of the post. That means that when I just let the icing come back to room temperature and rewhipped….nothing but separation. Oh well! I’ll just tell everyone to close their eyes and enjoy! 🙂

  50. Dee says:

    Hi, Mel. Should the milk be room temperature?

  51. Lexi says:

    Thank you so much of posting this recipe! I have made 2 batches now and it was a huge hit 🙂 I am not a fan of frostings at the supermarket, they are much too sweet, this is a very fluffy, buttery bakery-like frosting, and I love it!
    I left my mixer going until I was happy with the consistency, and did not use a strainer in my boiling process and no problems here.
    Once again THANK YOU 🙂

  52. Sarah says:

    I made this frosting today to top a chocolate cake. I used caramel extract rather than vanilla. This is by far the best homemade frosting I’ve come across and very easy to make. This will be my go-to frosting from now on! I did not use a strainer nor did I have any lumps. Awesome, thank you for the recipe 🙂

  53. cakeholic says:

    Hi Mel, how long we can keep this frosting in room temperature?

    • Mel says:

      Cakeholic – This frosting doesn’t hold up well to extremely warm temperatures, but at cool room temperature I would say it is fine for up to 8 hours.

  54. Nicole Riggs says:

    Good heavens this stuff is amazing! Arianna wanted a chocolate cake for her 4th bday and so I did your chocolate cake with this frosting and it was utterly amazing! It’s funny because I got out some left over canned frosting from a bday party and told Kevin to try both and we were both just surprised at the fact that the canned stuff tastes like straight sugar/corn syrup…there is no other flavor. This stuff is so much better. And I did use it to pipe some swags on the cake and it worked great just tossing it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so. So so soooo yummy! I will have to go the extra step now for all my cakes, as I don’t think any other frosting will compare. Thanks Mel! 🙂

  55. Diana says:

    Hi! Had to stop by and tell you how well the recipe turned out for me. I read every comment and was a little terrified to try it. I saw comments saying it was a disaster to make in advance, so I got up extra early the day of the birthday party to make a batch. I doubled the recipe since I wanted to fill and cover a 5 layer cake. HERE is a tip! (I didn’t do this) since I doubled the recipe, it took three hours to come to room temp. And that was with me cheating and putting in the fridge for part of the time. I think if I make it again, instead of putting the cooked base in the mixer bowl to cool, I’ll spread it in a 9×13 baking dish or something similar. It took wayyyy to long to cool down in the mixer bowl. I should’ve trippled it, but I skimped on the layers and it was the perfect amount and looked lovely. Taste was good too. And for anyone wondering, it held up at room temp perfectly alllll day. And I put the leftovers in the fridge and there was no separation or anything. Still tasted great, but definitely not as fluffy. Next time I will make the frosting the night before and cover it and let it sit a room temp until I’m ready to use it. Thanks for a yummy alternative to buttercream! Oh! And it was perfectly pipable. Even without letting it sit to thicken. 🙂

  56. […] FrostingMel’s Kitchen Cafemakes 4 cups (perfect for 2 nine-inch cake […]

  57. mesheala says:

    Do you know if this frosting would stand up to a chocolate ganache drizzle over it? Or will it just reduce/fall? Hope that makes sense.
    I wanting to make a coffee infused chocolate cake with this frosting, a chocolate drizzle and strawberries on top. Thank you 🙂

  58. bluebaker says:

    I made this today, and the unbelieveable chocolate cake. The frosting seems too soft, but that could be because I only have a hand mixer. I added some conf, sugar to see if I could stiffen it up., and I added a little more vanilla and some almond extract ( my favorite)to see if I could punch up the flavor. This will be a good Sunday dessert for tomorrow, but I think at this stage of the game, I will stick to your cream cheese/ buttercream one (the one on the polar bear cupcakes) . Reading thru the comments, its funny that there are so many opinions about what is good, and best, but we’re all trying to do the same thing- please our family and friends with great homemade food. so,
    I think if I had a stand mixer with more power it would have been better. It was fun to try this new method.

  59. bluebaker says:

    I tried to save it with more flavoring and more powdered sugar, but the magic didn’t happen for me, I’m sorry to say. I really wanted it to, after reading all the raves. I guess I just tend to like the more traditional buttercreams. I really like your cream cheese butter-
    creme. Thanks for all the experimenting you do for us, and for all the great recipes. Its nice to know that even if a certain recipe doesn;t work out, we can still be friends.

