Ermine frosting also goes by the names milk frosting, flour frosting, American buttercream, and flour buttercream. Made from an unappetizing sounding mixture of milk and flour paste, ermine frosting is actually incredibly delicious by the spoonful. It has a more subdued sweetness than other styles of buttercream frosting like German buttercream or cream cheese frosting, which usually have a richer flavoring. It's silky smooth and very easy to work with in your pastry bag and decorative tips. This frosting is usually featured prominently in cake decorating tutorials. With lots of carbohydrates and cholesterol, this is hardly a healthy food, but a little indulgence every now and then is fine.
Ermine frosting can be easily colored with food coloring to make that pastel unicorn birthday cake your kid wants or those pink sloth design cupcakes you saw on pinterest. If a sloth is your spirit animal like me, then you need to learn how to make ermine frosting the way your great-grandmother most likely did.
What Does Ermine Icing Taste Like?
Ermine frosting is most similar to a Swiss meringue buttercream because of the heated cooking process. With Swiss meringue buttercream, eggs and sugar are cooked over a double boiler, whipped into meringue peaks, and then butter is added to thicken.
With ermine frosting, the flour paste is the base and no eggs are used. So if you have anyone with an egg allergy, ermine buttercream is what you need for their birthday layer cake. The classic flavor of ermine is achieved through vanilla extract, but you can make a chocolate frosting version instead by adding cocoa powder to the cooked flour mixture.
Granulated sugar is used in ermine frosting instead of powdered sugar. The sugar will be dissolved in the milk mixture so don't worry about a crunchy or grainy texture.
You want to use softened unsalted butter and then add pinches of salt to bring together the flavor.
It's dessert, people. Use whole milk for this recipe. But if you insist, 2%, almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk will also work.
Ermine icing is perfect for red velvet cake, chocolate cupcakes and cakes, vanilla cake, or strawberry cake. Really any cake recipe in your arsenal will work with this classic frosting recipe. The frosting can be flavored easily. How about peanut butter flavored frosting on chocolate cupcakes? Yes, please.
Pro tips: Make sure your butter isn't too soft, as this will give you runny frosting. If that happens, adding a little more flour to thicken. Also if your pastry bag full of frosting is too gloppy, put it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to help with the consistency.
There's no such thing as too much whipping with this frosting. If the consistency is a little off (too grainy or separated), blend and whip some more before deciding on if any flour or milk needs to be added.
How To Make Ermine Frosting
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Cooling Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
You'll need granulated sugar and all-purpose flour to make your roux. Also have salt, milk, softened unsalted butter, and vanilla extract for flavor.
Combine your sugar, flour, and salt in a mixing bowl and break up lumps. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, start whisking in the milk until smooth.
Resist the urge to turn up the heat. Slow, steady, constant whisking is the key to getting the thick paste or pudding-like consistency you want.
Once it's smooth and thick, remove from stove, pour into bowl, and cover the surface of the frosting with a piece of plastic wrap pressed onto the surface of the flour mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Cool completely to room temperature.
Next, get out your stand mixer and whisk attachment or handheld electric mixer and start beating your butter on high speed until fluffy. Take your time and make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the butter.
Once fluffy, slow the speed and start adding the cooled flour mixture in small amounts at a time. Cooling is important because you don't want curdled frosting! Just keep whisking until whipped and fluffy, then add vanilla extract at the end and food coloring if you're using it.
The frosting can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a week. Always work with the frosting at room temp. Re-whip it to get all that fluffiness back for best results.
Get the full recipe for ermine frosting here.
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