I have seen recipes for flour-based frosting floating around the Internet... usually with a caption along the lines of "best frosting ever!"... but I was skeptical... flour in frosting???
Then I began to think about it... I always dislike traditional buttercream because by time you add the 4 to 5 cups of icing sugar required to make the frosting stiff enough to pipe, it is way too sweet for my taste. When I realized the flour stiffens with frosting with out adding excessive sugar, I decided to give it a shot.
The resulting icing is perfectly fluffy and creamy. Although you can detect a hint of flour, the frosting tastes delicious - not too buttery or sweet like traditional buttercream recipes. The big disadvantage is the amount of time required to cook the icing and then properly chill it. This is not the type of frosting you can whip together at the last minute.
I made this icing to go along with the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcakes - it was a match made in heaven! You can make a chocolate version by adding 1/4 cup of cocoa powder to the flour mixture and 4 ounces of cooled, melted chocolate when whipping the icing. Other flavours could be made by replacing the vanilla extract with any other extract or liqueur.
Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe, makes four cups - enough for two dozen cupcakes or two 9" cake layers
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2 vanilla beans
1 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth.
Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium saucepan and pour the milk mixture through the strainer into the saucepan. Add the seeds from the vanilla pods. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool completely to room temperature.
Once the frosting is cooled, transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and add the vanilla extract. Beat on low speed until combined. Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until all the butter has been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the frosting for five minutes.
If frosting with a spatula, the frosting can be applied directly or allowed to sit at room temperature to stiffen, about 1 hour. If piping, chill in the refridgerator for about 1 hour to stiffen further.