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Ermine Frosting (flour buttercream)

Close up of a Thermomix bowl with whipped cream vanilla Ermine frosting inside

I know, you think I’ve gone mad. But, I haven’t. This is a very old recipe, one devised before the days of cream cheese icing. I thought I’d share it with you because my Swiss Buttercream Recipe gets so many lovely comments.

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Ermine frosting has a similar texture to the Swiss Buttercream but, it’s easier to make.

Both Swiss Buttercream and this Ermine Buttercream are creamy and silky in texture. They’re also not as sweet as American Buttercream, and that’s a plus for me.

This is a recipe I learnt way back. I’d almost forgotten about it until recently when I was writing a post on making white sauces, and the reasons why learning the technique of making a roux was important. OK, so it’s not technically a roux because, for that, you start with fat and flour and cook that out. It is similar though, but you need to know how to avoid lumps.

A thickened flour/water mix in a while bowl on a table.
Start with this (a thickened flour/milk mix)

Why would you make a cooked flour-based buttercream?

The texture and taste of this “roux-like” buttercream is not unlike my swiss buttercream recipe, and that’s a huge hit. However, this one doesn’t use eggs. That’s got to be a bonus these days for taking cakes to school. I know there are so many egg allergies out there these days. It’s also not super sweet, so you won’t find people scraping back the buttercream to get to the cake. In fact, I find I need to portion it out so every bit of cake gets a decent amount. ??? Anyway, let’s get on with it.

This is a very simple buttercream, but of course, there are rules. If you’ve had issues making swiss meringue, then try this one. I’m sure you love it.

Buttercream being whipped in a bowl.
Buttercream being whipped in a bowl

Pain Points of a flour-based Buttercream.

  • Make your thickened flour/milk mix and allow it to completely cool (even a little chilled is OK) before adding it to the whipped butter. (follow my recipe instructions)
  • Make sure your butter cubes are chopped into 2cm or smaller pieces and are cold for the Thermomix method or around 15 min out of the fridge for the Conventional method (follow my recipe instructions)
  • When adding the roux-type mixture to the whipped butter/sugar, lift and scrape the mix from the base and sides of the bowl halfway through mixing to make sure it’s all combined.
  • If you’ve completed the recipe and your mix still looks a little lumpy or grainy, mix a bit more until it becomes smooth. You can over-whip it, though so watch for that. Overwhipping can cause the butter to soften too much; to avoid that chill it in the fridge.
  • I’m going to say this again, because the people that have made my swiss meringue and have had problems, often missed this bit. Make sure the thickened flour/milk mix is cold before adding it to the butter. If you don’t, you will risk melting the butter, which will ruin our buttercream. (You can try to recover it by chilling and whipping it again, but it’s just not quite the same….)

What can I use this frosting on?

  • Cakes toppings and fillings
  • Cupcakes toppings
  • Biscuit fillings
  • Use it as the glue for cake balls instead of cream cheese
  • Traybake toppings
  • Sweet loaf Toppings
  • Macaron fillings
  • Swiss roll fillings
Close up of a red velvet cake on a white plate.
Red velvet cake with the Ermine Buttercream

How to Store Ermine Frosting

If you’re making your frosting and planning on using it within a week. You’ll need to refrigerate it in a sealed container to prevent it from taking on other flavours. When you want to use it, just remove it from the fridge and whip it back to a pipeable or spreadable texture.

You can also freeze this sort of icing, make sure it’s in a sealed container and it will be OK for around 3 months. When ready to use it, just bring it to room temperature and whip it to a pipeable consistency. Be careful though, if you overwhip, your butter it may get too soft, and your buttercream will be too runny. As with most buttercreams, It’s the chilled butter that makes this icing stiffer.

Want to know more about Buttercream?

• Here’s my swiss buttercream recipe; it’s loved by many.

• And here are a couple more buttercream recipes, one of which will help you on hot days. I’ve given you some idea of what a pastry chef or cake decorator does for warmer climates.

• We talk more about buttercreams in our Bake Club Online seasons. If you’re into baking, maybe this is something you’d enjoy.


What can I do if I’ve over-whipped my buttercream and it’s now too soft to pipe?

Place it in the fridge and give it at least an hour. I like to spread it out in a bowl, so it chills quickly.

Can I add colour and flavour to this buttercream?

Yes, of course, you can use it as you would any buttercream. Have fun and play.

What makes this buttercream silky smooth?

It’s the thickened (cooked out) flour and milk. It gives a lovely texture to the butter and sugar.

Should my buttercream be grainy?

No, it shouldn’t. If you’re referring to sugar granules, it can be whipped a few seconds more to remove them but make sure it stays chilled. Did you use caster sugar (with its small grains)?

