Grandmother’s Whipped Icing (a.k.a. Ermine Frosting)

Ermine frosting (a.k.a. whipped icing).

If you’re looking for a fluffy, creamy whipped icing, this one is, by far, the best. Truly. This whipped buttercream frosting is shockingly light, creamy and softly, but not cloyingly sweet. What “it” is, is ermine frosting and it’s a thing. This recipe is also also known as “flour frosting” or “boiled frosting” and it’s exceptional.

Whipped icing was my grandmother’s specialty

I hadn’t made this whipped icing in a long time, but I was leafing through a hand-written cookbook of my grandmother’s (Myne) favorite recipes and I stopped cold when I saw this one.

Reading over the ingredients and her simple instructions, I could practically taste the lightness and creamy sweetness of her whipped icing that was always paired with her rich chocolate crock pot cake.

That cake (and especially the frosting) were legendary with our crew.

We’ve always referred to it as “Myne’s whipped icing” and up until very recently, thought it was our secret family recipe.

Then as I was doing a bit of research, I discovered that my grandmother’s whipped icing was actually an established and popular one known as ermine frosting. Who knew?

What is ermine frosting?

Ermine frosting (a.k.a. boiled milk frosting or flour frosting), is a vintage recipe that has been around since the early 1900s.

It’s the preferred frosting for Red Velvet cakes and very rich chocolate ones because this impossibly creamy whipped icing isn’t as sweet as a regular buttercream frosting and is comparatively much lighter, more balanced and impossibly creamy.

Ingredients for whipped icing

  • Whole Milk
  • Flour
  • Butter
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt (preferably fine sea salt)
Newsletter Signup
Join our community of food lovers!

Get my latest recipes, helpful kitchen tips and more good things each week in your inbox.

Looking at this list of ingredients, you’re probably scrunching your nose, thinking whaaatttt???? But trust me, this ermine frosting recipe produces the most ethereal, light and I daresay, ADDICTIVE whipped icing you’ve ever had.

butter and flour make the pudgy thickener that stabilizes the whipped frosting recipe.

How to make ermine frosting (a.k.a. Myne’s whipped icing)

  1. Mix flour and milk in a saucepan over medium high heat, boiling and whisking constantly (I guess that’s why it was also called boiled frosting or flour frosting) until the mixture becomes the consistency of a very thick pudding. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Use a handheld mixer to whip the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the room temperature flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on high speed for 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer the whipped icing to the refrigerator for 5 minutes, then beat again until very light and fluffy.
  5. Spread the ermine frosting onto room temperature cakes or cupcakes.

Check the quick video for how to make this whipped icing recipe so you can see what the milk and flour mixture should look like when cooking and how chubby it is after cooling.

Ingredients for the whipped icing recipe.

Why you’ll love this ermine frosting recipe

Some icing recipes are so sweet that I purposely scrape away the excess and just eat the cake. This usually happens with birthday sheet cakes from the grocery store. You know, the ones that are decorated with mounds of frosting. To me, the flavor is artificial and overly saccharine.

This creamy, whipped ermine frosting is nothing like that.

It’s lightly sweet, shockingly creamy and structurally sound. It has heft, but doesn’t feel heavy. I’m telling you, this recipe is like a magic trick.

Why this whipped icing recipe works

This boiled frosting recipe uses real butter instead of shortening, so it’s got the natural fatty mouthfeel of a good buttercream.

The pudgy milk and flour pudding lends volume and structure to the ermine frosting.

Unlike most buttercream frosting recipes that use powdered sugar, this whipped icing uses granulated sugar, which you’d think would be gritty, but it’s not. Whipping the icing with a hand mixer for a full five minutes helps dissolve the sugar into this plush whipped buttercream and makes it impossibly light.

A pinch of salt balances the flavors.

whipping the butter and sugar together.
Whip the butter and sugar until very pale in color and light in texture.

Pro-Tips for ermine frosting:

  • Be sure to constantly whisk the milk and flour mixture as it cooks and watch for hot spots or browning on the bottom of the skillet. If the milk paste starts to get brown, don’t scrape the bottom of the pan, as those bits can get into the whipped icing.
  • The butter must be at room temperature before whipping with the sugar.
  • Cool the milk and flour mixture completely before adding to the butter and sugar mixture.

