Fluffy Vanilla Frosting recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Cake
  • Cake decorating
  • Icing

You'll need to use an electric beater to get the best results but it works every time. It's best to wait until your cake is completely cooled before you make this frosting. Then you can cover it with this fluffy icing.

34 people made this

IngredientsServes: 18

  • 400g caster sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

MethodPrep:5min ›Cook:7min ›Ready in:12min

  1. In the top of a double boiler, combine the sugar, egg whites, golden syrup, water and vanilla. Place over boiling water and beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 7 minutes, or until frosting forms peaks when beaters are raised. Remove from heat.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(27)

Reviews in English (26)

by boopa

I love the frosting and when my children were young, I always made this frosting.However, the last two times i made the frosting the sugar did not dissolve all the way and it tasted like grains or sugar. What did I do wrong? Thanks-04 Jul 2008

by cindy f

I made this to frost a devil's food cake and it was wonderful. You have to work fairly fast while frosting your cake as it starts to set up (crust) a bit, so be sure to smooth the sides and top the way you want them because you can't really go back and do it again after a few short minutes like you can with buttercream. It was a nice light frosting and was wonderful with the deep chocolate cake, although it could be a little less sweet. Next time I will try to add a bit less sugar and see what happens. Also, I did not have graininess the next day as some other recipes of this type have suggested. All in all this one is a keeper. Thank you!-26 Jun 2007

by jackiew

I made this frosting over the weekend, and saw other comments on other sites that address the "grainy" issue some are having. The advice given on those is...don't let the boiling water touch the bottom of the pot in which you are mixing the frosting. Keep the water to a low simmer so that the water doesn't touch the top pot. If it touches, the frosting gets grainy. Hope this helps! I simmered the water and it turned out great.-08 Sep 2009

Small-batch Vanilla Frosting

Another Wednesday, another small-batch frosting recipe. I love sharing these small-batch frosting recipes with you because having an archive of different flavors means that you can mix and match them with my small-batch cupcakes and make the cute little cupcake batch of your dreams.

Over the last couple months, I’ve shared Small-batch Chocolate Frosting, Small-batch Oreo Frosting, and Small-batch Cream Cheese Frosting. This time, it’s classic, perfect Small-batch Vanilla American Buttercream Frosting.

What is American Buttercream Frosting?

American buttercream is a fabulous and convenient frosting that can be made with just a few ingredients, butter, powdered sugar, a little salt, some vanilla, and usually a bit of cream or milk.

Unlike Swiss, French, and Italian meringue buttercreams, American buttercream does not contain eggs, so there is no cooking involved. You just soften some butter, beat it until it is nice and fluffy and then beat in the rest of the ingredients.

From start to finish, it takes less than 5 minutes. I love it for small-batch baking because it’s so simple to make and easy to scale.

It’s also very tasty. This vanilla frosting is rich and buttery and quite sweet, with a smooth texture that crusts just a little.

The recipe makes 3/4 to 1 cup of frosting depending on how much air you beat into it, which is enough vanilla frosting to frost four to six cupcakes with a piping bag or up to eight cupcakes or cookies with a knife.

If you’re looking for a sweet and easy vanilla frosting for sugar cookies, cupcakes (I love it on my Small-batch Vanilla Cupcakes), maybe a little gingerbread house, this is the frosting you’re looking for.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using them. There is absolutely no additional cost to you.

My secret Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

I call this my “secret” Vanilla Frosting because it’s not a widely known type of frosting and people are always flabbergasted when I tell them how it’s made. It’s my best all-rounder that’s a hit with everyone. Take a classic buttercream, in all its rich, sweet glory, and a lightly sweetened whipped cream, and this Vanilla Frosting sits squarely in the middle.

Unlike buttercream, it’s 100% silky smooth. It pipes like a dream into tall swirls, roses, or anything your heart desires. And unlike whipped cream which deflates within hours, this Vanilla Frosting will hold its piped shape for days and days.

This looks and pipes like buttercream, but it’s WAY less sweet and rich!

This frosting is actually an old fashioned frosting called Ermine Frosting. Also known as boiled-milk frosting and roux frosting, none of these names sound particularly flash nor do they capture the magic of this frosting that has a cult following that some declare is the best frosting in the world!

Fluffy White Buttercream Frosting

This rich, creamy frosting is lovely swirled atop a cake or cupcakes.


  • 3/4 cup (149g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (if you use unsalted butter)
  • 1/2 cup (113g) boiling water
  • 1/4 cup (28g) meringue powder
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (454g) sifted confectioners' sugar or glazing sugar
  • 32 tablespoons (454g) unsalted butter or 2 cups (369g) vegetable shortening, or a combination of both, softened*


Dissolve the sugar (and salt, if you're using it) in the boiling water, and cool to room temperature.

Use a mixer on low speed to beat in the meringue powder, until the powder is dissolved and the mixture is foamy.

Increase the speed and beat until soft peaks form.

Beat in the vanilla, then the confectioners' or glazing sugar.

Add the soft butter or shortening a few tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Frost cake immediately or store buttercream at room temperature, covered, for a few hours before using.

Tips from our Bakers

If you want to use fresh egg whites instead of meringue powder, you'll need 4 large whites, at room temperature, plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar. Add the whites to the cooled water and sugar mixture beat the mixture until foamy, then add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form, as directed. If you're using pasteurized egg whites from a carton, use 1/2 cup liquid whites. The cream of tartar is critical and may need to be increased to 3/4 teaspoon in order to create a stable meringue.

