Whipped Cream Delights

Taste tests of 15 commercial and homemade whipped creams

 

The whipped creams tested for this comparison.

The inspiration for this page about taste testing commercial whipped creams and comparing them to homemade whipped cream came from one of the biggest cooking disasters I ever experienced. I'd developed a great cake for hot summer afternoons. It was a light chocolate sponge cake slathered with whipped cream. Kept cold in the refrigerator it was going to be a light, cooling finish to an afternoon family get together for chili burgers. I frosted the cake with a top quality canned whipped cream right before the first person arrived. It looked great, with high stiff peaks of whipped cream hiding the chocolate cake under it. We met, greeted and finished our burgers. I went to retrieve the cake, opened the refrigerator door and the entire party fell horribly apart. Not only had the whipped cream not held it's shape, it had melted to a watery consistency, dripped off the cake and covered all three shelves in the refrigerator. It was a nightmare.

Not being one to give up on a good recipe, I researched how to make whipped cream in the hopes that home made whipped cream would hold its shape. While doing this I discovered that homemade whipped cream has a richness and depth of flavor that put canned whipped creams to shame. Several experiments led me to a recipe that produced a whipped cream better than any other I'd tried. Armed with this recipe, I made another cake for the next party. This time it came out of the refrigerator in perfect condition and everyone applauded it as a great success.

This page provides the results of taste testing 12 commercially made canned whipped creams so that anyone needing one can know which is the best. It also has tests of 3 homemade whipped creams and the final winning recipe.

 

1. Redi Wip Original: sweet, weak cream flavor - airy, insubstantial texture -melts in 3 minutes

2. Redi Wip Extra Creamy: I couldn't tell any difference between this and the one above but it held its shape the best off all the canned whipped creams.

3. Ralphs Original Dairy Topping: Slightly sweeter that Redi Wip but still no cream flavor, melted the fastest of all the canned whipped creams

4. Ralphs Extra Creamy Dairy Topping: Same taste and texture as Ralphs Original but held shape slightly better

5. Stator Bros Original Whipped Topping: same taste and texture as all the others but held shape slightly better than Ralphs Original.

6. Stator Bros Extra Creamy Whipped Topping: same taste and texture as all the others but held shape slightly better than Ralphs Original

7. Essential Original Dairy Whipped Topping (Albertsons): Not as sweet as the others but tasted watery, same texture and fast melting speed as most of the others

8. Essential Extra Creamy Dairy Whipped Topping (Albertsons): Same as above

9. Alta Dena Whipped Light Cream: Slightly less sweet, not as watery as Essential, melted very fast

10. Great Value Original Whipped Light Cream (Walmart): Same taste and texture as all the others but melted as fast as Ralphs Original

11. Great Value Extra Creamy Whipped Cream (Walmart): Same taste and texture as above but held its shape the second best of all the canned whipped creams

12. Redi Wip Fat Free: By far the best tasting of all the canned whipped toppings, rich and deep; texture was lighter than the others, almost explodes out of the can, holds its shape almost as good as Redi Wip Extra Creamy

 

In a blind taste test of these whipped creams I'd be hard pressed to tell them apart except for Redi Wip Fat Free, which was the best tasting. With the exception of Redi Wip Extra Creamy they all started melting so quickly, even when stored in a refrigerator, that using them ahead of immediate serving is begging for disaster. Most melt so fast that even frosting a cake right before serving will mean the last piece served will already have started melting. Redi Wip Fat Free is the overall winner with the best taste and second best ability to hold its shape.

If you want a truly great tasting whipped cream that holds its shape for hours in a refrigerator your only choice is to make it yourself. Fortunately, making whipped cream is quick and easy. Experimenting with many recipes produced the following:

2 cups whipping cream (not heavy whipping cream - it creates a topping that's almost sickeningly rich)

3/4 cup powdered sugar

3/16 teaspoon salt (Cream responds very strongly to small amounts of salt. 1/4 teaspoon is too much, 1/8 too little. The differences are significant.)

 

Chill refrigerator-cold whipping cream in the freezer for 10 minutes. The mixing bowl, beaters, and sugar should already be freezing cold.

Beat the cream, sugar, and salt on low until it's frothy (1 minute) to reduce splattering. Beat on your mixer's highest setting until stiff peaks form (4 minutes more.)

 

Note the stiff peak stands up without sagging.

Don't beat after stiff peaks form. The whipped cream won't get any lighter and you run the risk of the whipped cream breaking down as it starts forming small chunks of butter. This recipe makes 3 and 1/2 cups of whipped cream.

The small addition of salt is what gives this whipped cream its wonderful richness and depth of flavor. It's hard to believe that such a small amount of salt has such a great effect. I prefer using fine grained popcorn salt. It seems to dissolve in cream better than regular salt.

Some references claim that adding two melted marshmallows stabilizes whipped cream so that it doesn't melt as fast, but I haven't noticed any difference. In fact, adding them makes the final whipped cream a little softer.

Besides tasting better than any of the canned whipped creams, this homemade recipe also holds its shape better than any of them. It has a smoother, more substantial texture than canned whipped creams. They feel like your eating lightly flavored air. This tastes deliciously rich and substantial.

One final test was to see how this recipe works when used in a whipped cream maker that uses a small cartridge of pressurized nitrous oxide to create the whipping effect. A metal canister with the mix in it is pressurized with the gas. Just like carbon dioxide is used to carbonate soda, nitrous oxide is used to carbonate, or be dissolved in, the whipped cream mixture. When the cream is released from the canister the nitrous oxide expands, created millions of very fine bubbles that turn the cream into a foam. Nitrous oxide is used because it dissolves better in cream than carbon dioxide. (This is the same nitrous oxide that used to be called laughing gas. While it's perfectly safe to consume in food in small quantities, no one should ever try inhaling this gas. Although it was once used as an anesthesia, doctors quickly learned that inhaling it can lead to a multitude of health problems, including death.)

What I found is that while it tastes the same as whipped cream made using a mixer, it has a slightly finer texture that melts much faster, though not as bad as canned whipped creams. Volume and texture are affected by how many times the canister is shaken after charging. Eight shakes gives a texture close to hand beaten whipped cream but with 5 cups of volume instead of 3 and 1/2. Shake the canister 14 times and the whipped cream comes out much lighter. It has a slightly sweeter flavor, as if increasing the volume weakened the cream flavor more than the flavor of the sugar. Fourteen shakes turns two cups of whippping cream into 10 cups of whipped cream, twice that of eight shakes, but it melts faster.

 

The fifteen whipped creams immediately after being dispensed. The first row left-to-right are whipped cream numbers 1 through 7,
the rear row numbers 8 through 12. Number 13 (third in on the right) is hand beaten without marshmallows, 14 hand beaten with marshmallows
and 15 (last one on the right) made with the pressurized can technique with marshmallows and shaken eight times.

 

Three minutes later in a refrigerator. Note that all of the canned whipped creams are already showing signs of melting.
Left out of the refrigerator they melt twice as fast.

 

Two hours later in a refrigerator. Most of the canned whipped creams had melted to puddles after 15 minutes. Note that the two handmade whipped creams have not melted at all.
This means you can frost a cold cake with them and be confident it'll still look good after several hours as long as it's kept cold.

 

I hope this page answered any questions you had about whipped cream and that you'll take a look at some of the other pages on my site. Thank you for stopping by.

 

In case you were wondering, this page's name came from the iconic cover of Herb Albert's Tijuana Brass album of the same title.

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