Variations and Swaps

  • You can use other types of extracts to flavor the whipped icing. Try it with almond extract or mint.
  • A combination of equal parts vanilla, lemon and almond extracts makes “wedding cake” flavor which would be delicious for this ermine frosting.
  • Add 2 ounces of melted and cooled bittersweet chocolate to the whipped icing for a light, creamy chocolate buttercream frosting.
adding the pudgy flour and milk
This is what the ermine frosting looks like after beating in the flour and milk “pudding mixture”.

Boiled ermine frosting FAQ’s

Can I make the whipped icing in advance?

Yes. You can make this several hours in advance and the whipped icing can be kept at room temperature until you’re ready to use it.

Can I refrigerate leftover whipped frosting?

Yes. Cover and refrigerate the frosting. Remove from the refrigerator and let the frosting come to room temperature before icing cakes or cupcakes. It won’t spread easily unless it’s at room temperature.

Can I pipe whipped icing?

Absolutely. The structure of this icing recipe is perfectly suited for piping. It holds its shape beautifully, but it’s also equally easy to work with when using an offset spatula or a kitchen knife.

How much whipped icing will this recipe make?

This recipe makes enough icing to frost one 2 layer 9″ cake or one 13″ x 9″ cake with an ample layer of frosting.

After beating the buttercream and flour mixture

Tried this recipe? Leave a rating and review.

Your comments and shares are invaluable to me and the thousands of readers who use this site daily. If you've made the recipe, leave a star rating and review. We want to hear how you liked it.

We'd love it if you shared the recipe with your friends on social media!

Whipped icing in a bowl.
Print Pin
4.75 from 12 votes

Ermine Frosting (a.k.a. Myne’s Whipped Icing)

This whipped icing is the one my grandmother always used for her richest, most decadent cakes because it’s light, creamy and not overly sweet. Ermine frosting is easily spreadable and tastes like the best whipped cream frosting you’ve ever had (but there’s no cream in it).
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword frosting, icing
Dietary Restrictions Egg Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 24


  • electric mixer


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt


  • Add the milk and flour to a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Heat over medium to medium high heat, whisking constantly until the mixture gets very thick with an almost gluey texture. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. As the flour and milk mixture cools is will become pudgy and very thick to the point that it’s almost difficult to stir.
  • In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat with an electric mixer until very light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the cooled milk mixture to the butter and beat on high speed for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  • Transfer the icing to the refrigerator for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the icing from the refrigerator and beat again until thick and creamy, about 1-2 more minutes.
  • Before frosting cakes or cupcakes, ensure that they have cooled to room temperature.


YouTube video


This recipe will frost a standard size 9″ layer cake, 9×13 sheet pan or 24 cupcakes.


Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 65mg | Potassium: 19mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 253IU | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg

Pin it for later!

a pin to save for later.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Can I use dairy free milk and gluten free flour? Has anyone tried that?

  2. 5 stars
    I remember my mother making this type of frosting when I was young. I made it and it came out perfectly! Sooo good on chocolate cake. Brought back great memories

  3. 5 stars
    Fabulous icing! Smooth, creamy and not too sweet.

  4. April White says:

    5 stars
    I’m very excited to try this frosting. However, how could I make it gluten free? I typically replace flours, as thickeners, with corn starch. Should I replace with corn starch or gluten free flour? Suggestions please. Thank you!!

  5. 5 stars
    Love this frosting. Can it be piped?

  6. 5 stars
    This is the only frosting recipe I use! My grandmother gave it to me & it was from her mother, who grew up in the 1800’s & used lard in the recipe. My grandmother converted the recipe to butter when she immigrated to the US from Sweden. So delicious!!

  7. 5 stars
    this is AMAZING! THANK YOU for sharing!

  8. I have always wanted to try this frosting! So intrigued!

  9. Christine Hudson says:

    5 stars
    This is my favorite icing ever!

    1. Felicia Jackowski says:

      OMG! This is my mother’s frosting! Hers was called “Fluffy White Frosting”. I have her recipe written in her own hand.She was born in 1913. I have not made it in over 30 years. This ethereal connection has inspired me to bake a cake and use this frosting once again! One slight difference is that hers did not have sea salt in it and had a bit of a different process.Thank you for what you do. I have tried and loved many of your recipes.