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The “Best” Vanilla Frosting

The “Best” Vanilla Frosting

You know how you know it’s early January? Everyone is trying to eat like a caveman, and they’re packing them into gyms up to the rafters (except me – my ankle’s broken so cue the melancholy music, & no way I’m eating like a caveman since I was born in the 70’s which makes me more likely to eat in bellbottoms than in a loincloth). I keep trying to come up with a list of neatly packaged New Year’s Resolutions, since goodness knows I’ve got to get my house in order. But my thoughts are too messy and disorganized, going thisaway and thataway. And since messy & disorganized is my natural state of being, thought-wise, no use packaging a resolution around that one. I think I’ll just stick to baking. And anyway wait until you see the gluten-free bread I’ve been baking for Shoestring Book 3. That’s what I was doing all last week, while you were merry & bright without me. By the way, I totally missed you.

Now you know I don’t usually make much of a fuss about recipes for frosting and other naturally gluten-free things of that sort. Except this is not a naturally gluten-free frosting since it starts with a sugar and flour mixture. And anyway, a super sweet reader named Karlie (hi Karlie!) emailed me, like, every couple months and very respectfully asked would I please give her back this roux-based frosting. I had never even heard of such a thing, but I finally followed her lead &, well, see for yourself.

As Karlie pointed out, this recipe makes this super velvet-smooth, fluffy-light frosting. It’s almost like whipped cream frosting, but it’s naturally very stable at room temperature which is a really nice thing in a frosting. Go ahead and make it early, and either pipe it or spread it on your cake or cupcakes right away, or store it in an airtight container on the counter for a couple days before you’re ready to use it. It doesn’t separate. Unlike me, who’s coming apart at the seams. Just follow the recipe instructions carefully, study the step by step photos above, and trust the process.

Oh oh oh and the recipe can be doubled easily. As written, it works for 1 dozen cupcakes or a single layer cake.

So here goes nothing: I resolve … to bake for you in 2013. Just wait ’till you see the fun we’re going to have. Just. Wait.

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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: About 2 cups (enough for 12 cupcakes)


1 1/2 tablespoons (12 g) cornstarch

2 tablespoons (18 g) basic xanthan gum-free gluten-free flour blend (12 g superfine white rice flour + 4 g potato starch + 2 g tapioca flour/starch)

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

dash (1/8 teaspoon) kosher salt

3/4 cup (6 fl. oz.) milk (any kind – just not nonfat)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

12 tablespoons (168 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature (it must be at room temperature)


  • Fill a large bowl about halfway with ice and set it aside. In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the cornstarch, flour blend, sugar and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the milk, and whisk until smooth. Cook over a medium-high flame, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and the whisk leaves behind a visible trail (see photo), about 4 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and scrape the mixture into a separate medium-sized bowl.

  • Place the medium-sized bowl on top of the bowl of ice to stop the cooking of the flour and sugar mixture. Whisk in the vanilla, and allow the mixture to cool until it reaches room temperature (temperature matters tremendously here).*

  • Place the cooled flour and sugar mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (a handheld mixer will work just fine here), and mix on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer still on medium speed, add the butter in 3 parts. The mixture will seem almost curdled at first. Turn the mixer to high speed and mix for about 3 minutes or until the frosting turns white and becomes light and fluffy. Use immediately. The frosting will keep at room temperature for a couple days.

  • *The cooked flour and sugar mixture can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 3 days before being mixed with the room temperature butter. Simply allow it to come back to room temperature by sitting on the counter before mixing it.

    Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.



P.S. Don’t forget to get your copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy! You are the wind beneath my blog wings!

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