Cooked vanilla icing from "Country Living" magazine is a good recipe for homemade cake icing. The recipe makes sweet icing with a silky smooth texture, and it goes well on red velvet cake. Another good homemade icing recipe is Martha Stewart's lavender icing, with a fresh lavender aroma and flavor.
To make cooked vanilla icing, whisk together 1/4 cup and 2 teaspoons of flour with 2 cups of whole milk in a saucepan until smooth. Put the saucepan over medium heat, stir constantly, and cook for five minutes or until the mixture is thick. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and set it aside to cool. With a mixer set on high speed, beat 2 cups of unsalted butter and 2 cups of confectioners' sugar in a bowl until light. Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, bring down the mixer speed to medium, and gradually add the milk mixture. Beat it for one minute.
For Martha Stewart's lavender icing, add 1/3 cup of whole milk and 1/2 teaspoon of dried lavender to a saucepan, then bring it to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, let it steep for 10 minutes, and strain it while discarding the lavender. Whisk in 3 cups of confectioners' sugar until smooth, and strain it again. Add violet gel-paste food coloring if desired.