Start to finish: 15 minutes Servings: 8 to 10 slices of cake Difficulty level: Beginner
With just a few ingredients and a little mixer time you can make light, fluffy whipped icing that has the right texture for smoothing or decorating with peaks, swirls and scores. Heavy cream is the key to making whipped icing without butter or cream cheese so that it is less sweet and rich than regular icing, but deliciously creamy. This 3-ingredient recipe is inspired by a recipe from Cake Journal.
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl and use a mixer, increasing the speed from low to fast, to beat the ingredients until the icing stiffens and begins to form soft peaks.
Use a spoon to scrape the sides of the bowl and continue beating just until stiff peaks form. If you continue to beat after this point, the peaks disappear and the icing begins to resemble butter. If that happens, add a little more heavy cream to the icing and beat until stiff peaks form again.
Cover and immediately refrigerate the icing until you are ready to frost the cake.
Add an icing stabilizer mixture to your icing if you need it to hold together, maintain its peaks and swirls, and look enticing for more than an hour. One teaspoon of unflavored powdered gelatin diluted with 1 ½ tablespoons each of cold and hot water is the stabilizer recommended by the Woodland Bakery Blog. Mix the gelatin and cold water and let sit for a few minutes, then stir in the hot water. While whipping your icing, pour in the stabilizer just before the icing reaches optimum consistency.
Variations and Tips
- Add your choice of flavor, such as a flavor extract or cocoa powder. If you want to add a fruit puree to the icing, add it after soft peaks form during mixing, as recommended by JoyofBaking.com, and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- Add a drop of food coloring.
- Substitute powdered sugar or use less sugar, if preferred.
Keep ingredients and utensils cold until you are ready to make the icing. This helps increase the volume of the cream during whipping, according to JoyofBaking.com, which recommends placing the mixing bowl and mixer whisk in the freezer for 15 minutes.
If you make the icing and store it for later use, use the mixer to re-whip the icing until stiff peaks form before applying it.
Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.