    • Mel says:

      bluebaker – of course! We’ll always be virtual friends. I like it when people can post constructive advice/criticism on a recipe. I’m sorry you didn’t like this frosting. A hand mixer may not be able to whip up the magic like a stand mixer. But I am glad you have another standby that you love.

  60. Linda says:

    I will try this recipe. My mom had a cooked recipe only it called for on egg flour, Sugar,milk mix and cook til thick. Let cool, then using unsalted butter ,vanilla and some powdered sugar. This is like ice cream!

  61. Ela says:

    Hi Mel, I’m one of those who love this recipe. So smooth, creamy and not gritty at all. In other words, I’m so pleased with the result. My only problem is, I made a layer cake with mousse filling and we had leftover. I didn’t know whether to put the frosted cake in the refrigerator or not. I was afraid that the frosting would hardened and separate as you described, but at the same time, I was also concerned that the filling would be spoiled. What would you do in my case? Where would you keep the leftover frosted cake? And how long would it keep at room temperature? Thanks.

    • Mel says:

      Ela – I would refrigerate the cake – should be fine for a couple days if covered well – just take it out a couple hours before serving if it has been refrigerated so the frosting has time to soften.

  62. Heidi Messenger says:

    Mel, Do you know if I could make this the day before and store it in the fridge before I frost my cake?

  63. Ashley says:

    Butter is fairly expensive here in China. I usually use oil instead of butter for most recipes. Is it possible to use oil instead of butter in this recipe? I know to reduce the measurement by about half to keep it from being too liquidy.

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  65. Amy Ramos says:

    One word: fabulous. I made this for my family’s birthdays (had three within the past two weeks and we celebrated all together).
    I made this with your unbelievable chocolate cake. Holy yum!!
    After reading your tips/comments, I decided to use a 9×13 pan and it came out perfectly. When I make it again, I might add chocolate chips to the cake mix.
    This is will be my go to frosting and cake recipe for sure!
    Thank you!

  66. Kristen Lee says:

    Can you freeze this frosting?

  67. Kailey says:

    I just finished making this frosting, and I have a couple tips:
    1. If you are on a diet, do not make this!! You will want to taste a little, then you won’t be able to keep yourself from “just getting a little more.”
    2. If you hate frosting like I do, you will love it after making this heavenly dessert that shouldn’t even have the privilege of being called frosting.
    3. Stock up on butter!

  68. Dee says:

    Loved this … and all three of my kids loved it, too! To sweeten and stiffen it up a bit I added one cup of sifted confectionary sugar at the end – I wanted to be able to pipe it. I also added some vanilla bean paste which left little specks of vanilla bean in the frosting …. DELICIOUS!

  69. Jane says:

    Mel, I just found your website and signed up. I was browsing your recipes and came across this one. I, too, hate super sweet greasy frosting – I usually scrape the frosting off the cake – unless it’s whipped cream frosting which I love. But I digress. I used to have a recipe very, very similar to this and lost it. We called this Ice Cream Icing and it was incredible. Reading this recipe I would say it’s better than what I used to have because you didn’t put the sugar in the cooked mixture, it had more cornstarch and no flour. After you cooled the mixture you had to incorporate the sugar which took forever, then the butter. This is way better. Can’t wait to try it – I’ve missed Ice Cream Icing and will use this next cake I make!!! This is a great website – you have recipes I can actually make!

  70. clodie says:

    i want to try this for my daughter’s birthday on saturday but i’d like to know if i could make it today and keep it in the fride for a little less than 48 hours without compromising the texture. with 2 kids and a newborn i try to make thing ahead of time when i can!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Clodie – this frosting is best made fresh (in my opinion) but I totally know what you mean about trying to get things done in advance. It can be made ahead and refrigerated – you’ll want to take it out a couple hours before using it and then rewhip it. I have to be honest, I’ve done this and it isn’t quite as smooth and silky made in advance (and sometimes can separate a bit) but others have commented they’ve made it ahead and been fine. Good luck!

  71. Lien says:

    I would just make the base ahead, then take the few minutes on the day of to whip the butter in.

  72. Emily Bessey says:

    Have you tried using skim milk? And what do you think about halving the recipe? I just made your Unbelievable Chocolate Cake in a 9×13 pan and I don’t think I’ll need the full 4 cups to frost the top of the cake… Thanks for your help! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Mel says:

      Emily Bessey – I have not tried skim milk – personally I’d recommend using 1% or higher. Halving the recipe should work just fine though. Good luck!

