Whipped Cream: 20 Variations And More

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photo credit: maksheb

A Short History Of Whipped Cream

Who or how whip cream was originally created is undocumented.  It dates back to at least 1616 King Louis the XIV.  Creme was collected from fresh milk which was allowed to sit until the cream rose to the top of the pale. The cream was skimmed off then it could be whisked to thicken.  In the late 1800's a milk-cream separator was invented by Gustaf de Laval.  The centrifuge would spin a container until cream separates from the milk.  That invention lead the way to making heavy cream available to consumers.  You can read more about history of whipped cream.

Cream once whisked would be flavored with flavorings such as vanilla, brandy or other liqueurs.  Sweetened whipped cream is referred to as Chantilly cream.

Pressurized Whipped Cream

Pressurized nitrous oxide systems were developed in the 1930's.  Aaron S. "Bunny" Lapin invented Sta-Whip, a vegetable based whip cream substitute during the food-rationing days of WWII.  He later invented Reddi-Whip in 1948 when he introduced a better valve system for dispensing cream from a can.  See more about Reddi-Whip.

Nitrous Oxide Chargers

Another invention that improved the way whipped cream is dispensed was created in Europe in the mid 1900's. The chargers consist of a canister typically made of metal     Read more about whip cream charger dispensers.

Whipped Cream - What It Is and What It Does

I spent several years of my young life living on a cattle ranch.  We had a milk cow named Granny.  My dad would milk the cow and bring it in the house in a big galvanized bucket.  The bucket would sit awhile in the kitchen and the cream would rise to the top of the pail.  My mom would place a large, clean, rolled up flour-sack towel along one side of the bucket then strain the milk into large gallon-sized jars.  What remained in the bottom of the bucket was the glorious, fresh cream.

Now, For A Little Science

How We Get Heavy Cream

Cream rises to the top of a pail (or jar, or bowl) of non-homogenized milk because the fat globules are large too large to stay suspended in the liquid milk.  The globules are lighter than water so they float to the top which takes about 12 or more hours.  In the meantime natural bacteria starts to ripen the cream and milk which gives both a sweet and slightly sour flavor.

Today the cream is commercially separated using a centrifuge.  Both the cream and milk are immediately pasteurized to kill any bacteria. The resulting flavor is quite a bit different from what we had in our kitchen when I was a child. 

How Cream Thickens To Make Whipped Cream

The mechanical action of the beaters adds air bubbles to the liquid.  The fat globules in the cream clump around the bubbles and get stabilized and coated by protein molecules.  Chilling increases the viscosity of the fat which which is why it is suggested that you chill the bowl, beaters, and cream to 50degress or less before whipping.

This whipped cream emulsion is pretty fragile which is why whipped cream tends to separate back out in a short amount of time.  See the section below on stabilizers to learn ways to get the whipped cream to hold up for a longer period of time.

Cream Products Fat Content Comparison

Type Fat Content Calories Per Tbsp. Total Fat
Half and Half
10 1/2% - 18% milk fat 20 2g
Light Cream, coffee or table cream 18% to 30% milk fat 29 3g
Light Whipping cream 30% - 36% milk fat 44 5g
Heavy Whipping Cream 36% to 40% milk fat 52 6g

Whipped Cream Basics And Tips

The Right Cream

Use well-chilled heavy or whipping cream with a minimum of 36% milk fat.  Ultra-pasteurized or sterilized cream usually takes longer to whip.

Chill Out!

Chill everything, the cream, the mixer beaters and the bowl for at least 2 hours before whipping. If the tools or the cream is too warm the milk fat will become oily rather than stay firm.

The Right Tools

Use either a hand or mixer on a stand. The blender is not the right tool for whipping cream and will produce only about half the volume created by a mixer. Start mixing at medium-high then turn the mixer to a lower setting and continue to mix until the proper texture is achieved.

The Correct Consistency

Whipping cream used for topping a dessert such as pie, cake or coffee drinks should be beaten just until it forms soft peaks.  If you want to use the cream in a more decorative fashion then beat it just until it starts to become “buttery”. This thicker cream can be used in a pastry bag.

How To Correct Over-Whipped Cream

Should you over-whip the cream you can try adding 2 or more tablespoons of chilled cream and continue to mix until the cream is the proper texture.

Sweeten It Up

There are many different sweeteners that work well for sweetening whipped cream.  You may not always want to add a sweetener but when you do; here are some options.

Powdered (Confectioner’s) Sugar

Powdered sugar contains cornstarch which acts as a stabilizer for the cream. Check your powdered sugar before use and sift it if it contains lumps.

Granulated Sugar

You can use granulated sugar but it does not offer the stabilization benefits of powdered sugar. Additionally, make sure you whip the cream long enough to dissolve the granules.

