This is “unconventional” to say the least - but you won’t find a more fluffy and flavorful frosting. The unusual methods used in this recipe may be puzzling - but the results will convince you. Recipes such as this were common in the early 20th century because electricity or refrigeration were limited.
If you prefer popping the lid on a can of frosting to preparing your own - this won’t motivate you to change. But old-time frostings such as this one are not a conglomeration of chemicals - and I appreciate that more every day.
The basic ingredients are milk, sugar, and butter. For thickening, a mixture of flour & cornstarch are used. For flavor, good old semi-sweet chocolate and dutch-process cocoa. Not entirely wholesome, but I feel better about this frosting than most I’ve tried.
I found this recipe on cookscountry. I love their spin on old standby recipes because they test and tweak till they are perfect for use in today’s kitchen. They did improve the original recipe by straining out the lumps from the milk/sugar/flour/cornstarch mixture before heating - and it worked well.
You will find this works best in a cooler kitchen. I’m still waiting for that to happen - I can hardly wait for Fall. It helps to refrigerate the finished frosting before piping, then store your frosted items in the refrigerator till serving. In the winter months, this won’t be an issue.
So, if you want to experience a real Depression-era frosting - give this a whirl.
By the way: I love “recipe history” - and thought you would enjoy hearing this interesting one:
During the Depression and the rationing of WWII, evaporated milk was a shelf staple and butter was a luxury. Often boiled milk frostings were made with all Crisco, and you would sometimes hear them referred to as “gravy frosting” (eeew, gross!) - but think of the ingredients and method of preparation and it makes sense. Few homes had refrigeration & air conditioning, so cooks used items they produced or had available in a rural area or farm. These frostings were made with simple and inexpensive ingredients - but did require some time and skill. They were marks of a good cook, and a woman would take a beautiful cake to a church social with enormous pride. Of course, frostings in this country were also influenced by great French, German, Eastern European and other countries’ methods and skills - but good old ingenuity and necessity was the mother of this invention.
For the full recipe, with detailed instructions & photos - go to: