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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!

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  • For the cake:
  • 1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur Flour unbleached flour)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 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)
  • 1/2 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.


Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 45mins
Adapted from


Step 1

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.

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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