Knowing how to properly whip cream is very important for the baker and dessert maker. It is often called for to be folded into mousses or dolloped on top of a dessert. While the technique for whipping cream is the same for both applications, always read your recipe thoroughly so that you know how firm to whip it. Different recipes will requite different textures. When folded into a dessert that is to be unmolded you might want it a bit stiffer, while a softer whipped cream is welcomed on top of your flourless chocolate cake. This whipped cream recipe can be halved.
See How to Whip Cream in Tips & Techniques
- 2½ cups heavy cream, chilled
- 5 tablespoons sifted confectioners’ sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- In a chilled bowl, beat cream, sugar and vanilla (if using) on medium-high speed with an electric mixer, until very soft peaks form. (Use wire-whip attachment if using a stand mixer.) Lift the beaters to assess texture. The cream should come to a peak that softly curves over onto itself. This is “softly whipped” cream perfect for topping desserts. Continue whipping if a stiffer texture is desired. Take care, as it firms up in texture quickly. The whipped cream is best if used immediately.
- Always use cream labeled “heavy”, whipping” or “heavy whipping” cream for the best results and begin with the bowl, beater and cream well chilled.
- If your cream is hard to whip, buy “heavy” cream next time, as it will have the highest percentage of butterfat and should whip more easily.
- Check labels. Most supermarket cream is “ultra-pasteurized” and this, too, makes it harder to whip. Look for cream simply labeled “pasteurized.”
- Confectioners’ sugar actually has a bit of cornstarch added to it to help prevent clumping. Used here, the cornstarch helps stabilize the finished whipped cream. Some people can detect a slightly floury flavor (from the cornstarch). You can certainly use granulated sugar, if you like. Added at the beginning of whipping gives it time to dissolve.
- This whipped cream recipe is for a lightly sweetened cream. You can adjust the sugar level to your taste and needs.