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    Traditional Red Velvet Cake With Ermine Frosting

    After sharing my first red velvet cake recipe (which now has over 100 five star reviews!), I’ve since had many readers asking for a traditional red velvet cake recipe that uses an ermine frosting. This recipe uses the same base cake layers as my original red velvet cake, however the cream cheese frosting is replaced with a silky smooth, light, and not too sweet ermine frosting!

    red velvet cake with ermine frosting

    What is Ermine Frosting?

    Ermine frosting, also known as boiled milk frosting or flour frosting, is a classic type of frosting that has a smooth and creamy texture. It’s made by combining flour, sugar and milk to make a thick paste (almost like a pudding), which is then cooled and whipped with butter to make the frosting. It’s sometimes also called a roux frosting, as the intial flour/milk mixture is similar to making a roux. Who would have thought you could make frosting out of flour right?!

    Ermine frosting is lighter than regular buttercream. Its texture lies somewhere in between a whipped cream and buttercream – so not too light but not too heavy either. It’s also less sweet than a regular buttercream. And don’t worry.. you can’t taste the flour at all!

    Cream cheese frosting vs ermine frosting for red velvet cake

    It may surprise you, but ermine frosting was the classic frosting used for red velvet cake. Red velvet cake with ermine frosting gained popularity in the Southern United States in the mid-20th century. This frosting complemented the mild chocolate flavor of red velvet cake while providing a smooth and creamy texture.

    In recent years, cream cheese frosting has become a popular alternative for red velvet cake – so popular that most people haven’t even heard of ermine frosting! Cream cheese frosting adds a tangy and slightly savory element that contrasts well with the sweetness of the cake. However, ermine frosting remains a classic choice for those who prefer a smoother, less tangy frosting for their red velvet cake. The choice between ermine frosting and cream cheese frosting often comes down to personal preference.

    What do I prefer? I am a HARDCORE cream cheese frosting fan, so personally I like the tanginess cream cheese frosting provides. However, ermine frosting is a strong competitor, and is one of my favorite frostings. I actually prefer it over American and Swiss style buttercreams! It not only goes well with red velvet cake, but is a popular option for chocolate cake too!

    How to make Red Velvet Cake with Ermine Frosting

    Red Velvet Cake Layers

    Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease and/or line two 8 inch cake tins (I use my homemade cake release). If using a convection oven (an oven with a fan) then decrease baking temperature to 160C or 320F.

    In a bowl, sift together your flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Using a whisk or fork, mix until well combined. Set aside.

    red velvet cake with ermine frosting

    In another bowl, add in your butter, vegetable oil and sugar. Using an electric mixer (hand or stand mixer are both fine), cream together for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy.

    Add in eggs one by one, mixing well in between each addition (about 10-15 seconds between eggs).

    red velvet cake with ermine frosting

     

    Add in your vanilla, vinegar and red liquid food colour, and mix until well combined. Now set your mixer aside as the remainder of the batter will be finished by hand.

    Finish off by adding in half of your premixed dry ingredients to your wet mixture, and gently fold it in with a spatula until just combined. Then add in all of your buttermilk, and fold it in until just combined. Lastly, add in the remaining dry ingredients and gently fold it into the mixture until just combined. Do not overmix.

    red velvet cake with ermine frosting

    red velvet cake with ermine frosting

    Distribute the batter evenly into the two 8 inch cake tins, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Be careful not to open the oven door too early otherwise this can cause the cake layers to sink. Also avoid overbaking the cake layers otherwise they will dry out.

    red velvet cake with ermine frosting

    Once baked, allow them to cool in the cake tins for about 15-20 minutes, and then turn them out onto a wire rack to completely cool before frosting

    Ermine Frosting

    Place a saucepan over a medium heat and add in sugar and flour. Using a whisk or spatula, continuously mix for 2 minutes to gently toast the flour. Be careful not to burn the flour – the color shouldn’t visibly change.

    Next add in half of the required milk and mix until the mixture is smooth. Once smooth, add in the remaining half of the milk and again mix until the mixture is smooth. 

    ermine frosting

    Keep gently stirring until the mixture begins to bubble. Once bubbling, continue to stir for another minute until the mixture is thick in consistency. It should have a thick paste/pudding like texture.

    Allow to cool to room temperature. I like to pour the mixture onto a plate, cover the top with cling wrap so that the cling wrap is touching the flour mixture (to prevent a skin from forming) and freeze for 30 minutes.

    ermine frosting

    Next in a large bowl add in butter, and using a hand or stand mixer on a medium-high speed, whip for 5 minutes until it’s light and fluffy.

    Next add in flour/milk mixture a tablespoon at a time while continously mixing. Ensure the mixture is at room temperature (not hot or cold) otherwise it may curdle.

