Funny Story – The first time I decided to make a whipped cream cake after moving back to India, cake baked, ready to be frosted, I went ahead and purchased Amul fresh cream. Excited as I was, armed with cold bowl and whisk, I promptly went on to start whisking. 10 minutes in, nothing was happening. I thought it needed more time to chill, put it back in the freezer. Tried again, still nothing. Tried adding cornflour and icing sugar. Still nothing. Switched to an electric beater, tried with the blender, nope, nothing at all had happened. This went on for a good 30 minutes with my frustration increasing by the second till I finally gave up and we used the overbeaten but still very much liquid cream on some fruits and ate it up, resigned to the idea that it was impossible to make whipped cream in India. A little bit of reading and some trials later, I learnt that I had just started off wrong. I now understand why there is so much confusion around the kind of cream to use, and how to make whipped cream at home. Sharing a lot of details in this post, to save you the trouble of going through a failed experiment like I did.
So, WHAT IS WHIPPED CREAM?
Whipped cream is that glorious cloud like topping that makes your baked goods even more delicious. It’s also the simplest form of frosting and barely needs 10 minutes to make. To make whipped cream, you really just needs two ingredients – heavy cream/whipping cream and sugar. That’s it.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FRESH AND WHIPPING CREAM
Whipped cream, simply put, is created by the joining of fat molecules in cream. With fat being the stabilizer, any cream that has a low fat content (less than 30%) is not good for whipping. Fresh cream from most brands or local dairies typically contains between 16-25% fat. Thus it does not whip well, unless you take the effort to remove the liquid part and use an additional stabilizer such as icing sugar. Fortunately, we now have access to heavy creams or whipping creams that have made the job easier.
WHIPPED CREAM POWDER
Widely available in India, this comes in a powdered form and needs to be mixed with water to create whipped cream (exact instructions are mentioned on the pack). Some common brands are Bakersville/Bakerswhip, and Blue Bird. However, I personally don’t prefer these since they’re more foamy and not creamy like dairy based whipped cream. But if you don’t really have an option, you can use these once in a while since they still whip well and give a decent finish to a cake.
NON-DAIRY WHIPPED CREAM
These are non-dairy soy based ‘whip toppings’ that are mostly found in baking supply stores or specialty food markets. They come in large packs that can be stored in the freezer for upto 12 months. They whip up very quickly and are quite stable to use for frosting cakes and are also mostly pre-sweetened so don’t require you to add any sugar separately. While the term cream is used, these are not actually derived from dairy and is also the reason why they’re called “artificial/mock whipped cream.” However, given their long shelf life and ease of use, these are quite popular with commercial bakers in India. I myself use these sometimes since getting whipping cream may not always be possible on short notice, so keeping a pack of these in the freezer helps to quickly have an option at hand. A similar product is called ‘Cool Whip’ in some countries and comes in a ready to use can. Personal favorite brand – Rich Gold. Tropolite is another brand that works well.
HEAVY CREAM/HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM
Although not widely available in India, if you do live elsewhere, you’ve probably come across this type of cream too which is a heavier version of the whipping cream and has between 36-38% fat, thus is ideal for creating whipped cream.
IMPORTANT POINTS TO MAKE A STABLE WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING
Temperature is key to creating a good whipped cream. The colder your cream, the easier it will be to whip. Keep your bowl, and whisk in the freezer for 15 minutes before starting. An ice bath will go a long way in keeping your bowl cold.
This is actually a fairly common mistake. Be careful of not overwhipping the cream. If you beat it too long, the cream will separate and become grainy. If that happens, you can try to rescue it by adding a little fresh cream and beating it again. However if it’s gone too far and become butter, there’s not much you can do at that point.
FLAVOURED WHIPPED CREAM
You can use different flavorings to make flavored whipped cream. Add the additions when the cream has reached the soft peaks stage. Fruit – use 1/3 cup of any fruit pulp. Mango/strawberry work very well. Chocolate – Use 2 tbsp of cocoa powder + additional 1 tbsp sugar Coffee – Use 2 tsp of coffee powder + additional 1 tbsp sugar
Now that we’ve understood the different creams, moving on to making our own whipped cream at home.
How to Make Whipped Cream
- 1 Cup Whipping Cream
- 2 tbsp Powdered Sugar
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract (optional)
- Put your bowl and whisk into the freezer 15 minutes before starting.
- Pour the cream into your chilled bowl. Place the bowl over an ice-bath
- Soft Peaks stage – Start your beater and beat at medium speed till you reach ‘soft peaks’ – the stage when you start to see some lines and shapes in the cream but they’re still lose and disappear quickly. About 3-4 minutes. At this stage, add the sugar, or any flavoring that you may be using.
- Medium Peaks stage – this is when the cream has become nearly double in volume and is holding it’s shape well but is not yet very firm. From this point on, you will have to be careful about not overwhipping the cream and ending up with butter! After this, change the speed of your beater to low and beat only at that speed.
- Stiff Peaks stage – the stage when the cream holds its shape well and does not move even if you turn the bowl upside down.
- Storing – Use the whipped cream immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator for upto 24 hours. You may need to whisk it slightly again if using later.