Heritage Frosting Recipe


4.91 from 10 votes
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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.)

Welcome to Add A Pinch

About Robyn

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.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Review


  1. Carla says:

    5 stars
    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 !

  2. Michelle Copeland says:

    Does this make enough frosting for a 3 layer cake?

  3. judy leffler says:

    5 stars
    This is the only kind of icing I use on my Red Velvet Cakes! It just doesn’t get any better than this recipe! BTW, I use butter not shortening.

  4. Jo Ann Dill says:

    Advice, please. Whenever I have made this icing in the past, the taste is wonderful; however, there is a small crunchy sugar consistency. How to I correct this?

  5. Alanna says:


    I was looking for a lighter frosting for a vanilla cake with a lemon curd frosting. Could I put a couple tablespoons of lemon juice in the frosting or would that affect the texture?

    Thank you!

  6. Christine says:

    Help! I have made this twice and had the same horrible results! For some reason it forms a consistency where it sees like the butter is separating and becoming oily 🙁 the first time I thought maybe I somehow did something wrong (even though I’m fairly experienced in the kitchen) but I just made it again while being extra careful and yet the same disaster 🙁

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      I’m sorry you had bad results with this recipe. I would recommend a couple of things. You’ll want to be sure that the flour and milk are cooked until they are very thick. I’ll add a note on the post to make sure that it is clear that the consistency at this step is very, very thick. Then, you’ll want it to be cooled completely before incorporating the butter. Again, sorry you had bad results.

  7. Christine says:

    Help! I made this last night for the first time, to use on red velvet cupcakes. I followed the recipe and directions, but my frosting seems to have broken down, like the butter separated. I followed everything and whipped for a few minutes until it looked similar to whipped cream. Tasted it and was like YUM. By the time I got it in my piping bag and began to put on the cupcakes, the texture and appearance changed…where the sugar granules suddenly became very visible and it looked like the butter was separating…giving an almost oily appearance/texture. What did I do wrong?

  8. Krista says:

    Hi! What bars or cake are in the picture for your heritage frosting? They look so yummy!

  9. Comfie says:

    I just made this frosting. I stirred the flour and milk mixture till it thickened and after it cooled I added it to the butter and sugar mixture but after beating it for a while it had flour lumps in it. Is it ruined and what did I do wrong? Maybe I should not have allowed it to cool and get firm?

    1. Winnie says:

      Great stuff this frosting. I have made this recipe for years and one thing I have always noticed is that during the beating process sometimes it looks like a bowl of snot. Just keep beating. (I just walk away from my stand mixer) Sometimes it takes a long time. Then all of a sudden through some miraculous process it turns awesome. You can see it before your very eyes!

  10. Leah W. says:

    How do you keep the frosting from having lumps of flour? I’ve made this frosting a few times before and always have lumps, even when I’ve sifted the flour. Thanks.

    1. Nikita says:

      I’m planning to make a two tier cake. Would this frosting hold the cake well if used in the bottom tier, or will we have issues with crumbling. I’m planning to use the chocolate version of this frosting with the chocolate cake recipe on your blog. Pls do tell me if this is a good idea. Also for seconds, will the chocolate cake recipe on your blog go well with chocolate ganache frosting. Please help. Planning on using this for a two tiered birthday cake. One last query, like the butter cream frosting can I paint with gold lustre dust on this frosting. Will there be any issues?