Heritage Frosting

Heritage Frosting! This creamy, not-too-sweet frosting starts with a cooked flour and milk mixture! Such a great alternative to traditional buttercream!

Heritage Frosting is creamy and not overly sweet. It starts with a cooked flour and milk mixture giving it a unique flavor and texture. Such a great alternative to traditional buttercream!

Heritage Frosting! This creamy, not-too-sweet frosting starts with a cooked flour and milk mixture! Such a great alternative to traditional buttercream!

Here we are again! Another Frosting Friday in the books! I am loving this series and hope you are as well. I can already tell it’s going to be a great resource for my site moving forward, mixing and matching cakes to different frostings! Yay for butter and sugar!

Frosting Friday Week One - PERFECT BUTTER CREAM #FrostingFriday

SO so many of you have asked about this frosting…requesting something a little less sweet than traditional buttercream.

My mom used to make this frosting whenever she made her Red Velvet cake…which I will be sharing with you guys soon! It happens to be the absolute BEST red velvet cake recipe in all the land and I am just sorry I haven’t shared it with you before!

Anyhow, part of what makes that cake the best is the FROSTING! I have heard this type of frosting called a lot of different things…Cooked Flour Frosting, Boiled Frosting, Magic Frosting, Ermine Frosting…

Anyhow, my mom called it Heritage Frosting, so that’s what I will call it too. The difference in the recipe is that you boil milk and flour together, almost like a gravy, until it’s very thick. This serves as the base of the frosting.

Heritage Frosting! This creamy, not-too-sweet frosting starts with a cooked flour and milk mixture! Such a great alternative to traditional buttercream!

You let it cool completely. You can even do this step ahead of time and refrigerate it until you’re ready to use it!

While you’re cooking the milk and flour, you have to whisk it CONSTANTLY. You do NOT want any lumps, because once they’re there, there’s no turning back…trust me I’ve tried.

Basically you’ll end up with lumpy frosting and that’s just gross. Once the flour mixture is cooled, you mix together butter and sugar.

Heritage Frosting! This creamy, not-too-sweet frosting starts with a cooked flour and milk mixture! Such a great alternative to traditional buttercream!

Here’s where I went a little off-script. My mom’s recipe (and most of the ones I have found online) call for granulated sugar. I have made it that way and it’s good. That’s the way my mom made it, and it’s probably the traditional way to make this frosting. HOWEVER.

This is my website and I get to make the rules. Please feel free to try it with granulated sugar, if you wish… but since I think you come to me for MY favorites, I actually like making this with powdered sugar.

Sorry, it’s just what I prefer.

I feel like the powdered sugar gives it a silkier texture…and actually it’s a little less sweet, in my opinion. I will include the granulated sugar adaptation in the recipe, so you can make your own choice.

Mix the cooled flour mixture in with the butter and sugar until it’s fluffy and silky!

Heritage Frosting! This creamy, not-too-sweet frosting starts with a cooked flour and milk mixture! Such a great alternative to traditional buttercream!

Seriously how gorgeous is that?!

Now, another tip I will give you…

When I was testing this recipe, I made a few batches. One batch I used immediately on a cake and it was amazing. The other batch I saved and refrigerated to use on a cake later that week.

When I was ready to use the frosting, I pulled it out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature. I re-whipped it, so it would be fluffy and creamy. But it just didn’t work. The frosting became thin and curdled-looking…and just kid of goopy.

Anyhow, I tried it again the following week, with the same results. So I don’t recommend making this in advance. I would make it and frost your cake or cupcake the same day. Once it’s on the cake, I had no trouble with the texture, although it does soften up the longer it sits, but it is still completely tasty.

Heritage Frosting! This creamy, not-too-sweet frosting starts with a cooked flour and milk mixture! Such a great alternative to traditional buttercream!

You can absolutely pipe this frosting, but I would not use it for piping flowers or anything you would like to hold a clean shape. I like this best spread on, but that’s just my opinion!

Stay tuned for my Red Velvet Cake recipe!


Heritage Frosting

  • Author: Cookies & Cups
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. In a small saucepan whisk the milk, flour and salt together constantly on medium-low heat until the mixture thickens. You will want it to be the consistently of a very thick gravy.
  2. Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool completely, stirring occasionally.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer beat the butter and sugar for 1 minute, or until creamy. Add in the cooled flour mixture and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Frosting will become thick and smooth.
  4. Use immediately.


