Frosting that will get you hugs
There are two kinds of people: those who lick the frosting off a piece a cake and then those who eat the cake and not the frosting.
What do I prefer? Do you even have to ask? Both, together…in copious amounts.
For those who aren’t frosting people, their reasons usually are that it’s too sweet. I’ve never had that feeling but most of you know my sweet scale by now is a little skewed.
This frosting is for those that don’t like it too sweet.
I’ve been wanting to try this frosting ever since I saw it on the Pioneer Woman but was a little hesitant because it was flour based which didn’t sound appetizing at all and then it said to cook the frosting.
Cook the frosting? The result is silky, light, whipped cream-like frosting.
My husband teaches early morning seminary at our house. For one of his student’s birthday’s he asked if I could make cupcakes. What teenager, or adult for that matter, doesn’t want cupcakes at 6:00 AM? I’m always looking to make goodies so I said of course.
I was still sleeping when the birthday boy, Kevin, ate his birthday cupcake but my husband said he kept declaring that it was the best frosting he ever had.
I said, “Did you tell Kevin that’s actually the name of the frosting?”
My husband said, “No. But he liked it so much he did ask if it would be too weird if he gave you a hug.”
Hmm…at that moment it might have been a little weird since I was in bed…sleeping.
Frosting that will get you hugs
There are two kinds of people: those who lick the frosting off a piece a cake and then those who eat the cake and not the frosting.
- 5 Tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup butter, (2 sticks, room temperature (see note))
- 1 cup granulated white sugar, (not powdered sugar)
- In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. It took me around 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn it. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. You can place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools if you are in a hurry. Stir in vanilla. This mixture must be completely cooled in order for the frosting to work.
- While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add the cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat until it all combines and resembles whipped cream. Make sure you scrape down the sides every so often so that it all gets incorporated and whipped. If it's not looking like whipped cream, keep on whipping. This frosting is great for piping. Best served the same day.
Note: Your butter must be room temperature for this to work. Don't microwave it to get it soft. Bring it to room temperature on the counter. Source: recipe from The Pioneer Woman
I’ve made this before and LOVED it! I know you said to use it the day of, but wondered if you’ve ever frosted cupcakes ahead of time and refrigerated them? Did the frosting harden up? We have a party tomorrow but I’d like to finish them today!
Shoot it’s probably too late but yes, you can refrigerate
Hey! I absolutely love this recipe it’s my favorite frosting ever! Is there any way I could make it vegan? My friend’s birthday is coming up and I need to make a dairy-free cake. Do you think substituting butter flavored shortening and dairy-free milk would work?
I don’t know if that would work to be honest. But I could be wrong
This is great-tasting frosting. Can it be chocolate?
I’m sure there’s a chocolate version but I don’t have one.
Is there a recipe for chocolate frosting made this way?
I’m sure there is one out there but I don’t have one.
I had the same question and found one! Just add 1/4-1/3 cup of cocoa powder!
I love this recipe it’s very tasty.
I would like to know if I can make this 2 days ahead and if I can, should I store it in the fridge or in a container on the counter?
This is best used the same day in my opinion.
Can you add food colouring at the end?
can you add cocoa powder to make a chocolate frosting?
My frosting came together well but I used less butter as it seemed too oily. Why did that happen? After cake frosted the frosting seemed wet. More flour? More sugar?
I would suggest making it as written otherwise the results may vary.
I’ve used this recipe several times with rave reviews. Yet every time I doubt that it will come together properly. Be patient. Let that whisk do it’s job. It works beautifully every time!
How should you store this? Does it need to be refrigerated??
I don’t refrigerate it.
Will this recipe work for frosting a cake?
My mother-in-law taught me this same recipe 49 years ago and it’s my go to frosting recipe. In fact everyone in the family requests it. I think I could get away with half as much cake and twice as much frosting and they’d all be thrilled.
I tried this recipe in 2011. i still remember how tasty this is. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe
I will preface this by saying I usually can’t stand frosting! It’s always SOOOO sweet. This one though. Man I had to put the whisk down to keep myself from eating it. I ended up having to sub half a cup of shortening, because I realized I only had one stick of butter. Still amazing though, and a testament to a good recipe! This will definitely be my go to recipe from now on, and I look forward to experimenting.
Hopefully next weekend I will be trying it with corn starch rather than flour, as my mom cannot eat gluten for medical reason. Hopefully it will turn out well, and I will update!
I hope it works well! Thank you for the feedback Hannah.
I use heavy whipping cream with this recipe instead of milk.
How many times would I need to double this for a 4 layer cake?
I would just double it.
I hate sweet icing and this is literally the bestest icing yet for people like me.
This icing is made in a weird way but oh my gosh, it tastes soo good and have the right amount of sweetness and my family loved it!
