Jul 24, 2010

Pinkalicious Flour Frosting

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With just one month left until Little C’s second birthday (I know! Don’t even get me started!), living with her is a lot like being roommates with Sybil. One second, she’s suddenly reaching critical mass in the produce section, the next she’s ceasing her dramatic wailing to sweetly chirp “Hello!” and frantically wave her tiny arm to a passerby near the bananas.

At any given moment of the day I can be found either rubbing my temples while witnessing another Little C tantrum while dangerously close to throwing my own, or cuddled under the covers with the sweetest baby girl in the world, reading book after book, all fuzzy on the inside as she squeezes in tighter to my side and makes a little game out of giving me little kisses after each page turn. It’s moments like the latter that make me come up with all sorts of ambitious ideas, like being inspired to bake pink cupcakes together after reading her favorite book for the 57th time this week.


Do you have little girls? Because if you do, you really should pick up this book, and be prepared to read it aloud. A lot. Pinkalicious is so super cute, about a little girl who turns pink, and then red, from eating too many pink cupcakes and can only return to normal after eating lots of green food. A great message about eating in moderation and the power of a healthy diet. And probably a lot of other noble things that I can’t be bothered to think about because after reading that book on repeat OH MY GOD I WOULD KILL FOR A CUPCAKE.


So like any savvy, creativity-fostering mother with a fever for which the only cure was
more cowbell
pink cupcakes, I declared we would make our own, together. Our cupcake baking activity was totally fun and great–a wonderful bonding experience. That is, when my child wasn’t reaching over to crank the mixer directly from 0 to 10 while I was putting the flour in or demonstrating an Exorcist-level flip out because I kept her from shoveling sprinkles into her mouth. Tender moments, I tell you. Tender. Moments.


So the cake recipe itself was my very favorite vanilla cake which I’ve told you all about before, but the most amazing outcome of this whole mother-daughter baking bonding experience was a frosting so out of this world, I’d eat it pink, white or dolloped on a rubber tire. This frosting is, quite simply, divine. And believe it or not, this revelation of a buttercream is made with flour. Seriously! Little C couldn’t believe it either.


Originally the topping for my Great Aunt Agnes’s beloved Red Velvet Cake, this frosting recipe was one of the first I copied while leafing through my Gramma’s recipes back in Illinois a few weeks ago. I’d been waiting for an excuse to try it ever since–it was all so crazy I couldn’t not give it a go, know what I mean? Basically it starts with a cooked flour and milk mixture, which is cooled and then beaten together with butter and an amount of confectioners’ sugar so tiny in relation to other buttercream recipes, you’ll think that there’s no way this could end well.


Except it totally does, people. The flour mixture helps to give the frosting the sort of body that you would normally get from cups upon cups of confectioner’s sugar (especially great if you’re serving it to kids), and when you whip it with the butter, it becomes almost the consistency of whipped cream–remarkably light and so fluffy you’ll want to dive right in with a spoon. Ethereal, just sweet enough and basically the frosting of dreams. Pinkalicious, if you will.

Fantastic Flour Frosting

Makes enough to generously frost about 18 cupcakes

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the flour and milk together, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to bubble and thickens significantly. When it reaches the consistency of a paste, remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the cooled flour mixture and let the mixer run until the frosting becomes very fluffy and noticably lighter in color. It will be nearly the consistency of whipped cream.

Use the frosting immediately, and refrigerate any leftovers covered tightly with plastic wrap. Bring any leftover frosting to room temperature and whip again for a minute before using.

  • LOVE Pinkalicious. Have you read Purpleicious yet? And we haven't yet gotten our hands on it, but apparently there is a third now, Goldilicious (I believe). Anyway, I will absolutely have to give that frosting a try – it sounds fantastic! I hope your little girl has as much fun in the kitchen as mine does! :)

  • I love that book and what a perfect frosting to go with it! It looks like you little princess loved it!

  • I always start to twitch at the amount of confectioner's sugar that traditional buttercream has. Thanks SO much for sharing this recipe! And happy birthday to your daughter. The cupcakes are definitely pinkalicious!

  • We love, love, love Pinkalicious!!! Your cupcakes are perfect!!!

    http://www.makingmemorieswithyourkids.blogspot.com

  • Cooked flour frosting is the best! I bet your daughter will still remember and love Pinkalicious when she's older–I still have a soft spot for a book about a little girl who threw tantrums because she wanted her ears pierced…!!!

  • Holy Lord!