Brown Sugar

Use 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar per cup of cream. The brown sugar provides a slightly caramel flavor.

Superfine Sugar

This finely granulated sugar dissolves easily in liquid.  Use about 1 tablespoon per cup of cream.

Sugar Substitute Packets

Products such as Splenda, Equal or Sweet ‘N Low may be used to as a sweetener for whipped cream. Depending on the product you can just substitute the sugarless alternative for sugar.

Stevia

If you are accustomed to the flavor of Stevia it can be used to sweeten whipped cream. Check for conversion recommendations from the manufacturer of your favorite product. Truvia, for example, suggests using 3/8 teaspoon stevia per teaspoon called for in your recipe.

Honey

Honey is another good sweetener for whipping cream. Use about 2 teaspoons per cup of fresh cream.

Whipped Cream Stabilizers

whip it cream stabilizer

As mentioned before; confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar) has cornstarch which acts as a stabilizer for the whipped cream.

Whip Cream Stabilizer Products

Stabilizers are particularly useful if you wish to prepare the whipped cream and store it until use.  Use 1 teaspoon per cup of heavy cream. Two common brands include Whip Cream Aid or Whip It.

Gelatin

You can also use about teaspoon of powdered gelatin per cup of whipped cream. This is frequently used for desserts such as trifle.

Cake Fillings

Most of these recipes can be used as cake fillings.  You may want to purchase an angel food or pound cake, slice it and use the filling between the layers.

Nutrition Information For Whipped Cream: 20 Variations And More

Serving Size
1 cup, whipped
 
Calories
414
Calories from Fat
396
 
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 44g
70%
Saturated Fat 28g
40%
Cholesterol 164mg
50%
Sodium 46mg
0%
Potassium
90g
0%
Total Carbohydrate 3g
0%
Dietary Fiber 0g
0%
Sugars 0g
Protein 2g
0%
 
Vitamin A  0% Vitamin C  0%
Calcium  0% Iron  0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Store Left Over Whipped Cream

  • Refrigerate - Whipped cream does not hold up well but can be refrigerated for a day or so in a tightly sealed container.
  • Freeze -Freeze whipped cream in a tightly sealed container for not more than a month. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator. You may need to rewhip before use.

Decorative Cream Garnishes

Small garnishes can be made with left over whipped cream.

Fill a pastry bag  with whipped cream.  Create small decorative garnishes such as rosettes or swirls. Pipe them directly on a small platform of foil and freeze until firm. Once frozen, place the garnishes in  freezer-safe zip lock bag and store up to a month or 2 . Use as cake or other dessert decorations or float in a cup of coffee or cocoa.

Chantilly Cream

Chantilly is the French term for sweetened whipped cream. The term dates back to the 1940's and is said to have come from the famous Chantilly Chateau.

20 Whipped Cream Variations

Variations on basic whipped cream are countless.  We have included 20 versions starting with a basic recipe and adding extracts, flavorings and even some infusions.

A simple way to vary whipped cream is to add your favorite liqueur.  You may want to start with a teaspoon per cup of cream and adjust the amount to your taste.


Amaretto Whipped Cream
Delicious with a dense chocolate cake.Recipe uses Amaretto liqueur, heavy cream and powdered sugar.
Basic Sweetened Whipped Cream
The basic recipe for sweetened whipped cream using heavy cream, vanilla and powdered sugar.
Basil Whipped Cream
Basil whipped cream pairs well with fresh fruit like strawberries or peaches.Try serving it with strawberry shortcake, or alongside a slice of pound cake mounded with fresh fruit.
Brown Sugar Whipped Cream
Brown sugar adds a slight caramel flavor to the cream. Use with spicy cakes or pecan pie.
Cardamom Whipped Cream
Use this specialty whipped cream with a fresh fruit tart or even a simple pound cake.
Chai Whipped Cream
Chai, (flavored Indian tea) makes an interesting flavoring for whipped cream.
Chile Whipped Cream
This whipped cream leaves just a hint of heat at the back of your throat. It goes very well with chocolate desserts, cakes, pies or even hot cocoa.
Ginger Whipped Cream
Recipe includes fresh heavy cream, sugar and powdered ginger.
Hazelnut Whipped Cream
I love this flavored cream with a simple spice cake.The whipped cream is flavored with Frangelico, a hazelnut liqueur and vanilla bean.
Lavender Whipped Cream
Enjoy this aromatic whipped cream with fresh berries or a simple angel food cake.The cream is simmered with the lavender blossoms to infuse the flavor
 

View All Whipped Cream Recipes


Sources

  • Joy of Cooking - by Raumbauer and Becker.
  • The Oxford Companion To Food - Alan Davidson
  • The Freezer Cookbook - Charlotte Erickson
author

Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of GourmetSleuth.com she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.