  73. Sam says:

    Okay, this frosting was absolutely DELICIOUS! 😀 I just wanted to comment today after I made it on Sunday and let you know this is the best homemade frosting I have ever come across online, and I’ve tried very many with lots of failing alongside of them. Finally found the one I was looking for, I guess, and I cut out a stick of butter and used just two, unsalted – worked like a charm! My boyfriend keeps sneaking it out of the container it’s in , in our fridge (and me too, I’m not going to lie!) Thanks for sharing this!

  74. Shanna says:

    This frosting was not good for piping. After refrigerating at the end it went really grainy and was a nightmare to work with. Tastes great but does not pipe well

  75. Lien says:

    You must live where it’s super hot because I never have problems piping or holding shapes with this frosting.

  76. Traci says:

    I just made this – frosted the easy yellow cupcakes- from this site. Both are amazing!
    But…even after generously frosting 2 dozen cupcakes, I still have tons left over. If I had time, I’d whip up more cupcakes, but I don’t. Any suggestions? Is there a way to keep this frosting, even a couple days, in hopes of being able to use it up?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Traci – I store the leftovers of this frosting in the fridge and then let it come to room temp before spreading on sugar cookies or using again (sometimes it helps to whip it again so it is creamy after refrigerating).

  77. Kitty Schafer says:

    I made the roux last night. Left it and margarine out on the counter overnight. Started the whipping process… and it separated instead of whipping nicely. It has happened twice to me now. But 2 other times I had great success with this recipe. Any ideas why it separated???

    • Mel says:

      Kitty Schafer – Margarine can’t be subbed for the butter; also if using butter, the frosting may look separated at first but it needs to be whipped for the full amount if time in the recipe and should come together. The butter should be at cool room remp…too soft and it may not whip correctly. I hope that helps. I am sorry it didn’t work out for you.

  78. Rauza says:

    Thank you Mel, I tried your recipe and everyone loved it. I added some powdered sugar at the end. it piped beautifully. I only left it in the fridge for 10 minutes and it was ready to go on cake.

  79. Barbara Card says:

    This recipe minus the flour has been THE buttercreme frosting used for YEARS in our family. I’ve added 1- 2 tsp of cherry flavoring from a jar of maraschino cherries along with 1 tsp. of almond flavoring for a varied taste. YUM!!

  80. Flora says:

    Hi! I’m really interested in this recipe! I’ll be making a (vegan!) cake for a friend this weekend, but I’m unsure if this frosting will be stiff enough for a ruffle cake decoration. And also, we’ll be holding the party outside at a temp of 32 F, 77% humidity. Will it be able to hold the ruffle shapes without melting/drooping?

    Please do reply to my inquiry! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! Can’t wait to try it.

    • Mel says:

      Flora – This frosting has piped fine for me in the past (although others have reported it is a little on the soft side so it may be worth doing a trial run for piping purposes). The one downfall of this frosting is that it doesn’t hold up well in warm or overly humid temperatures so it may not be the right fit for the outdoor party.

  81. Kristen says:

    This is the second cooked frosting I tried and this one is perfect. It came out like Satin. I cooled in an ice bath and in the freezer (with careful monitoring and stirring). I used 2 parts salted butter and one part shortening (to help with humid climate of Honolulu). I cut out salt, since butter was salted. About an hour from start to finish- perfect on my traditional red velvet (which has no red dye, so really brownish-red velvet 🙂 I love this website!!!

  82. cakeholic says:

    Hi Mel, I do not like overly sweet cream. Can I reduce the amount of sugar? Will I ruin it? Thanks in advance.

    • Mel says:

      cakeholic – This frosting isn’t all that sweet in my opinion so you might want to make it as is to see how sweet it is for your taste. Good luck!

  83. Teagan says:

    Hi Mel.

    Firstly, thank you so much for all your incredible recipes – you know how people used to have that trusty old recipe book, full of hand-written amendments from your grandma? This website is that for me.

    I just wanted to ask – I am wanting to make Amarula flavoured frosting for my brother’s 21st. Amarula is a South African liquer made from marula fruit. I would say the closest comparison would be Bailey’s Irish Cream liquer. I have baked with it before (Amarula cheesecake – yum!) and when it is added to other stuff, the flavour tends to soften (I normally add 3/4 Tablespoons to a standard cheesecake). Which can be nice if you are wanting a subtle flavour. But for this, I want the flavour to really shine (although perhaps without the intention of intoxicating everyone…). I am guessing I will need even as much a 6/7 Tbs?? How and when would you suggest I incorporate this? Thanks for the help!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Teagan – you are so sweet! About your question, I would suggest adding it with the vanilla (I think that’s the best bet for not messing up the consistency of the frosting). If you taste the frosting after the butter has been added and the flavor isn’t strong enough, you could drizzle in a bit more (taking care not to liquify the frosting). Good luck!

