I wrote the title of this post as, “REAL Red Velvet Frosting (with cake)” because, in my opinion, this fluffy, cloud-like frosting MAKES the cake, and should therefore have top billing ;-)

Now, some people may try to argue this point, but I can assure you that cream cheese frosting IS NOT the traditional frosting for red velvet cake. Don’t get me wrong – cream cheese frosting is wonderful, but as it goes with most things, there is a time and a place for it…and sitting atop a red velvet cake is not the time and place for cream cheese frosting. More than likely, most store-bought red velvet cakes are made with cream cheese frosting because it’s more, “durable” than the traditional frosting, and also because it’s less time consuming to prepare…but that doesn’t make it right!

I remember the first time I made this frosting…. I was a little intimidated at the whole idea of a cooked flour base in a frosting; it’s just so dreamy…how could something that delicious have cooked flour in it? I was accustomed to the idea of flour in gravies, not cake frosting. I was, in fact, so dubious, that I wondered if I had the right recipe at all. So, I did what any trepidatious cook does – I called my Mom: “Are you SURE this is the red velvet frosting recipe that you used to make? The one you got from Meem?” And of course, it was.

Granted, it’s a little extra work, but I don’t make the cake part from scratch. Instead, I make a mix according to the directions (except I add ½ a small packet of instant chocolate pudding to it for extra moistness). Since I don’t make the cake from scratch, then the extra effort involved in making the frosting isn’t a big deal at all; it’s actually time well-spent.

As any good cook does, I improvised with certain ingredients (i.e., substituting ½ of the whole milk for half-n-half – it stays set longer when unrefrigerated), but for the most part, this is my 92 year-old grandmother’s (Meem’s) recipe, except she made the cake part from scratch, too.


1 box of red velvet cake mix
½ small packet of instant chocolate pudding (optional)

¼ cup + 1 TBSP flour
¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup half-n-half

1 ½ cups butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla


1. Cook flour, milk and half-n-half over low heat, stirring constantly (it’s very important that this mixture doesn’t burn) until very thick. Remove from heat and cool completely.
2. Make cake according to package directions; add pudding if desired, for extra moistness. Bake, then cool completely before frosting.
3. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
4. Add cooled flour mixture to creamed mixture and beat until well-blended; scrape sides of mixing bowl frequently during mixing. Taste. (It’s heavenly, isn’t it?)
5. Frost cake and enjoy! Surrender your beaters and bowl to any kids in the house for a little “pre-dishwasher rinse.”

Due to the delicate base of this frosting, it needs to be refrigerated, lest it get runny and not-very-appetizing. However, as I mentioned before, adding the half-n-half seems to help it “set” better, so you can leave it out (of the refrigerator) longer without losing any consistency.

I took a few photos the last time I made this frosting. Since I took the pictures with my cell phone, the pictures have a yellowish tint, but I assure you that this frosting comes out very white; the contrast between white frosting and red cake is striking!

The first two pictures show the flour mixture after cooking; note the cooked pudding-like consistency (click on photo to enlarge):


The next three pictures show the consistency after the flour mixture is blended with the creamed mixture (click to enlarge):


This picture shows the finished frosting on top of the red velvet cake (see the beautiful contrast?):

Finally, this picture shows the completed cake:

For a printer-friendly .pdf version of this recipe, CLICK HERE.

2 Responses to “REAL Red Velvet Frosting (with cake)”

  1. Mary Young Says:

    I can’t wait to try this! Maybe as cupcakes? Have you tried it that way?

  2. CEB Says:

    Hi, Mary! This recipe would make excellent cupcakes! I love cupcakes, but I don’t make cupcakes very much because I always have difficulty with storage (I don’t have one of those huge cupcake containers; it’s easier for me to just cover a 9 x 13 pan). Also, I’ve made this frosting to accompany devil’s food cake or triple chocolate cake (’cause I don’t always have a red velvet cake mix), and it’s still delicious.

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