If you’re following me on Instagram and Facebook, you’ll notice that I rave and frost all my cakes lately with Ermine Frosting or cooked vanilla frosting. Its texture is very light, fluffy and it’s not too sweet like the American Buttercream that I learned and used a lot after my cake decorating class.
I fell in love with this frosting the first time I made it…Yeah, I felt the same way too with Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC) on my first try. However, I am not a great fan of SMBC after that first blissful moment because it melts—without fail!— in the middle of my cake decorating projects.
Actually, this frosting softens/melts too if left too long at room temperature. I discovered that alternating between 2 piping bags (storing one in the fridge to keep it chilled while working with the other one) works really well and has made my cake decorating journey an easier one.
Both the Ermine Frosting and SMBC involve some cooking but the former is definitely easier to make and less fussy than the latter. I only made SMBC twice but every time I make it, I am in a “super-stressed” mode!
First, I need to wipe all the bowls, whisk, measuring stuff, spatula, etc. with paper towels moistened with vinegar. This is to make sure that everything is fat-free and allow my meringue to rise well.
Second, I have to make sure that my butter is just right…soft but still cold. The timing is also crucial…it must be ready by the time I finish cooking the egg and sugar mixture. Being a self-taught baker, I am not sure if it’s okay to let the meringue sit out at room temp first as I wait for the butter to soften up. So unless I go for more courses or training in the future, I have to just follow all instructions well.
Lastly, I have to worry and prepare myself to do some troubleshooting. It’s quite normal for buttercream to curdle or turn soupy after adding the butter. You’ll see a lot of tips on how to deal with this online but fortunately, I didn’t experience any of these issues yet when I made my SMBC. But still, I need to prepare and anticipate…just because! Thus, the worrying and added stress.
So really, Ermine frosting is a lifesaver for me. I just prepare the flour and milk mixture, cover and let it chill until I am ready to do the next phase, which is to whip up the butter and add the flour and milk mixture! Then it’s done! Easy peasy…lemon squeezy:)
This is my go-to recipe for any frosting at the moment. I used this to frost my carrot cake as a plain vanilla frosting; added coffee, cocoa and Kahlua for my mocha cake and lastly, add about 1/3-1/2 cup of Nutella to make Nutella Buttercream which is good paired with my favourite chocolate cake.
You can keep it in the refrigerator for about 5 days or frozen for a month. Just thaw out in the fridge, take out and let it reach room temperature before using. You may need to whip it again to make it smooth, fluffy and creamy again.
Whisk constantly over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
- 40 g (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) All purpose flour
- 1/2-1c sugar (depending on how sweet you want it; I usually use 3/4 cup)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 c whole milk
- 400g unsalted butter, softened (you can use a combination of salted and unsalted; butter taste is too strong if you will use a lot of salted butter)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a saucepan.
- Slowly add cold milk while whisking continuously until combined.
- Cook over medium heat, still whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil and becomes thick in consistency.
- Transfer to a bowl and cover surface directly with cling wrap. Cool to room temperature or put in fridge to slightly chill for a stiffer consistency. **Ensure that the flour mixture is at room temperature or slightly chilled before proceeding to the next steps** I find my buttercream stiffer and better to pipe with when the flour/milk mixture is cold. Also, make sure that you use softened butter.
- Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream “softened” butter on med-low speed (4 in KitchenAid) until smooth.
- Add cooled flour mixture slowly (1 tablespoon at a time) and beat well after each addition. Combine well.
- Add vanilla extract and increase speed to high.
- Mix until light and fluffy.
Here are some of my decorated cakes using the Ermine Frosting.