Can I use heavy whipping cream or buttermilk in place of regular milk?
It will definitely have a different texture!
Omg. I’m making this icing as I type and had to share. This truly IS the icing that will get you hugs! Beyond amazing. And I hate most icings.
Awesome to hear!
I feel like this could have been good but I used natrual homemade butter and it just wouldnt whip and I dont know why. I followed the recipe to the T. It looks broken apart/separate and very thin.
Yeah the butter sounds like your issue.
Ive made my own butter and had the same issue, its the moisture content left in the butter, its so hard to get it all out by hand
Can this frosting be used under fondant?
I have used it many times under fondant
I see this says best the same day, but can it be kept in the fridge on a cake and have it a couple days later?
Yes, if it’s in the fridge!
This is basically poormans frosting! I completely forgot how great it tasted and how surprised I was it did. Has anyone succeeded in making this dairy free?
Yes, I agree!
Awesome! Easy to make and tasty. I will probably add less butter next time, but other than that it was perfect.
thank you Christy for this fabulous frosting recipe! im decorating a cookie cake for my hubbys birthday 🙂 he is so excited, i think he wants to hug you, too 😂
I really had high hopes for this frosting because I don’t like the regular frostings, but this tastes a LOT like butter, like biting into a stick! Sorry, but I am very disappointed.
did you add the vanilla??? i just made it, tasted it and thought the same thing you did! but then i reviewed the recipe and noticed i left the vanilla out… i added 2 tsp (my preference, i always double vanilla extract in every recipe i make) tastes really good now 🙂
I’ve been making this frosting since 1973 and we call it “poor man’s frosting”. It is my absolute favorite with chocolate cake! I got this recipe from my Aunt when I got married. Ours only varies in that it uses 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of shortening. I cook the flour and milk as soon as the cake goes in the oven and then refrigerate it until the cake is ready to frost so it has time to get good and cold. It makes a great whoopie pie filling too. Thanks for sharing!
This is the BEST frosting ever. I have been making it for over 25 years. I got the recipe from an issue of Country Magazine that belonged to my mom. If you haven’t tried it yet, you really should. 🙂
Hi quick question does this frosting take food coloring well?
Absolutely the best frosting ever! Not too sweet and super easy to make.
Glad you liked it!
Yuk. Tastes like a mouth full of butter! And 5 tbs of flour was TOO MUCH, it turned into big ball. Had to re do it and used 2 tbs. It looked good and was creamy but the taste was very unpleasing GAG! I added more vanilla, melted some brown sugar just to try to fix it even just a lil. But NOPE. After all said and done, I added a can of cherry pie filling too it and now it’s yummy! I think I just like an Extremely SWEETER frosting
Sorry you didn’t love it.
How many cups of icing does this recipe mke?
About 3 cups!
The first time I made this frosting it turned out perfect! But then the next few times it turned out with chunks of what looked like butter. I did exactly what I did the first time. Also I was wondering if i could put cocoa powder in it to make it chocolatey and also how much do you recommend.
I think you need to whip it even longer to get the chunks out. I haven’t tried a chocolate version but I’m sure you could do it.
I know it says it’s best if used the same day, but in my house, we don’t eat cupcakes THAT fast. How long will this icing keep, and how is the best way to keep it, once the cupcakes are iced?
You should keep them refrigerated and they should be fine.
Does this icing get stiff and hold piping styles like rosettes?
BEST FROSTING EVER! So silky, so nice. I added some whipping cream at the end to decrease the butteryness a bit and holy smokes. It was perfect before but I’m just not a fan of butter. Thank you!
Yes, than this is the one for you!
Oh my!! this is THE BEST icing. The only thing I am putting this on is a spoon. Yum Yum
thank you for sharing this recipe.
A little too sweet for my tasting and I have a pretty sweet tooth. I would lower the amount to 2/3 cup, Besides that it;s good, the texture is amazing and can’t wait to make it again!
Awesome to hear!
I used this recipe for a chocolate cake & it was so delightful. Top recipe worth a try you will be impressed. I thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Josette (Sydney, Australia)
Thank you Josette!
I want to bake some cupcakes and make this frosting, then freeze them. How does this frosting freeze?
I have not tried freezing it but others have successfully.
I grew up having this. We call it milk gravy frosting since it starts out being cooked and thickened on a stove top, which resembles poultry gravy.
It’s our go to for spice cake and carrot cake. Instead of vanilla we sometimes use maple flavoring- delicious!!
Maple would be a great addition!
