0 1
Old Fashioned Frosting

Share it on your social network:

Or you can just copy and share this url


3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons bleached flour
pinch salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup solid shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Old Fashioned Frosting

The super velvety texture of this wonderful frosting comes from a cooked flour and milk base. Really! Try it!

  • Serves 12
  • Medium

About This Recipe

Most frostings these days use butter, with powdered sugar, cream or milk, and flavorings beaten in. That type of frosting is just fine – in fact, it can be really good. But for the smoothest and most velvety white frosting, Old Fashioned Frosting is the recipe to use.

It’s unusual because flour and milk are cooked together until thick. This paste is cooled, and is then beaten into a mixture of butter, shortening, powdered sugar, and granulated sugar. The flour paste adds incredible smoothness to the frosting (those finely divided solids again), and you don’t taste the flour at all. Don’t worry about the solid shortening – it makes the frosting a more pure white color and you won’t taste that either.

You can substitute butter for the sold vegetable shortening if you’d like. The frosting will not be as white, however. It’s up to you!

Try this frosting recipe on white cakes, carrot cakes, yellow cakes, and chocolate cakes. You’ll love it!

Tips for the best Old Fashioned Frosting:

  • Make sure that you cook the flour mixture thoroughly. Do not skimp on this part of the recipe. The flour needs to be food for two reasons: Food safety (because flour is a raw agricultural product that can contain harmful pathogens), and because cooking gets rid of the raw flour flavor.
  • You also have to beat the shortening and sugar combination thoroughly so the sugar dissolves. If the sugar doesn’t dissolve the frosting will be gritty. Taste a bit of the mixture to see if you can sense any grains of sugar. If you can, beat some more.

Why this recipe works:

  • The flour mixture adds a velvety richness to the shortening and sugar mixture. Some powdered sugar reduces the possibility of graininess, and the whole thing has an elegant and old fashioned flavor and feel.

Subscribe to my emails!



In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream, flour, and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture becomes very thick. Cool for 30 minutes.


In a large bowl, beat the butter and solid shortening together. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar and powdered sugar. Beat in the cooled flour mixture.


Then beat again for at least 5 minutes until the frosting is very smooth. Beat in the vanilla. Then frost the cake!


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake
Dark Chocolate Frosting