  84. Lien says:

    I would reduce the amount of milk by a few tablespoons and replace it in equal amounts with the liqueur, then add more if needed in place of the vanilla. I’ve flavored this frosting many ways, and it seems best to add it to the liquid in the beginning. Later than that you run the risk of too soft of a frosting. Good luck!

  85. Hala says:

    Hello.. is there any chocolate version for this?

  86. Debbie says:

    I made this frosting for a giant cupcake, IT WAS AWESOME!!!!
    I would like to know, can I double the recipe or make separately?

    • Mel says:

      Debbie – As long as your mixer is big enough to beat the frosting in one bowl, you can definitely double. When I’ve doubled it, I add a few extra minutes to the beating (when adding the butter) since there’s more frosting to whip.

  87. Cindi says:

    Absolutely DIVINE. I don’t think I will ever make buttercream again! THANK YOU! Piped wonderfuly (just big swirls on cupcakes) after being in the fridge for a bit…Going to try some more serious stuff in the morning! We’ll see how it goes!

  88. Lien says:

    I would just add espresso powder to the milk mixture.

  89. Pris says:

    Every buttercream recipe I’ve found has threatened to give me a tooth decay at first bite. This is perfect! A little extra work, but you’re right, it’s so worth it! I made it to frost a chocolate cake and I added a hint of orange flavour to the vanilla. It turned out beautifully. Thank you! I actually made the cake to celebrate my blog turning one. If you’re interested,

  90. Rose says:

    You said you would try piping this and let us know if it worked…did it?

  91. Lien says:

    I pipe with this all the time! Perfect swirls every single time 🙂

  92. Grace says:

    Hi Mel!
    I would love to make this but was wondering if I could substitute the cornstarch for an extra 3 tbs of flour. Would this change the taste/texture of the final product?

    • Mel says:

      Subbing flour for the cornstarch might change the texture or taste but you could still try it (there are other widely used flour-based frostings like this online that don’t use cornstarch; I’ve tried a few of them in the past and far prefer this recipe, though, because the texture is lighter and less gummy). The reason the recipe uses both flour and cornstarch is for the extremely creamy/silky texture. Changing any of those amounts may affect the outcome. Good luck if you try it!

  93. Farah.F says:

    I really really want to try this frosting for a birthday cake but im always nervous making ANY kind of frosting because i don’t own a stand mixer (yet)…will a hand held electric mixer do just as well to make this magical frosting?

    • Mel says:

      I wouldn’t recommend this with a hand mixer because I’m afraid it might burn out the motor in the hand mixer (it needs a lot of high speed mixing).

  94. Kandel says:

    Hi! I made this frosting today using a hand mixer. I let everything cool to room temp and I put it in the fridge 30 minutes ago and it’s still so runny. I did use skim milk because that’s all we ever get. Should it thicken up with more fridge time?

  95. Greg Krehbiel says:

    Mel, I baked your Yellow Cake and frosted it with this frosting for Mary’s birthday cake. What a hit!! Adam was over and was amazed I had it in me to produce such a treat. I gave you all the credit. Your directions were easy to follow and in spite of my awkward kitchen skills, I pulled it off. Thanks for the help!! We miss you guys!!


  96. Jasmine M says:

    Oh! This looks lovely! I’ve been trying to find the perfect frosting recipe that isn’t overly sweet and this is perfect! I have a question though. Can this frosting be made a few days before actually using it, or should it only be used when made?

  97. Lien says:

    Just make the base and set in the fridge with plastic wrap directly on it. When you need it, take it out and let it come to room temp or close and whip
    with butter. So easy!

  98. Erin M says:

    Hi Mel,
    I totally agree with everything in this post – I too am not a huge fan of traditional buttercream. Homemade versions are always grainy, and I feel like the sugar coats my teeth when eating it! I tried the pioneer woman flour frosting, and that too was a disaster. But this frosting, WAS AMAZING!! With traditional buttercream I could only handle a small layer of frosting, but with this, I can put thick layers, and it still tastes great without being too much sugar! This will forever be my favorite frosting, I can’t wait to try the chocolate version. However, I did have a mishap, I put the butter in microwave for 5 seconds just to be sure it wasn’t cold…accidentally did 5 minutes and had a pool of 3 sticks of melted butter :-/ !! Despite this, I was able to make this perfectly! Thanks for the recipe and the step-by-step instructions!!!

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