This recipe is amazing! I won’t be making any other frosting recipe ever. My boyfriend has a lot of food allergies, particularly corn. His favorite cake is devil’s food with white icing. I cannot use any store bought frosting because they all contain corn and soy. I’ve been looking for a great white frosting recipe for his cake and this is it!!! After I made it, I told my daughter to try it and she said it was the best frosting ever and how did I get it so light and fluff. She also said I should make this frosting for all cakes. Thank you for the tips on making this, mine first batch came out perfect and everyone, including my boyfriend, loved it.
Oh my gosh! I love hearing that.
This recipe has been in our family for 6O+ years & has always been referred to as “Poor Mans Whipped Cream.”
It’s an old southern recipe & like many good recipes it has been passed around & fiddled with & all due respect to the lovely Pioneer Woman but it has been around much longer than she has. Like all good cooks you pass along beloved recipes.
My recipe card written by my 92 yr mother says to whip the butter & sugar for a full 10 minutes. It is repeated “ YES 10 MINUTES & underlined. It was her go to recipe for a devils food cake for special occasions & Served with home made raspberry sorbet for our birthday parties. Sometimes my mother made choc. Cupcakes & cut a cone out of the top of the cupcake& generously filled it with the poor mans frosting & frosted the top as usual.
This is my sister & daughters favorite choc cake& frosting & require it for their birthdays. For my SIL I add 8 oz of cream cheese to the poor man’s frosting recipe to frost his red velvet bday cake.
My sister just turned 60 & I made her a triple layer Duncan Heinz devils food cake with poor man’s whipped cream & it was perfection. Use your favorite choc cake recipe. Buttermilk choc cake is good too. I use:
1 Duncan Heinz Devils food cake mix
1 small choc instant pudding mix (dry)
1/2 C canola oil
3/4 C milk
It will be thick.
Grease & flour pans. Parchment ok
[email protected] 350 DO NOT overbake
For my sisters triple layer choc. birthday cake I used a 10” pan for each layer which is ONE cake mix in EACH pan.
I tripled the frosting recipe & put the cake on a large footed cake plate & it was one fabulous cake.
I make the cake the day before & leave layers covered overnite to keep them moist & frost the cake the day of.
If that’s not convenient its ok to frost the day before but it does firm up the frosting & changes the texture of the frosting ever so slightly but set cake or cupcakes out on the counter an hour before serving & it is perfectly fine. My daughter actually prefers the chilled over nite version. Up to you.
If it’s a warm day & I’ve frosted the “day of” sometimes I set it in the fridge for a half hour or hour to let it firm up a bit.
The cooked flour “roue” is all important. It must be thick enough & absolutely cooled. My recipe calls for room temp but I frequently put it in the fridge.
If you are having trouble with your frosting being too thin..make another batch of the cooked flour mixture & put in fridge or freezer to cool. Then add it to the thin frosting & it should be fine. I don’t think it alters the frosting texture flavor much if at all & it works to firm up a thin frosting. No need to add more sugar or butter etc. just the cooked & cooled flour mixture to the frosting mixture you’ve already got going. Be sure to beat it well.
My daughter prefers a grainier texture to her frosting so I beat it less & use reg granulated sugar. For everybody else I use extra fine sugar & beat it at least the full ten minutes or more. It’s really important to beat the butter & sugar mixture til its fluffy & creamy & sugar is not grainy BEFORE adding the cooked flour mixture. This recipe is perfect for a Red Velvet cake but is also delish if you add an 8 oz block of cream cheese after you beat the butter & sugar 10 min but before adding the cooked cooled flour roux. It DOES NOT ruin it to add cream cheese. It’s a delish cream cheese frosting & I’ve used it on lemon or lemon blueberry cake & just add some lemon zest to it.
I also frequently make a double batch of frosting as I use it to crumb coat with & for a generous middle filling.
I also use salted butter to offset the sweetness but this not a sweet frosting which is part of the appeal.
One frosting recipe is adequate for one 2 layer 8” cake or generously frosts one 9×13 or 18-24 cupcakes depending on how thick you like it. It’s basically one frosting recipe per cake mix.
For cupcakes I frequently make a 1.5 recipe but it’s not necessary. The Fam likes a thicker frost & I usually have a line of peeps waiting to lick the bowl & beaters. Enjoy!
Ooh thanks for all of the tips!
Can I add fresh strawberries to make it strawberry flavored? If so, how much ,?
Thank you very much! I’m going to have fun making everything just the way you commented. I’m glad you specified it all so well.
I don’t know if I will get any hugs or not but I do want to hug you for this recipe… I have made this frosting twice in two days and it just keeps getting better. Did I mention that I have never been able to make frosting of any kind successfully, like ever.. Plus good cream cheese is expensive where I live and this is so much better while being cheaper and just perfect for a hobbyist baker like me… Thank you so so much…
Ooh Amy, you’re welcome!
Yeah….the sugar NEVER dissolves.
this looks amazing. Is it possible to turn it into a chocolate frosting?