    Little C looks so much more grown up when she's dutifully lining the cupcake pan than her reaching-over-to-the-counter-with-tiny-hands-for-blueberries from the Blueberry Boy Bait post days. Was it really so long back?

    She's a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e, Shauna. Touchwood :)

  • Okay I have a question!

    I saw a very similar recipe to this amazing frosting (http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen-blog/2010/03/a-tasty-recipe-thats-the-best-frosting-ive-ever-had/) BUT she used sugar*** instead of confectionary sugar. So, what's the difference? Which way will yield the optimum frosting?

    Thanks!!

  • Never heard of the book, but looks like you two had fun. I LOVE pink, all those cupcakes look soo appealing :)

  • This is an adorable post! I bake with my little niece she would LOVE the pink. thanks alot i'll comment how they turned out :)

  • haven't read the book…have only boys, have read Captain Underpants many times over though ;)

    I am confused by flour in buttercream…but I just looked up my moms recipe for red velvet cake and the frosting has flour in it, so I guess I like it!
    ok, gotta go and make frosting now and NOT eat it with a spoon.

  • Katherine–I just looked at the PW recipe and I've venture to say that her version would be sweeter (hers uses 1 cup granulated sugar vs. my 1 cup confectioners') and probably a little grittier from the granulated sugar, kind of like the American buttercreams that are just butter plus lots of confectioners' sugar. In my recipe, the confectioners' sugar just sort of disappears into to the mix, which I really like. But the process is the same and it's an awesome frosting either way!

  • These look so good! I have tried the flour frosting that PW did, and I really loved it. I may like yours better though, just because the texture would be smoother.

    We don't do Pinkalicious, what with me having a son and all, but I'm thinking I may need to pick the book up for myself. Pink, check, cupcakes, check. Sounds good.

  • Such pretty cupcakes! I made some strawberry lemonade cupcakes for a coworkers birthday (they had pink icing) and she took the leftovers home. Her little boy apparently freaked out and thought they were Pinkalicious : )

  • My daughter and I made this frosting yesterday for my nieces birthday cupcakes.It was dark chocolate cupcakes with raspberry frosting.I used a little raspberry syrup to flavor it and vanilla bean paste for the vanilla extract.We also added a little food coloring to enhance the color. This is a fabulous frosting.It was delicious. Thanks

  • Anonymous–So glad you loved it. The raspberry addition sounds divine. Thanks for reporting back!

  • Cute, cute post! I have been meaning to give that frosting recipe a try… It receives such high praise!

    Your cupcakes look wonderful :)

  • is this pipeable?

  • Sorry for the huge delay in commenting. I believe I've only commented once before (to introduce myself) and then………….

    But I'm just getting caught up after being back from vacation! My daughter looooooooooooves this book (including the purple and the gold versions as well:). I just made a similar frosting recipe for cupcakes for the first time and definitely questioned whether it'd come out okay, but you are right about the great results.

  • I came across this frosting on the pioneer woman's site and must say it's pretty raved abt! GOT TO try it

  • Kristen–Yes! Perfectly, positively pipeable. You may want to chill it a tiny bit, as the heat from your hands against the piping bag may make it break down a bit faster, but your mileage may vary.

  • My mother always used this cooked frosting for her red velvet cake. The sugar we used was "superfine" so it completely creams with the butter. I always loved it because it didn't have the cornstarch that confectioners sugar has, it isn't too sweet, and made the red velvet cake so gorgeous.

  • I made a pumpkin cake the other day and wanted something to frost it with. The recipe wanted a cream cheese frosting, but I don’t like cream cheese. I also didn’t have enough powdered sugar for a buttercream so I tweaked this recipe. Instead of using milk, I used eggnog, added a little more powerded sugar and some cream. It made a really light, fluffy, sweet but not killer and rich frosting that I think will pair really well with the pumpkin. So thanks for the flour frosting idea. :)

    • Wow! You blew my mind with the eggnog. Brilliant!

  • hi there,

    Was thinking of using this to ice a cake for my brothers girlfriend birthday…does it hold up well? Or will it start to melt after some time – I’ve had that experience with other cakes, and I’ve found that I’ve had to go back and “push up” the frosting before serving it.

  • Thanks for the recipe! I have some questions to ask if you don’t mind :D

    Have you tried the flour frosting recipe with granulated sugar?
    I’m not sure if I should use this, or the one with granulated sugar.
    And have you tried potato starch in place of flour?
    Could you substitute some of the butter with crisco? If so, how much?

  • We used to call this Imitation Whipped Cream Frosting. You can ruin it by not stirring the flour mixture or by not letting it cool completely.. but it is Delicious!

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