Whip Some Flavor into Your Wedding Food

Who doesn’t love a dollop of fresh cream to top off a ripe strawberry, a mug of hot cocoa, or a tart key lime pie? As far as DIY projects go, making your own whipped cream couldn’t be easier. Even if you’re a staunch avoider of all things with “some assembly required,” once you’ve tried your hand at a batch of homemade whipped cream you’ll be wondering why you ever bought the packaged stuff. It’s literally as easy as pouring and pressing a button.

Forget visions of sweating grandmothers hunched over a wooden bowl in their prairie homesteads; although you’re still welcome to do it the old-fashioned way, these days, you can achieve perfect whipped cream with your nearest blender or food processor. There aren’t even any tricky ratios to memorize: simply pour in any quantity of heavy whipping cream (you’ll find this in cartons at your local grocery), blend for a minute or two, and taste.

If you like your cream on the thicker side, blend it for a little longer. You don’t have to worry about blending it for too long, either: if you err on the side of too much stirring, you’ll have just created delicious DIY butter. Set it aside, pour a new batch of cream, and start again.

DIY Caution: Don’t Miss Your Own Wedding!

One word of caution: as with any DIY kitchen project, it’s never advisable to attempt it for your own big day. Use the following tips as ways to enhance your friends’ celebrations, unless you’re absolutely confident that you can whip up a batch of cream without missing a social beat. After all, you only get one special wedding day. Wouldn’t you rather spend it with your guests than tucked away in the kitchen?

If you have a good friend catering your wedding, hand off these tips and step away from the mixing bowl.

Making It Last

While homemade whipped cream is more decadently delicious and has more flavor flexibility than store-bought cream, it also comes with a downside: the perky peaks of your snowy confection will start to droop about an hour after it’s presented on the table. If it’s not possible to whip up continuous batches throughout the reception, you’ll need to alter your recipe slightly for the cream’s longevity.

Take a teaspoon of gelatin (unflavored gelatin goes well with everything, although you can experiment if you like) and let it soak in two tablespoons of cold water. Wait a few minutes until the gelatin has absorbed all of the water.

Then, stir the gelatin in a small saucepan over a low heat until the gelatin dissolves entirely. Let it cool again, and blend it along with the cream as you make your whipped topping. The amount of gelatin and water in this recipe will keep one and a half cups of heavy whipping cream perky for a full day or so, so multiply accordingly for the amount of cream you’re making.

Keep in mind that the gelatin-infused whipped cream, although it will last longer without refrigeration, won’t form peaks that are quite as sharp as purely-cream toppings. This isn’t a problem for most desserts, however.

Beyond the Basics: Dressing Up Whipped Cream

While basic whipped cream can be achieved as long as you have a bowl, heavy whipping cream, and any style of blender, most of the DIY fun comes from dressing up your cream in different, tasty variations. Experiment with many small batches before the big day so you can discover your favorites. Simply add ingredients to your heavy whipping cream bowl before blending, and whip away!

Treat your mixing bowl like a fairytale witch’s cauldron; a little of that, a pinch of this, and step back to watch the magic! Some popular powdered additions include: confectioner’s sugar for an airy sweetness, brown sugar for a slightly richer taste, cocoa powder for bona-fide chocolate cream, and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, or even chile powder for an additional kick.

Stir in liquid additions like maple syrup or extracts; vanilla, mint, almond, orange, lemon, and hazelnut are especially nice. Liqueurs are also a delicious way to flavor your cream. Look for creamy drinks that go well with milk (and avoid anything that curdles when mixed with dairy!). Crème de menthe, chocolate liqueurs, coffee liqueurs, and liqueurs with nut or honey flavors go very well with whipped cream.

When mixing flavors, consider what you’re serving. Some options, like squares of pound cake, go universally well with any flavor, so whip up a few batches for guests to mix and match. If you’re serving the cream alongside something with a stronger flavor, such as pumpkin pie tarts, stick to one flavor of cream, such as vanilla or bourbon.

Try pairing slices of fresh apple with cinnamon-nutmeg whipped cream. Dark chocolate brownies with mint whipped cream. Sliced bananas with chocolate-hazelnut whipped cream. Your choice of topping will add an extra dimension to any tray of dessert items you serve. It’s a relatively pain-free way to add a DIY offering that’s sure to impress the whole reception with your culinary skill and generosity. Invent new flavors and keep the batches coming!