A twist on an old school recipe! This ermine frosting features strawberry purée to give it a summery kick and an adorable pink color. A perfect alternative to buttercream frosting with less than half the sugar!
While traditional buttercream frosting will always have a huge piece of my heart, after trying ermine frosting for the first time last year, I've got to say it quickly shot up to my favorite frosting of all time!
I have a MAJOR sweet tooth (like put-8-bags-of-sugar-in-a-small-cup-of-coffee kind of major) but even I have to admit that buttercream frosting sadly does not pair well with every recipe because it can overpower certain desserts with how sweet it is.
Ermine frosting on the other hand, really does go well with anything and EVERYTHING!
I already shared my favorite basic ermine frosting recipe here, but today we're adding a boost of summery flavor by incorporating strawberries into the mix!
But before we get into the recipe, let's do a quick little rundown on ermine frosting. Starting with....
what is ermine frosting?
Ermine frosting is very similar to buttercream in terms of texture (both equally fluffy, airy, and cloud like!) You might hear it referred to as "flour frosting" or "boiled milk frosting", but it's all the same. It's an oldie, but a goodie that was most traditionally paired with red velvet cupcakes and cakes!
Ermine frosting is made using a bit of a unique method. It involves cooking a mixture of sugar, flour, and milk until thickened like a custard, cooling, and then gradually adding this to butter.
Because of this special technique, ermine frosting is much less intense in terms of sweetness (because while buttercream gets its structure and body from powdered sugar - ermine frosting is thickened with the cooked flour mixture).
The result is the perfect frosting for people who may find buttercream overpoweringly sweet, and it holds its shape just as well as any other frosting!
what does ermine frosting taste like?
Ermine frosting has an almost custard like taste to it, with an unbelievably smooth and velvety texture. In terms of flavor, this version of ermine frosting tastes almost like strawberry ice cream! Just minus ... you know, the ice.
how to make strawberry ermine frosting:
1. Whisk together sugar, flour, and salt. This helps work out any clumps.
2. Gradually whisk in milk followed by strawberry purée. Slow and steady is the key to, again, avoid clumps!
3. Cook mixture. This base doesn't take too long to cook, but it's important to do so over a low heat so the sugar has time to dissolve and blend into the rest of the base. Cook until the mixture starts to boil and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
4. Cool flour base. The flour base needs to cool COMPLETELY to room temperature before using - otherwise it will melt the butter and lead to a soupy mess. And "soupy mess" is not at all how anyone would want their frosting to be remembered...
To cool, transfer the flour base to a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the mixture to prevent condensation and skin formation!
5. Cream butter. You really, really, REALLY should use an electric mixer or stand mixer for these next steps, otherwise .... ouch. Let's just leave it at that. The butter should be lump free and slightly pale in color.
6. Gradually add in flour base. There's a lot of "slow and steady" going on in this recipe, and usually I will be the first to tell you to skip something like that, but here, it's a must to get the right texture and even blend!
Add the strawberry/flour mixture to the creamed butter about 2 tablespoons at a time, whipping very well after each addition before adding the next one! This frosting is going to want to clump on you, so this helps keep things smooth and manageable.
7. Add vanilla and (if desired) food coloring. Final step is to add your flavor, and if you want a richer pink color, feel free to add some food coloring. Gel based coloring is best to avoid any potential consistency issues.
I didn't add any food coloring to my frosting this time around, so the hue you see in the photos throughout this post is what you can expect without the coloring.
And you're all set to pipe, spread, and frost to your heart's desire! The consistency will be about the same as buttercream, so you can pipe some really intricate designs. For those of you like me who suck at decorating, we can just stick to our easy peasy swirls lol
Check out these other recipes!
• Classic Ermine Frosting
• Blackberry Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream Frosting
• Espresso Buttercream Frosting
• Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
• Chocolate Ganache for Frosting (3 Ways)
• Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
• Easy Cream Cheese Frosting
Strawberry Ermine Frosting Recipe
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup (40g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (120mL) milk
- ½ cup (120mL) strawberry purée * see notes
- 1 cup (2 sticks / 225g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepot, pour in sugar, flour, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- Gradually pour the milk into the flour/sugar mix, whisking well as you do to prevent clumps, until fully incorporated and smooth. Add the strawberry purée and whisk to combine.
- Place your pot over a stove burner set to medium-low heat. Cook the milk mixture, whisking constantly, until the flour and sugar are fully dissolved, the mixture boils and it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. It should be about the consistency of pudding, but it will firm up a bit more as it cools. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes of cooking.
- Pour your cooked milk base into a medium sized bowl. Cover with plastic wrap pressed against the surface of the base to prevent skin formation and condensation. Set aside to cool completely to room temperature before using.
- In a large bowl, cream butter until lightened in color and fluffy. This takes about 2 to 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed with an electric mixer fitted with the beater attachment.
- Gradually add the cooled milk base to the creamed butter. Add about 2 tablespoons of the base to the butter at a time, beat well to incorporate before adding in another addition. Repeat until all of the base is well incorporated into the butter and you're left with a light and fluffy mixture.
- Add your vanilla to the frosting, and (if desired) a few drops of gel food coloring to intensify the pink color. I was personally fine with the pale pink so I didn't add any dyes. The photos you see above are what it will look like without food coloring added.
Yessenia Alvarez says
My frosting appears curdled. I allowed it to cool in the fridge and it felt room temperature when I finally did whip it into the whipped butter. What went wrong?
Hey Yessenia! I'm so sorry to hear the frosting didn't turn out!!! There are a few possible reasons for it appearing curdled, and it depends on when you noticed the recipe starting to go wrong. If the strawberry milk base was clumpy, it could be due to cooking it over too high of a heat or not mixing it enough as it was cooking (but based on your question, I'm assuming the base looked fine when you put it in the fridge). The most common problem I've dealt with when developing this recipe is, if the strawberry milk base is added to the butter too quickly, it can easily clump up. It's important to add it in EXTREMELY slowly and whip it well before adding the next addition. Other possible reasons could be that the butter didn't whip up enough before the first addition of the milk base, or the milk base didn't cook long enough (and thicken enough) which would create excess moisture. I hope this helps!! ❤️
Debbie Sandler says
How far ahead of time can you make the “pudding”?
Hey Debbie! You can make the base up to 5 days in advance and keep it stored in the fridge, or you can freeze it for up to 2 months! Keep it stored in an airtight container for maximum freshness, and let it come to room temperature before using to make the frosting 🙂