Spiced brown butter cooked flour frosting

Spiced brown butter cooked flour frosting

This is my second recipe using cooked flour frosting. It’s my favorite frosting right now. It’s so good; I had to make a separate blog post about it. This spiced brown butter cooked flour frosting is light, creamy and not too sweet. It has a depth of flavor lacking in most frosting that contains just  butter and tons of sugar.  This is a little harder to make than an American buttercream, but much easier than a French or Swiss buttercream. You won’t have to deal with egg whites, yolks or sugar syrups. I adapted this recipe from the popular “Even Better! Cooked Flour Frosting” by Leelabean Bakes.

Making a brown butter adds an extra step, but is so worth it. The brown butter adds a savory nuttiness to the frosting and pairs beautifully with Fall desserts like the chocolate pumpkin cake I made it for.  You can use it to top carrot cake, pound cake, banana bread, apple coffee cake…you could put it on your shoe and it would taste good.

The trickiest part to making a brown butter cooked flour frosting is waiting. You need to allow the hot milk/cream mixture to cool before adding it to the butter. You also need to allow the brown butter to solidify again. As the milk/cream mixture cools, it will develop a skin on top that will ruin the whole batch with lumps. You can do two things to prevent this. Either continue stirring the mixture until it cools, or let it cool with some plastic wrap on top. Using plastic wrap sounds easier, but you end up with a lot of the mix stuck to the plastic when you peel it off. Just fold the plastic in on itself and use your fingers to squeeze it back into the bowl. Problem solved.

Spiced brown butter cooked flour frosting

Spiced brown butter cooked flour frosting

Spiced brown butter cooked flour frosting

Spiced brown butter cooked flour frosting


Spiced brown butter cooked flour frosting

Spiced brown butter cooked flour frosting

This makes about 3 cups, enough for a 2-layer cake. If you are making this for a 4-layer cake, increase ingredients by ½.


  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter (if using unsalted butter, add ¼ teaspoon of salt)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1-2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg


If you are using a vanilla bean, you first need to infuse your milk/cream. This adds an extra step, but all of those vanilla bean specks are worth it. Add the milk, cream and split vanilla bean to a small saucepan. Heat on low for about 10 minutes. Don’t let it come to a boil. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the milk/cream. Allow to cool completely.

Add the butter to a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until it foams, then carefully watch until you see brown specks at the bottom of the pan. Don’t let the butter blacken. Remove from the heat and strain the butter. Chill until solid, about 20 minutes. Remove from the fridge, and allow to come to room temperature.

Now that everything is cool, we can start to make the frosting. In a small bowl, whisk the flour into about ¼ of the cooled milk/cream mixture. Once it’s formed a nice paste without lumps, add to the rest of the milk/cream. Add the sugar and heat on low, whisking so you don’t get any lumps. Once hot, the mixture will thicken.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. You can stir periodically over a bowl of ice, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to speed up the process. If you don’t stir or cover, it will form a skin and create lumps.

Add the room temperature browned butter, pumpkin pie spice and nutmeg to a mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until light in color and fluffy. Add the milk mixture (and vanilla extract, if using), and beat until smooth and fluffy.



  • Leelabean

    This chocolate pumpkin cake with spiced brown butter cooked flour frosting sounds soooo amazing! I am going to try this variation soon. It’s perfect for this time of year! Thanks!

  • Rebecca

    I’m hoping to make this frosting for a cake for thanksgiving. We are traveling a bit, so I was planning on baking the cake ahead of time and frosting it once we are at our destination. In the interest of saving time, do you think it would be ok if I did the first two steps (infusing the milk and browsing the butter) the night before…. Refrigerating both overnight, then letting them come to room temp while we do our two hour commute????

  • Marni Meistrell


    That should be fine, but remember that this frosting is a more challenging one. (make two batches just in case) and perhaps consider an easier buttercream to make your life easier!
    Marni Meistrell recently posted…IMy Profile

    • Rebecca

      Hey there! Just wanted to let you know I made the frosting for a pumpkin cake for Thanksgiving and it turned out so amazing! It really is a fantastic tasting frosting. Thanks for the recipe…. I will definitely be making it again.

      One question…. It was a little warm in the house and when I was frosting the cake, the frosting got pretty soft and was a bit difficult to work with (make look pretty on the cake). If this happens in the future… would you recommend sticking it in the fridge for a bit and then giving it another round in the mixer? Thanks again!

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