This Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting recipe will give you thick, fluffy frosting that will hold its shape flawlessly and won't melt in the heat! Ideal for decorating cakes and cupcakes, this homemade alternative surpasses store-bought whipped topping with its unparalleled flavor and texture.
Why Stabilize Your Whipped Cream
When you add a stabilizer to whipped cream it holds its shape longer. With regular whipped cream you can have a soupy mess after just a few hours. But with a stabilizer, it will last for days!
I love the simplicity of an easy stabilized whipped cream made using cream of tartar. But there are times when something more robust is needed! Here's why you may want to take a few extra minutes to make frosting using gelatin:
Stands up to hot temperatures: Stabilizing with gelatin means this recipe is resistant to melting or losing its shape even in high temperatures, making it ideal for hot climates or outdoor events.
Lasts for 5 Days: Enjoy the convenience of preparing desserts in advance or savoring leftovers, as this frosting maintains its quality for up to five days.
Great for filling: This whipped cream is stable enough to hold the weight of a cake, making it perfect for layered desserts!
There are several different ways that you can stabilize your whipped cream, and I cover each of them in this post that shares how long each type lasts. But for the rest of this page, we will stick with fluffy frosting made with gelatin.
Heavy Cream - For optimal results, ensure you use heavy cream, also known as heavy whipping cream or double cream. Heavy cream contains a higher fat content (36%), which is essential for achieving the desired whipped texture. Using a cream with lower fat, such as regular whipping cream, may lead to a less stable consistency.
Unflavored Gelatin - Gelatin is a stabilizer, helping the cream hold its shape and structure for a more extended period. It ensures that the frosting remains firm and doesn't melt or deflate quickly. Use unflavored gelatin so that your whipped cream still has that sweet, vanilla taste.
Powdered Sugar - Powdered sugar, also known as confectioners' sugar, adds sweetness to the frosting while contributing to its smooth texture. It dissolves easily and because it has a little cornstarch in it, it helps stabilize the whipped cream further. You can substitute an equal portion of granulated sugar if you prefer.
Vanilla Extract - Vanilla extract enhances the flavor profile of the frosting. Use pure vanilla extract for the best taste.
How to make Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting
1) Bloom Gelatin
- Place the cold water in a small microwave-safe bowl.
- Sprinkle the gelatin over the water.
- Stir gently then let it sit for 5 minutes.
- This process is called "blooming."
2) Thicken Cream
- While you are waiting for the gelatin to bloom, place cold heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract into a large mixing bowl.
- Using a whisk attachment, beat the cream mixture on low speed using an electric mixer.
- After about one minute the mixture should be thick and foamy. Turn the mixer off.
3) Add Gelatin
- Place the gelatin in the microwave for 5–8 seconds, or until the mixture has turned into a liquid. You do not want it to be hot.
- Turn the mixer back onto medium speed and slowly pour the melted gelatin mixture into the cream in a steady stream.
4) Whip to Stiff Peaks
- Once all of the gelatin is added, increase to medium-high speed and beat for several minutes until it reaches stiff peaks.
- Stiff peaks are when you can lift the beater out and the cream stands straight out without bending.
- Watch carefully as you do not want to overbeat.
- Microwave the gelatin until it is completely liquid. You do not want it to be hot but it should be completely smooth. If there are still solid pieces then it will make your frosting lumpy.
- For best results, use cold cream that is straight from the refrigerator.
- Chilling your mixer and whisk attachment in the freezer for 10–15 minutes will help the cream whip faster and fluffier.
- If you accidentally overwhip your cream then it will look like it has curdled. Don't fret if this happens! Just mix in 1–2 tablespoons of unwhipped heavy cream and it will smooth out.
- Adjust the sweetness by adding more or less powdered sugar, to taste.
- If you are preparing this to dollop on a dessert rather than piping or frosting it, then just beat the cream to medium or soft peaks, where it holds its shape but has some bend.
- Frosting cakes or piping the cream works best with stiffer peaks.