     

    ermine frosting

    Once done, add in vanilla and salt. Mix until well combined. The frosting is now ready to use!

    ermine frosting

    How to decorate red velvet cake

    Here is how I decorated my red velvet cake for those who want some ideas/tips 🙂

    Usually I would begin by trimming (or torting) the tops of my cake layers with a serrated knife to make them flat, but these red velvet layers bake up really nice and flat so no trimming is required. I placed my first cake layer onto my cake stand and added a generous amount of frosting on the top. I then smoothed it out with my offset spatula.

    red velvet cake with ermine frosting

    I then placed my next cake layer on top, and then spread out a generous amount of frosting on the top and sides of the cake. I then used my cake scraper to smooth out the sides, and used my offset spatula to bring that top lip of frosting into the middle of the cake so that I have some nice smooth edges.

    I then used a 1M piping tip to pipe some cupcake swirls on the top of my cake! If you’re new to piping check out my beginner’s piping tutorial or 1M piping tip tutorial.

    red velvet cake with ermine frosting

    Commonly Asked Questions

    How do you store red velvet cake with ermine frosting?

    Due to the milk in ermine frosting, the cake cannot be left out at room temperature for an extended period of time. A few hours at room temperature will be fine, but overnight the cake will need to be refrigerated. Store in an airtight container before refrigerating to prevent the cake from drying out.

    Can I use gel food coloring instead of liquid color for this recipe?

    Yes, you can use gel food coloring in replacement of liquid coloring, however you will need to dilute the gel colour with just under 3 1/2 tablespoons of water or milk to make up for the liquid lost when using gel colors. This recipe requires 3 1/2 tablespoons of liquid colour, however if using gel colours you won’t need that much as gel colours are concentrated. Additional liquid helps to thin out the batter and results in a fluffier, more velvety texture in your final cake.

    Can I use this recipe to make red velvet cupcakes?

    For a cupcake version of this cake, check out my red velvet cupcake recipe. It’s basically a smaller quantity of this recipe – just enough to make 12 cupcakes! If you would like to use ermine frosting on the cupcakes instead of cream cheese frosting, then simply half the amount of ermine frosting used in this recipe.

    Can I use a buttermilk substitute?

    buttermilk substitute will work fine for this recipe. Check out how to make your own buttermilk substitute here.

    red velvet cake with ermine frosting

    Red Velvet Cake With Ermine Frosting

    After sharing my first red velvet cake recipe (which now has over 100 five star reviews!), I've since had many readers asking for a traditional red velvet cake recipe that uses an ermine frosting. This recipe uses the same base cake layers as my original red velvet cake, however the cream cheese frosting is replaced with a silky smooth, light, and not too sweet ermine frosting!
    5 from 2 votes
    Print Pin Rate Watch Video
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 35 minutes
    Cooling Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
    Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
    Servings: 12 servings

    IMPORTANT: For accuracy, I would recommend using the gram measurements provided as those are the exact quantities I use. Cup measurements are given as estimates (based on US cup measurements) to make it easier for those who do not have a scale.

    Ingredients
     

    Red Velvet Cake

    • cups (275 g) flour - regular, all purpose flour
    • 3 tbsp (18 g) cornstarch
    • 3 tbsp (14 g) natural cocoa powder - unsweetened, best not to use Dutch processed (see note 8)
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp salt - omit if using salted butter
    • 6 tbsp (86 g) unsalted butter - room temperature
    • ¾ cup (141 g) unflavoured vegetable oil - I use canola
    • cups (344 g) white granulated sugar
    • 3 large eggs - room temperature
    • 1 tbsp (12 g) vanilla essence/extract
    • tsp white vinegar
    • tbsp red liquid food colouring
    • ¾ cup (158 g) buttermilk - room temperature

    Ermine Frosting

    • cups (300 g) white granulated sugar
    • ½ cup (68 g) flour - regular, all purpose flour
    • cups (360 g) milk - full fat
    • cups (340 g) unsalted butter - room temperature
    • tsps vanilla extract/essence
    • tsp salt

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) (see note 7 for convection oven) and grease and/or line two 8 inch cake tins (I use my homemade cake release).
    • In a bowl, sift together your flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Using a whisk or fork, mix until well combined. Set aside.
    • In another bowl, add in your butter, vegetable oil and sugar. Using an electric mixer (hand or stand mixer are both fine - see note 6), cream together for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy.
    • Add in eggs one by one, mixing well in between each addition (about 10-15 seconds between eggs).
    • Add in your vanilla, vinegar and red liquid food colour, and mix until well combined. Now set your mixer aside as the remainder of the batter will be finished by hand.
    • Finish off by adding in half of your premixed dry ingredients to your wet mixture, and gently fold it in with a spatula until just combined. Then add in all of your buttermilk, and fold it in until just combined. Lastly, add in the remaining dry ingredients and gently fold it into the mixture until just combined. Do not overmix (see note 1).
    • Distribute the batter evenly into the two 8 inch cake tins, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Be careful not to open the oven door too early otherwise this can cause the cake layers to sink (see note 2). Also avoid overbaking the cake layers otherwise they will dry out.
    • Once baked, allow them to cool in the cake tins for about 15-20 minutes, and then turn them out onto a wire rack to completely cool before frosting. For tips on how to frost your cake, check out the blog post above where I walk you through how I decorated mine with pictures, or watch my YouTube video below 🙂