I have never had luck refrigerating this frosting for later use. It tends to separate and get runny when re-whipping. I recommend using immediately.

If you prefer to make this the traditional way, sub out the powdered sugar for 1 cup of granulated sugar. Follow all the instructions the same way.




30 Responses

  1. Jeanne

    I’ve made this frosting for years—to use as a filling for cream puffs! It looks like whipped cream but is so much more stable! πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to try your version with powdered sugar–using the granulated sugar takes forever to get that smooth silky texture. Thank you.

    1. Shelly

      agreed! My mom never whipped it long enough so there were always sugar crystals…which I actually like haha! But for a silky smooth texture, the powdered sugar is my favorite!

  2. Barb

    When I make a similar frosting, I add the granulated sugar to the cooked mixture, and pass it through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. This is my go-to frosting when I am out of confectioner’s sugar. It is really good.

  3. Laura

    I have a recipe similar to that but I never used salt or all butter. It has a 1/2 cup of butter and a 1/2 cup Crisco. I never have used powdered sugar in it either.

  4. Scarlett Hedden

    Love using this frosting…it is so good … I usually use the granulated sugar but tried it with your powdered sugar suggestion and it is yummy! Love it on chocolate cake!! Thanks for the great suggestion!

  5. Cheryl

    Your recipe notes say that you recommend “using immediately”.

    What about leftover cake? Can/should the cake then be stored in the fridge or room temp??

    1. Shelly

      Ahh yes, use immediately, meaning spread on your cake or cupcakes immediately. It will be fine once it’s on your cake… but I ran into problems when I was testing this, when I saved it for later and tried to rewhip it, it became a little soupy. But it will last for days on your cake. It’s strange, but I tested this so many times and that’s what I found!

  6. JodiP

    I made the icing and it separated almost instantly. The flour / milk mixture was cool and thick. It looked great for 30 seconds and then started to look curdled- I wonder what happened?

    1. Ella

      Hi there, having made this today and having a lot of experience with buttercream: this probably means your ingredients were too cold! Good news is if you just keep beating the buttercream (for up to 10-15 minutes sometimes!) it will almost certainly come together. On the other hand, sometimes it could mean it’s too warm, in which case just stick it in the fridge for 10 minutes and try again πŸ™‚

  7. Sharon

    I would love to make this. I have a question. Is it possible to reduce the amount of sugar. I do not want my frosting to be too sweet.

  8. Mary

    Shelly! I am so glad I found your recipe. I have made this in the past with granulated sugar and found the issue I had was finding the right thickness with flour and milk. Any visual suggestions? Like the bottom of the pan stays clear when you put a spatula through it or something like that?
    I can’t wait to try this with powdered sugar. You are a rebel πŸ™‚

  9. No thanks

    Honestly, there is something wrong with this recipe. I’ve made cooked frostings many times and this one was not right– too curdled–no matter how much sugar I added to it to try and save it. I checked it against my Betty Crocker book and the ratios are way different.

  10. Pooh Walker

    This frosting is very tasty! I tried it along with your cake Recipe….. Both turned out very well!

  11. Mary Beth Hornung

    If you put the cooked mixture and the granulated sugar in the mixing bowl and beat until the sugar is dissolved (about 5 minutes), then I add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing for a minute or so after each. Once all the butter is in, I cover the bowl with a towel and turn the mixer on high…5 minutes later you’ll have frosting that won’t separate! Yum!

  12. MARY

    I have made a variation of this recipe many times. I use the microwave to cook the blob and the sugar is added to the mixture to be cooked. 2 minutes, 2 minutes and then 1 minute on high. Whisking between each time. Also substituted 1/4 cup Crisco for a that amount of butter. I love butter but this was a bit too buttery for me.

  13. Julia

    This!!!! This is the frosting I grew up with on red velvet cake! It’s absolutely the best, though we’ve always used granulated sugar and half crisco and half butter, and I think that makes the difference for storing it before putting it on the cake. Also, from personal experience skim milk REALLY doesn’t work as well.

  14. Yes!!! I was so pleased to find that you use this frosting on your red velvet. That’s how I have always preferred it. I started making red velvet about 15 years ago from a Magnolia Bakery cookbook. (Not Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia, but the NYC bakery.) I used their frosting recipe that is like this and I’ve made it probably 100 times since. It is a tricky recipe and I think all your notes are spot on! I’ve made it both ways; sugar and powdered sugar. Both are good! It is absolutely my favorite frosting!

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