Ube buttercream frosting–silky-smooth, creamy, fluffy, and much less sweet than your regular frosting. It's firm enough to hold its shape and pipes beautifully on ube cupcakes and ube cake.
Smooth and Rich Ube Buttercream Frosting
This frosting is actually called Ermine frosting also known as boiled milk frosting. It's an old-fashioned, French-inspired frosting made of flour, sugar, milk, and butter.
The first time I tasted it I knew right then and there that it would be perfect for my ube cakes. I don't know why I only recently discovered this, but it's now my favorite frosting ever!
It has everything I want in a frosting–fluffy, creamy, less sweet, and best of all is it doesn't easily fall apart like a traditional buttercream.
What you'll need
To make this frosting really "ube-ish", I tweaked it a little bit by using some of our favorite Filipino ingredients.
- All-purpose flour - the secret to a creamy yet sturdy buttercream frosting.
- Sugar - I recommend using granulated or caster sugar as they dissolve easily.
- Evaporated Milk - instead of regular milk. It's richer with a hint of caramel flavor. This brings out the familiar ube flavor we love from ube halaya.
- Butter - use pure unsalted butter.
- Ube extract flavor - available online or in most Asian and Filipino stores.
- Condensed Milk - adds sweetness and delicious milky flavor to the frosting.
- Salt - to balance the sweetness of the frosting
How to make Ube Cake Buttercream Frosting
Here are a few tips on how to make a successful ermine buttercream frosting:
Use room temperature milk even better if warmed i.e. microwaved for 20 seconds. This prevents lumps from forming when added to the flour-sugar mixture.
Constantly stir the milk until the mixture becomes smooth like a custard consistency. If you stop stirring, lumps may form. It will thicken as the milk gets hotter. The thicker the mixture the thicker and sturdier the frosting will be. I made mine a bit thicker.
Cover with a cling wrap as soon as it's transferred to a bowl. This will prevent skin from forming. Let it cool on your kitchen counter for 20 minutes then refrigerate for 30 minutes to speed up the cooling.
Use softened but still cool butter. If it's too soft, the frosting will become runny and greasy.
Storage and Make-ahead
If you live in a warm tropical place like myself, the frosting can become too soft if left on the counter for too long. If this happens, chill in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes before pipping.
This frosting can be made ahead. Store in an airtight container and should last in the fridge for one week. Re-whip before using.
Frequently asked questions
Don't throw it away. It is still usable. Strain the custard in a fine mesh to remove the lumps. It can get messy but it's better than wasting the ingredients.
Ermine frosting is primarily made of fresh milk. Definitely use it if you can't find evaporated milk.
Watch how to make it
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Ube Buttercream Frosting
- 5 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ cup white sugar (caster/granulated)
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup evaporated milk (room temperature)
- 1 cup unsalted butter (softened but not too soft!)
- 1 ½ teaspoon ube extract flavor
- ⅛ teaspoon purple food color (or something similar, see note 1)
- 2 tablespoon condensed milk ( add up to 4 tablespoon if preferred, see note 2)
- Place sugar, flour, and salt in a saucepan. Stir constantly and cook for 30 seconds over medium heat.
- Slowly pour the milk while continuously stirring until the mixture becomes thick and smooth. This should take about 5 to 7 minutes. Lower the heat if needed. Milk can burn easily over high heat.
- Remove from heat and pour into a stainless or heat-proof bowl. Press cling wrap over the top and sides of the bowl to prevent skin from forming. Let it cool for 20 minutes at room temperature then refrigerate for 30 minutes to further speed up the cooling. Do not let it get chilled as it won't mix well with the butter (see note 3 to make-ahead).
- Once the boiled milk roux has cooled, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add milk mixture 1 tablespoon at a time beating until smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl every now and then. Add condensed milk and salt together with the last scoop of the roux.
- Add ube extract flavor and food color. Beat for another 2 to 3 minutes until it reaches the consistency of whipped cream. Adjust the food color based on preference.
- Spread on cupcakes or cakes with a knife or use a piping bag with a pastry tip.
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Food color - I recommend using gel paste for better results.
- Condensed Milk - do not add more than 4 tablespoon as it can affect the overall texture of the frosting.
- The milk roux can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight but take it out of the fridge 1 hour before using.
- Serving size: This frosting makes tall swirls. For minimally frosted cakes you can scale down by using half a portion of each ingredient.
Hi Mella can I ask how many cupcake did you frost on this recipe of ube buttercream? Thanks I'm of your subscriber here in nz my brod lives in pasir ris . Very easy recipe each time you post Mella.
Jean Shannon says
What’s the difference between ube flavoring and ube extract?
Hi Jean, Both are one and the same.
When do you add the condensed milk?
Add it together with the last scoop of the milk roux. Sorry, I totally missed that. Thanks for pointing it out. I've corrected the recipe card.
Hi what did you use for the purple toppings on the frosting? And how to use it please thanksnmuch!
Riverten Kitchen (Mella) says
Hi Wil, Those are just cake crumbs from one ube cupcake. Just crumble them with your hands and sprinkle them on top of the frosting.
hello!! can i make this ahead of time? i wanna try this recipe for my grandfather’s birthday and i was thinking if i could make this ahead of time.
Riverten Kitchen (Mella) says
Hi Andrea, Yes, you can definitely make this ahead. Just place it in an air-tight container and place it in the refrigerator. When ready to use, give it a quick whip using a mixer to smoothen the texture.
This buttercream is the best! Found myself licking the spatula clean because it was that good. Haha
Instead of the Ube extract, can you use ube jam?
Hi Jane, I only recommend ube extract for this frosting as the jam may alter the texture of the frosting.