How can I store flour buttercream?

Before using it, it can be stored in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container. Up to a week in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.

Close up of a Thermomix bowl with whipped cream vanilla Ermine frosting inside

Ermine Frosting (Flour Buttercream)

4.84 from 12 votes

5 stars tells us you love the recipe

This smooth creamy (Ermine) buttercream is delicious. Not too sweet, and with a texture not unlike a cream cheese frosting. You have to try it.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Course Cake
Cuisine French
Servings 12
Method Thermomix and Conventional


  • Thermomix or Standmixer


  • 50 g flour
  • 250 g full cream milk Swap to plant based milk for vegetarian
  • ¼ tsp flaked salt or ⅛ tsp table salt
  • 10 g vanilla extract 2 tsp
  • 250 g unsalted butter small cold cubes
  • 200 g caster sugar


Themomix Method: Read my post for tips

  • Add the flour and milk to the TM bowl with the MC out set 10 minutes/100°C/speed 2.5 As soon as the TM stops remove the mix from the bowl and set aside to cool. Place a cartouche (layer of clingfilm or baking paper) on the top of the mix to prevent a crust from forming.
  • When the thickened milk/flour mix has cooled completely, add the cold cubes of butter, sugar, salt and vanilla to the TM bowl and mix for 30 seconds/speed 6. No more than this, and make sure the butter has come straight from the fridge.
  • Lift the butter from the base of the bowl and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the cold thickened milk/flour mix to the TM bowl and mix again 10 seconds/speed 6
  • Remove the lid, and using a spatula lift the mix from the base of the bowl and scrape down the sides. Add the butterfly and set the TM for 5 seconds/speed 3.5. Check to see if everything is well combined, if not lift and scrape down then repeat. 5 seconds/speed 3.5 Don't over mix

Conventional Method: Read my post for tips

  • Add the flour and a touch of milk to a saucepan, mix to make a paste, then add a touch more and mix, keep adding the milk like this until it's all combined with no lumps.
  • Set the saucepan on the stove and heat on a medium heat constantly stirring until the mix has thickened. This should take around 8 – 10 minutes. Then remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
  • Once the flour/milk mix has completly cooled continue on. Add the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla to a stand mixer and beat until completely combined. Add the thickened milk/flour mix bit by bit while the mixer is running, scraping down and lifting from the base where necessary. Continue to mix until light and fluffy.


  • If you have a hot kitchen, you can even go as far as chilling your thickened milk mix, which should be not warmer than room temp (21c).  The slightest warmth will soften your butter too much.
  • Your butter should be small, cold cubes straight from the fridge for the Thermomix and a few minutes out of the fridge for stand mixers, so it’s soft enough for the paddle attachment to whip. 
  • The more you beat it, the softer it will become, so don’t overbeat.  If it starts to soften, quickly pop it back in the fridge to chill before going on.  
  • You can add colour and flavour to this buttercream just as you would any other. 
  • I’ve found the easiest way to make this is to make the thickened milk one day, chill it overnight and finish it off the next day.  
  • If you’ve joined bake club with us and want to return to the buttercream module, you can find it here.

Want to know more?

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    1. Hey Natasha,
      I haven’t tried it, but based on my experience, I don’t think so, also, you may not be able to aerate it as well without the fine sugar crystals. So, I believe it would end up being too runny. You could try a small test by removing a portion and mixing one of the two ingredients in.

  1. Hi, thank you for this recipe! I’m excited to try it as I usually use SMBC but this seems easier, especially in the Thermomix. Just wanted to know how big a cake this will cover? I need to to cover the outside of a tall 20cm cake. Is one batch enough? Thanks again!

      1. I’ve just made this and the icing was grainy – I could feel the sugar granules in the mixture. Should I use icing sugar instead of caster? I’m not decorating until tomorrow, will the sugar dissolve? Thanks again

        1. Hi Holly,

          If you’re using caster sugar from the shop (not one you’ve made in your Thermomix), the grains will all be the same size. The idea is that the grains cause tinny bubbles in your mix, making it light and airy. It would be best if you mixed it a bit longer, so those grains dissolve but don’t go too far so that the mix deflates like a balloon. Gosh, I hope that makes sense.

  2. Just looking for some advice. If you do the thermo method and want to make the 3x quantity of icing – does it fit in the thermo and able to make this all at once or do you need to follow the method 3x for the 3 batches

    1. Hey Fiona, I wouldn’t overload the Thermomix, you won’t be able to get enough air in there if you do. The recipe is going to give you just over 600g so I’d be making it in batches to get a nice airy icing. 😉

4.84 from 12 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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