I never thought I would start a post title with flour frosting, sounds appetizing doesn't it? Well, it is the best buttercream type frosting I've ever had, tied with SMBC (But only Cassie's version). When I first started baking from scratch, I was really disappointed with frosting because I thought that anything made with 'real' ingredients had to taste better than the fake supermarket stuff we get, but it wasn't. No matter how creamy the butter + icing sugar frosting looked in the stand mixer or piped out on a cake, I just couldn't help scraping it off. Maybe it's the icing sugar I buy or I'm just weird, but all I could feel was gritty, pasty and taste cornstarch. I tried so many versions (with water, milk, cream, part shortening + sifted like crazy), but none of them could solve the icing sugar problems I was having. Finally I gave up and moved on to SMBC. Most people who make SMBC complain that it tastes like a stick of butter..well.. because it does (unless you have the right ratio of ingredients) so I was really disappointed when that failed too. It wasn't until I accidentally halved the sugar when making a quartered version of buttercream for the DB Filbert Gateau challenge when I finally made something that tasted creamy, sweet, and not like a stick of butter! It still wasn't perfect so I went searching for a SMBC with a similar ratio of butter to sugar to egg whites.
I still wanted to make frosting that tastes like the fake whipped cream stuff minus all the chemicals. Many people were saying that flour frostings taste a lot like whipped or pastry cream, but I was reluctant to try them because if I was having a problem with the tiny amounts of cornstarch in icing sugar, the thought of adding flour was grossing me out even more. Then Cassie made a flour frosting for her red velvet cupcakes and since I love her SMBC, I had to give it a try. Most of the recipes on google seemed to have the same ratio of butter, sugar and milk with flour being the only difference so I just randomly chose a recipe, but followed her directions. It didn't make sense to cream the butter and granulated sugar and then add the cooled cooked flour mixture anyway (unless if granulated sugar can somehow magically dissolve).
As for the cupcake, I made a modified version of Billy Billy's vanilla cupcake, but I'm going to save that for another post because it's still not perfect (grr!). If anyone's interested though, here's the recipe to Billy's cupcakes. Oh and since I was baking cupcakes I couldn't help doing a direct comparison of my muffin tins. I mentioned that the William's Sonoma Goldtouch was the best pan I've ever used, but I didn't do an actual side by side comparision. The cupcakes baked in the Wilton were drier at the edges, which was more noticeable the next day and more crumbly. By the way, has anyone used Magic Line pans? I've read some good things about them.
1/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup butter cut in cubes (My butter was cool and firm, but I could still leave an indent when I pressed my finger into it)
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar, flour, salt together. Add the milk and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally (I had to whisk constantly or else it started to stick and clump at the bottom) until the mixture has thickened into a paste and slightly bubbly at edges (You probably don't want it boiling because we all know how boiled milk tastes..)
2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; beat until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. If the frosting is too soft, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to chill slightly: then beat again until it is the proper consistency.
3. Add the vanilla and continue mixing until combined.
I love this frosting, but I think it was still a tad rich and could taste a bit cleaner (although I'm being really picky here). I don't think I can reduce the butter though or it won't be stiff enough. I think I might try subbing some of the milk for water or play around with the flour amout next time.