- Frost your cake immediately after the cream is prepared. Over time the gelatin sets, and if you try to pipe it after it has set then your frosting may have a bumpy appearance.
Because this is made of dairy it should be stored in the refrigerator. After your dessert is frosted, place it in the coldest part of the fridge until you are ready to serve.
It is best to frost your cake immediately, before the gelatin sets. If you have leftovers transfer them to an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
When serving it can be left at room temperature or outside for up to 2 hours. After that time, spoiling can occur.
For more storage information, check out this post on the shelf life of whipped cream.
Ways to Use Whipped Cream Frosting
- Cake Frosting: This recipe is made for cake decorating! Use it to frost a classic vanilla cake, chocolate cake, or a fruity flavor like strawberry or lemon. Spread it evenly between the cake layers. You can even pipe it on top!
- Cupcake Topping: Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag with a large tip. (Wilton 1M, 2M, or 1A work great!) Pipe or spread the frosting onto cupcakes for a delightful and airy topping. Black Forest Cupcakes and Peach-Filled Cupcakes are two of my favorites that use a whipped cream topping.
- Pie Topping: Add a dollop to pies like pumpkin, chocolate, or sweet potato.
- Dessert Dips: This recipe works for more than just frosting! Use it any time you are serving in hot weather. You can use it as a dip for fruits, cookies, or graham crackers.
- Parfaits: Layer with fresh fruits, such as berries or sliced peaches, in individual glasses or bowls. It also works well for cheesecake in a jar.
- Strawberry Shortcakes: Layer with homemade shortcakes or angel food cake and piles of sliced strawberries!
- Ice Cream Sundae: Add this to your ice cream sundae bar along with chocolate sauce, sprinkles, and maraschino cherries.
- Hot Drinks: If you have leftovers, use them to top your hot chocolate or coffee. It's a delicious indulgence!
This recipe makes about 3 cups of frosting, which is enough to frost a round 2-layer cake, a 9x13 cake, or 12 cupcakes. If you want to pipe the frosting or like it extra thick then I recommend doubling the ingredients.
It is important to microwave your gelatin so that it turns into liquid. Blooming the gelatin in cold water activates it, then microwaving transforms it into a liquid that can smoothly incorporate into the cream.
This recipe can be frozen, but unlike Cool Whip it cannot be piped or transformed into a different shape after it has thawed. It is best to freeze it in the shape that you will use after thawing.
More Whipped Cream Recipes
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Stabilized Whipped Cream FrostingRecipe by:
- 1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
- 1 ½ tablespoons (22 ml) cold water
- 1 ½ cups (375 ml) heavy whipping cream cold
- ⅓ cup (35 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Place the water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over the top of the water and stir to combine.1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin, 1 ½ tablespoons (22 ml) cold water
- Let the gelatin mixture sit for 5 minutes to absorb the water and "bloom."
- Meanwhile, place the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl.1 ½ cups (375 ml) heavy whipping cream, ⅓ cup (35 grams) powdered sugar, 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Beat the cream mixture on low speed until it is frothy and thickened, 1–2 minutes.
- Once the gelatin has bloomed, place the bowl in the microwave and heat on HIGH for 5–8 seconds, or until the gelatin has fully transformed into liquid. If there are still solids in the bowl, heat an additional couple of seconds but be sure not to boil the water.
- Turn your mixer onto medium-high speed and while it is beating, pour the gelatin into the bowl in a slow, steady, stream.
- Beat for 2–3 minutes, or until it develops stiff peaks. Use immediately.
- Frost your cake immediately after preparing this recipe, before the gelatin sets. Then refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- While this will hold in hot temperatures, do not let it sit out for longer than 2 hours, or it will spoil.
- For best results, chill your bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before preparing this recipe.
- If you accidentally overwhip your cream, mix in 1-2 tablespoons of additional heavy cream to smooth it out.
- Adjust the sweetness by adding more or less powdered sugar, to taste.