This is a professional buttercream that is rich yet not overly sweet.
Yield: About 4 cups (generously frosts a three-layer cake)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole or low-fat milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk together the sugar and flour in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
Add the milk and cream; cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, whisking, until the mixture starts bubbling and becomes thick.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on high speed until cool.
Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in several increments; beat until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 5 to 6 minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.
If the frosting is too soft, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, place the bowl over a pot of barely bubbling water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.
Adapted from "Baked: New Frontiers in Baking" (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2008), by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, founders of the Baked shops in Brooklyn and Charleston, S.C.
Tested by Dean Felten.
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