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A note about the flour blend

I had originally made this frosting with a combination of cornstarch and my basic gum free gluten free flour blend. Since I always keep a container of that flour blend handy in my kitchen, and I always have cornstarch, it was easy enough to use both and the results were always spectacular.

Recently, though, I realized that most likely I could simply use tapioca starch/flour alone, and wouldn’t that be simpler. I tried, and it worked just as well. I then started using different combinations, even using all arrowroot, and the recipe still worked.

There are quite a number of recipes on the web for cooked flour frosting (also called ermine or boiled milk frosting), and many of them don’t seem to work very well. I believe that the secret to success in this recipe, other than the right balance of ingredients like any recipe, is cooking not just the milk and flour but also the sugar. Cooking the sugar along with the milk and flour means that the sugar changes form as well, which adds a lot of stability to the frosting.

As Karlie pointed out, this recipe makes a super velvet-smooth, fluffy-light frosting. It’s almost like whipped cream frosting, but it’s naturally very stable at room temperature which is a really nice thing in a frosting.

Go ahead and make it ahead of time. Then, either pipe it or spread it on your cake or cupcakes right away, or store it in an airtight container on the counter for a couple days before you’re ready to use it. It doesn’t separate. Plus, the recipe can be doubled easily. As written, it works for 1 dozen cupcakes or a single layer cake.

One more secret to success in this recipe. Temperature is everything.

The temperature of the flour, milk and sugar is irrelevant, but the cooked mixture must be cooled to room temperature before adding the butter. Otherwise, the butter will melt into the sugar mixture and the frosting will never whip.

Likewise, the butter (or shortening—see substitution information below) must be at room temperature before it’s added to the sugar mixture. If the butter is cold and the sugar mixture is at room temperature, everything will clump and resist combining into the beautiful whipped frosting you see.

Once the frosting is made, if it seems a bit soft, cover it in a bowl and refrigerate it for a few minutes. As written, this recipe creates a scoopable frosting. For a consistency that you can pipe easily and beautifully, place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with your favorite tip and place it in the refrigerator until it is chilled to the touch (about an hour). It will hold any shape you like.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla
  • 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • dash salt

In an extra-large bowl beat softened butter with a mixer on medium 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy.

Beat in 1 cup powdered sugar. Add 2 Tbsp. heavy cream, 1 tsp. vanilla, and dash salt beat on low until combined.

Gradually beat in 3 additional cups powdered sugar just until combined. Beat on medium 5 minutes or until fluffy, scraping bowl occasionally.

Add 1 Tbsp. heavy cream beat on high 1 minute more. (This frosts tops and sides of two 8- or 9-inch cake layers.) Makes 3 1/2 cups.

Tips for the Best Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Make sure you cream the butter, sugar, oil and vanilla completely. This will ensure that your cupcakes turn out perfect and that they’re not too dense.
  • It’s a good idea to add a bit more milk or water if your frosting comes out too thick. Do this a little at a time to avoid thinning it out too much.
  • Let your cupcakes cool completely before you frost them. If you don’t, the buttercream will melt and all your pretty piping will be ruined. You want the frosting to stay smooth and velvety.

Reviews ( 5 )

This is an amazing recipe. I've made this frosting multiple times and have had tons of compliments. My daughter asked for a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting for her 8th birthday. This weekend I had 11 girls sitting around a table eating the requested cake and nearly every girl was in disbelief that this was homemade, that their friend's mother made it, and at it's deliciousness. They gobbled it up. As many of moms/dads know, it's difficult to please a large group of kiddos! Some awesome things with this is the vanilla flavor, creamy texture, stiffness (easy to spread and any decorations with it stay in place), it doesn't melt if at room temp and it doesn't taste powdery or overly sugary like other frosting recipes with confectioner's sugar. I didn't change a thing with this recipe and will make it many more times - whenever I'm asked for vanilla frosting! I'd like really like to know how I can make something very similar but chocolate instead. I am still on the quest for a killer chocolate frosting with the same consistency.

Fluffy Frosting Recipe

This homemade fluffy frosting recipe produces a heavenly frosting that tastes like marshmallows.

It has a beautiful gloss to it and holds its shape well - and tastes wonderful.

In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and cream of tartar. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly this may take several minutes.

In a medium mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and vanilla to soft peaks (several minutes). Gradually add the sugar mixture while whipping constantly until stiff peaks form, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Homemade and store-bought vanilla frosting have a slight golden color. If you need a pure white frosting using vanilla frosting, simply add a drop of blue liquid food coloring to the frosting and stir well. It counteracts the yellow tint. Repeat until the icing is bright white.

This frosting will cover one 3 layer cake or one Angel food cake.

This fluffy frosting recipe uses Crisco shortening. My mom always made it when I was young. I loved it then, and I love it now.


In a large bowl, combine sugar, shortening, water and vanilla. Beat on low speed to combine, then beat on medium speed for a full five minutes.

It won't look like cake icing at first, but keep the mixer going for a full five minutes and soon you will perfect icing.

If you're not using this for decorating, but just for icing the cake, thin the icing by adding 3 tablespoons of corn syrup, or water to the icing.

If you substitute 1/2 cup of softened butter and 1/2 cup of Crisco (instead of the full cup of shortening), you'll have gorgeous tasty frosting. If you have 1 cup of softened butter instead of shortening, you will have fantastic buttercream icing.

Watch the video: 5 Icing Mistakes to Avoid for Cake Decorating Beginners! (October 2021).