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This Heritage Frosting Recipe has been one that has topped Red Velvet Cake in my family for as long as I remember.
Heritage frosting includes ingredients and is made a bit differently from how you might think of a frosting, but definitely don’t let that scare you away from making this wonderful frosting recipe.
Heritage frosting is made by cooking flour and milk over low heat until it is thick, then allowing it to cool completely. As it cools, you whip together butter, sugar and vanilla until they are light and fluffy before adding the butter mixture to the cooled flour mixture and whipping until it resembles fluffy whipped cream. Believe me, it is out of this world delicious and the perfect pairing for so many delicious desserts! Once you taste a cake topped with this frosting, you will be completely smitten, I think. Totally smitten.
You may also want to give my Chocolate Heritage Frosting recipe a try. It is divine!
Here is the Heritage Frosting recipe that Mama learned when she was in high school. She’s been using it ever since.
Heritage Frosting Recipe
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup butter or vegetable shortening
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Cook flour and milk on low heat until very, very thick. Cool completely before moving forward with the recipe.
- Cream sugar and butter and vanilla until fluffy. Add to completely cooled flour and milk mixture. Using a paddle attachment, mix on high speed with an electric mixer until the mixture is the consistency of whipped cream. Spread the frosting on completely cooled cakes or other desserts.
- Store in the refrigerator.
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(This post originally published November 7, 2010. Republished on December 12, 2014.)
Does this make enough frosting for a 3 layer cake?
I’ve made this frosting for many years. You must whisk the milk and flour while it cooks,otherwise it will have lumps. I cover the pan with Saran Wrap and refrigerate until it is cold. Beat the butter and sugar for 5-8 min. before adding flour mixture. Then beat 10 more minutes. It’s amazing !
I’ve been searching for this recipe for the icing for years. “My” birthday cake was always red velvet too, with this icing. Not cream cheese icing! Along the 37 years the fragile paper (recipe) was misplaced. Finally, I found it!!! You have brought me back to some cherished memories. (Yes, just because of red velvet cake!) This cake and icing was made for me since I’m in diapers. Obviously, since I’m hunting the entire nation for this recipe, it is by far, the most exquisite icing I have EVER had. Anywhere. It’s not too sugary, more whipped, and simply perfect. No one could possibly be unhappy.
Aww, Kris, this makes my day! I have memories childhood memories of this frosting too, so I am so happy that you’ve found it! I am glad you enjoy it and I’m thrilled you dropped in to leave me a comment about it! Thanks so much! xo
Loved this recipe, but I thought I should half it again to make enough icing for the three layer red velvet cake.
So happy you enjoyed it, Mary-Anne! xo
I did look through many comments to make sure my question wasn’t already answered so here it is, does this frosting hold up well to freezing? I want to make a Red Velvet cake and this is also the frosting I remember from childhood but not sure if it will freeze well, as in on the cake and frozen by the slice? Thank you
I’ve not frozen red velvet cake slices with this frosting so I can’t answer for certain about how it holds up in the freezer. Looking at the ingredients, I don’t see why it wouldn’t though. I would just be certain that each of the slices are packaged well to prevent them from drying out in the freezer. Good luck and keep me posted how it works!
I must have made some sort of error. I’ve tried it twice and it won’t fluff and is wayyyyyy too sweet!
I’m sorry it didn’t turn out fluffy for you Reta. I haven’t had that happen and have not found it to be too sweet for frosting. Maybe there are some pointers in the blog post that may help…also make sure as in step 1 of instructions to cook the milk and flour on low until VERY thick then completely cool before moving on. When reach the next step, make sure you whip on HIGH until fluffy.
I hope some of this helps to see what may have happened. Thanks! xo
Could we get some clarity on “very thick” please? Should the flour/milk be like glue? Like gravy? Like paste? Paint? Ty!
Fantastic. Light as clouds.
I ended up heating/whisking the flour and milk for 20 minutes until it was like a thick glue. Then transferred the mix to Tupperware and it went in the freezer. Instead of my mixer’s paddle, I used athe whisk attachment and whisked the shortening/sugar/vanilla for 8 minutes on highest setting. I added the flour/milk and whisked another 10. It was perfect.
Hard to believe women used to do this by hand.
I agree with you, Kate. I am so glad I don’t have to mix this frosting by hand. I’m so glad this turned out well for you. Thanks!
I’ve made this frosting for years with my Red Velvet Cake and love it! I have always wondered if it could be made with powdered sugar, so that it wouldn’t be so grainy. Have you ever tried it with confectioners sugar?
Terri, if I don’t make the Heritage Frosting for my red velvet cake, I make my Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. You might like to try that.
Is the red cake with white areas, shown at top of this recipe, on your website? This is a favorite frosting of mine, but that cake looks fantastic!
The cake in the photo is my Red Velvet Marble Cake Recipe, Cindy. I hope you enjoy the cake.