Heritage Frosting Recipe


4.91 from 10 votes
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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.

Red Velvet Marble Cake Recipe

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

4.91 from 10 votes
This Heritage Frosting Recipe makes a delicious, light frosting perfect for so many desserts such as red velvet cakes and rich chocolate cakes.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 20 (2 tablespoons) serving


  • 3 tablespoons (22.5 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (227 g) whole milk
  • 1 cup (226 g) butter, or shortening
  • 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) vanilla extract


  • 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.


from Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers, Desserts Edition, 1963
Makes about 2 1/2 cups.


Serving: 2 tablespoons | Calories: 132kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 78mg | Potassium: 23mg | Fiber: 0.03g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 303IU | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Robyn xo

(This post originally published November 7, 2010. Republished on December 12, 2014.)

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Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

4.91 from 10 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Recipe Review


  1. Debra says:

    5 stars
    THANK YOU for recommending the Heritage Frosting recipe! The ORIGINAL frosting for this cake! (I know a lot of people use cream cheese frosting but this is NOT the authentic way to make a true Red Velvet Cake.) This is such a great cake. I LOVE all your recipes, keep em coming!

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      I’m so glad you made the Heritage Frosting for this cake and loved it, Debra. This is the way my mother always made this cake and frosting.

  2. Cindy says:

    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!

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      The cake in the photo is my Red Velvet Marble Cake Recipe, Cindy. I hope you enjoy the cake.

  3. Terri says:

    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?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      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.

    2. Sandra I Sleet says:


      I have an old frosting recipe from my mom for the red velvet cake she made every year for my brother’s birthday, which was on Christmas. The recipe is similar to Robyn’s; but, it uses powdered sugar, corn starch and water. Mix 2 Tablespoons of corn starch with 1 cup of water. Cook until thick and then cool. Cream, until fluffy, 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 cup of softened butter, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Add the two mixtures together and beat until it is like whipped cream. Then, spread all over the cake.

  4. Kate says:

    5 stars
    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.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      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!

  5. Reta says:

    I must have made some sort of error. I’ve tried it twice and it won’t fluff and is wayyyyyy too sweet! 

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      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

    2. Kate says:

      Could we get some clarity on “very thick” please? Should the flour/milk be like glue? Like gravy? Like paste? Paint? Ty!

  6. Joey says:

    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 

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Hi Joey,
      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!

  7. Mary-Anne Loftus says:

    5 stars
    Loved this recipe, but I thought I should half it again to make enough icing for the three layer red velvet cake.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      So happy you enjoyed it, Mary-Anne! xo

  8. Kris says:

    4 stars
    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. 

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      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