    Ermine Frosting

    • Place a saucepan over a medium heat and add in sugar and flour. Using a whisk or spatula, continuously mix for 2 minutes to gently toast the flour. Be careful not to burn the flour - the color shouldn't visibly change.
    • Next add in 3/4s of a cup of milk (180g) and mix until the mixture is smooth. Once smooth, add in the remaining 3/4s of a cup (180g) of milk and again mix until the mixture is smooth. In total you're using 1 and 1/2 cups of milk (360g).
    • Keep gently stirring until the mixture begins to bubble. Once bubbling, continue to stir for another minute until the mixture is thick in consistency. It should have a thick paste/pudding like texture.
    • Allow to cool to room temperature. I like to pour the mixture onto a plate, cover the top with cling wrap so that the cling wrap is touching the flour mixture (to prevent a skin from forming) and freeze for 30 minutes.
    • Next in a large bowl add in butter, and using a hand or stand mixer on a medium-high speed, whip for 5 minutes until it's light and fluffy.
    • Next add in flour/milk mixture a tablespoon at a time while continously mixing. Ensure the mixture is at room temperature (not hot or cold) otherwise it may curdle (see note 9).
    • Once done, add in vanilla and salt. Mix until well combined. The frosting is now ready to use!

    Video

    YouTube video

    Notes

    Note 1. By gently folding in the ingredients, it prevents too much gluten from forming, thus giving us a softer cake. Only mix until the strands of flour have disappeared and the batter is uniform. 
    Note 2. Opening the oven door too early and allowing cold air to rush into the oven can cause cakes to collapse if the structure hasn't set yet. If your oven runs hot and you want to check your cake layers earlier than the stated cooking time, then allow at least 3/4s of the cooking time to pass before checking the cake layers. 
    Note 3. You can use cake flour in replacement of the all purpose flour and cornstarch in this recipe (293g total required). 
    Note 4. If you're doing a lot of additional piping like I did with my red velvet cake, then make 1.5x my cream cheese frosting recipe to ensure you have enough frosting. Otherwise, 1 batch will be enough. 
    Note 5. Once your cake is decorated, pop it into the fridge to allow everything to firm up. This will make it easier to cut. We don't want cold cake though, so bring it out of the fridge about an hour or so before it's going to be cut. If you cut into the cake and it's cold, just let it come to room temperature for about half an hour before eating. 
    Note 6. If using a stand mixer, then use the paddle attachment for the initial mixing, but continue to do the last step by hand as stated in the recipe. 
    Note 7. If using a convection oven (an oven with a fan) then decrease baking temperature to 160C or 320F.
    Note 8. If you use Dutch processed cocoa powder, it will make your red velvet cake darker. If you want a vibrant red color to your cake, it's best to use natural cocoa powder. 
    Note 9. If the mixture curdles, gently heat it in the microwave for 5 second bursts at a time, mixing inbetween each burst until the frosting is smooth again. You can also gently heat it over a double boiler. Just be careful though as overheating will cause the buttercream to become soupy! 

    Nutrition

    Calories: 786kcal | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 132mg | Sodium: 257mg | Potassium: 151mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 60g | Vitamin A: 1073IU | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 2mg

    Nutritional information are estimates only as they are automatically calculated by a third party application. Actual values may differ based on brands and types of products used.

    Keyword: boiled milk frosting, ermine frosting, flour frosting, red velvet cake recipe, red velvet cake with ermine frosting, roux frosting
    Tried this recipe?I love hearing from you! Tag me @cakesbymk.nz on instagram so I can see your amazing creations 🙂

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    6 Comments

    • JessieCakes

      Thank you 😊 💓

      • Cakes by MK

        You’re so welcome Jessie! Hope you enjoy the recipe 🙂

    • Romy Govender

      Amazing 👏

      • Cakes by MK

        Thanks so much Romy! Hope you enjoy the recipe 🙂

    • Ivy

      5 stars
      Thank you so much for the recipe. I am really learning a lot. Will definitely try it .

      • Cakes by MK

        You’re so welcome Ivy! So happy to hear the content has been helpful 🙂 hope you enjoy the recipe!

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    About me

    Welcome to my blog! My name is Maryam and I LOVE baking! :) I hope to provide you with the tools (i.e. simple, from-scratch, quality tested recipes), so that you can confidently bake up delicious treats to share with your family and friends!

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