Cooked Vanilla Frosting (and my favorite chocolate cake)

This is a classic recipe for a vanilla frosting that is made with (of all things) a roux of cooked milk and flour. When added to whipped butter and granulated sugar, the frosting whips up to resemble a silky whipped cream frosting. It's one of the best cake icings I've ever made, and it couldn't be easier! I've decided to include the recipe for my favorite extra-moist chocolate cake. Together, this makes an impressive cake that will disappear fast!

Cooked Vanilla Frosting (and my favorite chocolate cake)

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  • Prep Time


  • Total Time


  • Servings



  • For the cake:

  • 1-¾

    cup all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur Flour unbleached flour)

  • 2

    cups sugar

  • ¾

    cups unsweetened cocoa

  • 2

    tsp baking soda

  • 1

    tsp baking powder

  • 1

    tsp salt

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1

    cup black coffee, cooled (I used a dark roast coffee. You can't taste the coffee, but the chocolate is deeper in flavor and richness with this ingredient

  • 1

    cup buttermilk (or 1 Tbsp lemon juice with milk to equal 1 cup; or 1 Tbsp vinegar with milk to equal 1 cup)

  • ½

    cup canola oil

  • 1

    tsp vanilla extract

  • For the cooked vanilla frosting:

  • 5

    Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur brand)

  • 1

    cup milk

  • 1

    cup unsalted butter

  • 1

    cup granulated sugar

  • 1-2

    tsp vanilla

  • NOTE: I doubled these ingredients to be sure I had enough to frost a cake.


For the cake: Prepare 2 9-inch cake pans (I always line mine with parchment paper and then use a non-stick baking spray with flour. Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, & salt in a large bowl or in bowl of stand mixer. Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil, & vanilla. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. (Batter will be thin.) Divide evenly into cake pans (this cake makes a great sheet cake or cupcakes). Bake for 20 minutes (for cupcakes) or 27 minutes (approx) for a baking pan at 350°F or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and frost. FOR THE FROSTING: Whisk together in a saucepan the flour and milk. Cook over medium heat until starting to thicken and cook for a minute or two more-- don't let it get too thick or it will be too stiff when it cools. (The roux has to boil for a little bit for the flour to cook and lose its starchy flavor.) Pour into a wide bowl and allow to cool, stirring now and again. If the roux is lumpy when it cools, just press it through a fine sieve. Beat together a cup of unsalted butter and a cup of granulated sugar until light (you really need an electric hand mixer or stand mixer for this). Beat in the cooled roux about two tablespoons at a time. As you beat and add the roux, the frosting turns creamy (6-8 minutes) instead of grainy from the sugar -- almost like "magic"! Add 1-2 tsp vanilla and beat some more until it's light and creamy. TIP: Don't chill the roux in the fridge or it will be too hard to beat stuff into.


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