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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 (6 reviews)

  • SikaB | 06/01/2022

    I am going to use this icing as my go-to buttercream icing from now on. The frosting is fussy and takes forever to make, but it is so worth it. It's not too sweet and is wonderfully light and fluffy. At first I thought it was going to be too soft to pipe, but it held the shapes perfectly - perfect crisp edges. All of my co-workers loved it. Just amazing.

  • User avater
    thebusychef | 11/30/2019

    My first time making buttercream icing with a flour milk base.
    It was delicious and easy to make. It does take sometime so plan in advance. I will keep recipe for future baking.

  • 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.

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