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Very Vanilla Frosting

Scott Phillips

Yield: Makes 8 cups; enough to thickly frost one 8- or 9-inch, triple-layer cake

Billowy and not too sweet, this may become your new favorite frosting. Pair it with the Very Vanilla Layer Cake or your favorite layer cake.


  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 oz. (2/3 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 24 oz. (3 cups) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 540
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 350
  • Fat (g): 40
  • Saturated Fat (g): 25
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10
  • Cholesterol (mg): 110
  • Sodium (mg): 30
  • Carbohydrates (g): 45
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Sugar (g): 41
  • Protein (g): 3


  • In a small bowl, whisk the sugar and flour, breaking up any lumps of flour.
  • In a 4-quart heavy-duty saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to medium low and whisk in the flour and sugar a little at a time until incorporated. Increase the heat to medium high, bring the mixture to a boil, and cook, whisking frequently, until thickened to a pudding-like consistency, 10 to 11 minutes.
  • Strain through a medium-mesh sieve into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool, 7 to 8 minutes. Reduce to low and add the vanilla.
  • Add the butter a few pieces at a time, increasing the speed to medium after most of the butter is added. Stop the mixer after all of the butter is incorporated; the frosting will look chunky. Let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  • With the whisk attachment, whip the frosting on medium-high speed to emulsify and incorporate air; this will take up to 20 minutes. The frosting should become more pale and voluminous. If too soft, place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again. If too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat until spreadable. If at any point during frosting it looks broken, simply rewhip it. You can’t overbeat it.
  • Use on our Very Vanilla Cake or on your favorite 8- or 9-inch triple-layer cake.


Rate or Review

Reviews (4 reviews)

  • dougnbec | 10/05/2018

    Decided to try this because I really don't like traditional frostings. It's the first time I've eaten ice cream since I was a little kid...finally, an icing that isn't overly sweet! Very pleased.

  • Sylviasg | 06/05/2017

    Very pleased with this recipe. Nice taste, not too sweet, easy to work with. The extra work for the prep is worth it for the results. Did not try piping it, but will next time. When the frosting is room temp, tastes similarly to whipped cream. It is my new favorite frosting recipe

  • WhiteBow | 07/29/2016

    This is actually an old recipe, usually called "boiled milk frosting" or something like that. I've seen very similar recipes from Paula Deen, in Carole Walters' "Great Cakes," and in Cook's Country magazine, among others.The instructions here are overly fussy. You don't need to boil the milk first, or let it sit for two hours, or beat for 20 crazy minutes. Stir the flour and sugar together, slowly mix in the cold milk and cream, and cook until thick. Chill in an ice bath, then when it's cold, beat in soft (room-temp) butter (or shortening if you want it whiter). Whip for 5-10 minutes, depending on how powerful your mixer is.It's a lovely frosting--light and sweet, and it pipes well.(I'm trying to give it 4 stars, but none are showing up.)

  • kball | 06/06/2016

    I made this frosting with rice flour and it turned out great. I used it to frost a large sheet cake for a party. Nice flavor and not too sweet.

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