A light, silky smooth frosting made with a roux base and granulated sugar.

Vegan Ermine Frosting

Ermine Frosting goes by many names. Some know it as boiled milk frosting, while others call it butter roux. I just call it delicious. Light, silky smooth, and not nearly as sweet as American Buttercream, this frosting is my favourite for toping both cakes and cupcakes alike.

(pictures updated on June 5, 2017)

A light, silky smooth frosting made with a roux base and granulated sugar.

Keep in mind that this frosting does take a little planning, as you need to give yourself time to make a roux and allow it to completely cool (even just a little warm, it will ruin your frosting).

Traditionally, cubes of butter would be whipped into the roux base, but the modern way is to whip the roux into the butter one tablespoon at a time. I’ve done it that way, but to be honest, have found no difference in adding the roux a tablespoon at a time and adding the whole roux mixture at once (so long as your roux is made properly).

Also, I have heard some people complain about graininess (due to the frosting using granulated sugar instead of powdered). Their solution is to cook the sugar in the milk when making the roux. I’ve tried this way too, and it does work, so give it a try if you’re having difficulties or if you’re choosing to use organic sugar (which granules tend to be bigger). However, my experience is, if the frosting is still grainy it means that you haven’t beaten it long enough.


Ermine Frosting

Recipe Type: dessert
Makes: approx. 3 1/4 cup frosting / enough for 12 cupcakes or a 2 layer 8-inch cake.

A light, silky smooth frosting made with a roux base and granulated sugar.


  • 1 cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk (I used unsweetened almond)
  • 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (optional)*
  • 1/2 cup Vegan Butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 cup Shortening
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar


In a medium sized saucepan, whisk together the milk and flour until thoroughly combined.

Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, whisking continuously (to prevent scorching and lumps from forming). When the mixture begins to bubble, cook for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.

Scrape the roux onto a clean plate and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the roux (this is to keep a skin from forming).

Allow to cool to room temperature (I cheat and chill it in the refrigerator).

Once the roux has completely cooled, cream the vegan butter and shortening together until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (3 – 5 minutes), scraping sides as necessary. Beat in the vanilla, if using. Add the roux and continue to beat until smooth and resembling whipped cream (3 – 5 minutes). Test it, and if there is any graininess continue to beat.


*Vanilla extract will slightly tint frosting. If you want to keep it as white as possible, simply omit.
-Frosting can be stored for unto 7 days, covered in the refrigerator. When ready to use, allow it to come to room temperature and briefly beat it to re-gain texture.




A light, silky smooth frosting made with a roux base and granulated sugar.




8 thoughts on “Vegan Ermine Frosting

  1. Pingback: Strawberry Soda Cake « The Misfit Baker

    1. Starr @ The Misfit Baker

      Thanks for bringing that to may attention, I’ve just corrected the instructions. You cream the vegan butter and shortening together before adding the sugar… Shortening is similar to lard as it is a fat that is solid at room temperature. However, unlike lard, shortening is (usually) made out of vegetable oils. I say usually because some brands use lard or sneak it into the mix, so check the ingredients. Earth Balance, Crisco, and Spectrum are amongst the many vegetarian brands.

  2. Pingback: Strawberry Cream Cake | The Misfit Baker

  3. Jo

    Hi! This frosting sounds fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing. Just wondering if it is suitable for piping like traditional buttercream i.e. will hold shape on the side of a cake? Thanks 😊

    1. Starr @ The Misfit Baker

      Thank you!… This frosting is softer than an American butter cream (the kind made with butter and powdered sugar), but I often pipe it and find that it works well. I hope you enjoy it 😊

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