I’m wondering the same thing. Have you tried it yet?
i am so sorry christy but your frosting is terrible. i tried this out following the instructions to a T, and it is just plain bad. it tastes like something mama june would make- all i can taste and feel is butter butter butter. it’s overwhelming and made me nauseous.
i thought i would try out this recipe and give y’all a chance, but this just proves that white people can’t cook for life lmao.
I love this frosting, best on Red Velvet, the only frosting recipe for red velvet to my buds.
A few times the sugar had not dissolved well, I discovered after frosting, at room temp the sugar will show as if separated in mixture,
Any tips on making sure butter/sugar mixture is ready to blend with cooked mixture , well cooled!
Two problems with this frosting. Got a Flour taste to it plus not firm enough to pipe flowers.
I was trying to make a green peppermint frosting that wouldn’t be cloying. First, for some reason my milk and flour thickened in under 2 minutes. Was my heat too high? And my frosting didn’t turn out to be an even green; I added the food coloring with the vanilla and peppermint extracts. Did I not cream the butter well enough? This recipe was great, thanks for sharing.
My icing turned out like straight butter and sugar. It’s not whipping, how long do I stir until it’s whipped?? I’ve been stirring for 25 minutes.
I used a stand mixer, which might be easier. It came together really quickly.
I tried this recipe but I found the icing to be too soft for piping as it always goes limp and separates.
I think you need to whip it longer.
Should I use low heat or high heat?
Hi there, I’m so excited to try this recipe for my kiddo’s birthday party cupcakes. Any thoughts on how many full-sized cupcakes this recipe will cover? Thanks!
I just tryed this and think I didn’t beat enough but still tastes good. Think the vanilla made it a yellowish color. Thanks for the recipe. I think with a little practice will turn out better. Should have also let the butter get a little warmer.
You can use clear vanilla extract instead of pure vanilla extract to make it remain white.
My mom also made this recipe when I was a child, I will be 60 this year. The only think different with my recipe is you cook the milk, flour AND sugar together. Everything else is the same. The sugar melts when you cook it and after you cool the cooked mixture you beat in the butter and you don’t have to beat it so long because it isn’t grainy from the sugar. Hope this helps anyone who is having a problem with the sugar.
Thank you for your tips!
Sorry, I’m not much of a baker. I’m assuming the flour is supposed to be plain flour, and to heat it on a low setting? Also, how many cupcakes do you think this would frost? ^^;
Yes, just plain flour and cook on a low setting. I think it would frost around 24!
Could I add cream cheese to this to make it a bit of a cream cheese frosting or would it ruin it?
It would totally change the texture of the frosting and I think it would ruin it.
My great aunt used to make a homemade red velvet cake, and this icing was what she used on it. Absolutely delicious!! You would ruin it with cream cheese.
I always make my own frosting/icing so I am not new to this. I tried this recipe for my twins 3rd birthday yesterday and it was SO wet. Like dripping liquid off the cupcakes. I had to trash it and make a different one 10 minutes before everyone got there haha.
Does the milk need to be whole milk? I usually only have skim milk in the fridge but I would assume a milk with some fat would be better for this frosting.
In my experience skim does not work as well.
Good morning, I have been making this frosting for 10 years now and the reactions to this frosting are, to say the least “Outrageous” in a good way. I was curious if anyone had ever tried making this with buttermilk to give it that sour taste. When ever I make a cake it is last minute, for a special occasion or for some one else. So I get scared and talk myself out of trying it. If someone else has tried it I would love to hear what the results were.
OK it is me Lori again, my thoughts were connected to my original post…so I am using the comment box. I am going to try it ! Live bold right? incited of milk i used buttermilk and boy does it set up quick! My flour milk mixture always looks thicker then your picture. soon as that cools I will use brown sugar instead of white. This is the part that scares me because brown sugar is so much more moist. What I am hoping for is a light salted Carmel flavored frosting (using salted butter instead of unsalted ). Hmmm NOT what I expected! The buttermilk comes through as the *STAR * using brown sugar… I don’t know if i didn’t pack my sugar tight enough or if it is just the combination. It was not sweet at all, very much buttermilk taste and did not taste like Carmel at all. I think if I needed a buttermilk flavor I would make it again but use white sugar and play around it might need a little extra sugar. Hope this helps anyone that is wondering.
This is probably a very weird question, but has anyone made the pudding part with juice or something in place of the milk that’s not an official milk sub like nut milk? I want a flavored frosting but this is so light it doesn’t seem like it would hold up to adding juices or syrups once it’s all come together
Can I use margarine instead of butter?
No. It reacts totally differently.
Plain or self-rising flour?
Just saw answer above….disregard above question. 🙂