Whipping cream has always been a last-minute kitchen task. That’s because after a few hours, the topping begins to weep out liquid and eventually loses the air bubbles that have been beaten into it. But those days are over, because we have two techniques for whipping cream in advance, whether you plan to dollop it onto a dessert, or load it into a piping bag to create a decorative edge.
For a spoonable whipped topping that you can make up to a day in advance, the solution is to add some gelatin, which we first heat in a bit of water to liquefy it and ensure even distribution in the cold cream. The gelatin will prevent liquid from weeping for a full 24 hours, and won’t noticeably change the texture of the whipped cream.
- Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of unflavored powdered gelatin over 1 1/2 tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe bowl and let it stand for 3 minutes.
- Microwave the mixture in 5-second increments until the gelatin is dissolved and liquefied.
- Whip 1 1/2 cups of chilled heavy cream (along with 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, if desired) in a stand mixer, staying on low speed until small bubbles form and then increasing the speed to medium.
- When the beaters begin to leave a trail in the cream, slowly pour in the gelatin mixture and then increase the speed to high and continue to beat until soft peaks form.
For Piping or Spreading
If you want dense, creamy whipped cream that can be piped through a pastry bag to make a decorative edging or spread onto snack cakes, angel food and chiffon cakes, or cupcakes, your best bet is to pull out your food processor. Whereas whipping cream in a stand mixer produces light, billowy peaks, the sharp, fast-moving blades of a food processor can’t add as much air. Instead, they produce a dense, creamy consistency. Even better, because the smaller air bubbles created by the food processor are more stable than the bigger bubbles created by a stand mixer, we have found that processed cream keeps its thick, dense texture for two full weeks.
- Process 2 cups heavy cream, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in a food processor for 45 seconds.
- Pulse in 5-second intervals for another 15 to 20 seconds, until the cream has reached the consistency of buttercream frosting.
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