activity

Discover the secret to making the lightest, fluffiest whipped cream in this airy experiment.

safety
  • Uses the microwave
difficulty
  • Beginner
time
  • 30 minutes
yield
  • Makes about 2 cups whipped cream

Prepare Ingredients

½ cup plus ½ cup
heavy cream, chilled, measured separately
1½ teaspoons plus 1½ teaspoons
sugar, measured separately
½ teaspoon plus ½ teaspoon
vanilla extract, measured separately

Gather Equipment

Masking tape
Marker
2
clear drinking glasses of the same size
2
medium bowls
Electric mixer
Rubber spatula
Liquid measuring cup
Instant-read thermometer (optional)
1
 

Make a prediction: Which do you think will make fluffier whipped cream, cold heavy cream or room-temperature heavy cream? Why do you think so?

 
2
 

Use masking tape and marker to label 1 glass “Room Temperature” and the other “Cold.”

 
3
 
½ cup
heavy cream, chilled
1½ teaspoons
sugar
½ teaspoon
vanilla extract

In medium bowl, combine ½ cup heavy cream, 1½ teaspoons sugar, and ½ teaspoon vanilla. Use electric mixer on medium-low speed to whip cream for about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until cream is smooth and thick, about 1 minute. Stop mixer and lift beaters out of cream. If whipped cream clings to beaters and makes soft peaks that stand up on their own, you’re done. If not, keep beating and check again in 30 seconds.

 
4
 

Use rubber spatula to gently scoop whipped cream into glass labeled “Cold.” Clean rubber spatula and beaters.

 
5
 
½ cup
heavy cream, chilled

Add remaining ½ cup heavy cream to liquid measuring cup. Heat cream in microwave at 50 percent power until cream feels neutral to touch (not warm and not cold), about 20 seconds. (Cream should register about 70 degrees—room temperature—on instant-read thermometer.)

 
6
 
1½ teaspoons
sugar
½ teaspoon
vanilla extract

Combine room-temperature cream, remaining 1½ teaspoons sugar, and remaining ½ teaspoon vanilla in medium bowl. Whip cream, following directions in step 3. (It’s possible that the room‑temperature heavy cream will not reach soft peaks, especially if you are using pasteurized heavy cream instead of ultra-pasteurized heavy cream. If you’ve whipped the cream for 2½ minutes and it still has not reached soft peaks, stop and proceed with step 7.)

 
7
 

Use rubber spatula to gently scoop whipped cream into glass labeled “Room Temperature.”

 
8
 

Observe your results: Compare your 2 batches of whipped cream: Which has more volume (fills up more of the glass), the whipped cream made from cold heavy cream or the whipped cream made from room-temperature heavy cream? Which batch looks lighter and fluffier?

 
9
 

Eat your experiment: Spoon one or both batches of whipped cream on fresh berries, an ice cream sundae, our Peach Shortcakes, or your favorite dessert.