"Whipped cream is one of the best and most versatile of dessert toppings and fillings. Unsweetened or just lightly sweetened (with or without vanilla), whipped cream adds a cool, creamy counterpoint to the main flavors and texture of a dessert in a way that often makes those flavors pop. Adding a little yogurt lends depth and interest to the cream—adding more yogurt, sour cream, or crème fraîche transforms it further. And then, of course, there are many different ways to flavor it."—James Beard Award winner Alice Medrich
Note: Whipped cream used to frost or fill a cake should always be underwhipped because spreading the cream over the cake causes it to become stiffer. If you begin frosting with stiffly beaten cream, you will end up with overbeaten cream.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
- 2 teaspoons sugar, or more to taste (optional)
Using chilled beaters (or a whisk), beat the cream with the vanilla and sugar (if using) in a chilled bowl, until it holds a very soft shape. Taste and adjust the sugar. Beat to the desired consistency. Whipped cream is ideal if used on the day it’s made, but it does keep in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days, or up to 5 days if it is mixed with a little yogurt. Rewhisk the cream briefly to reincorporate any liquid that may have settled to the bottom of the bowl.
2 to 2 1/2 cups