It's gonna hurt a little, but it's worth it
Whipped cream is light and dainty, but behind the scenes of actually making homemade whipped cream, it is a violent affair. Using brute force and a metal instrument, globules of fat are ferociously hurled towards each other at high speeds over and over and over again until their little bodies can take no more and they explode. Their limp remains flow together, desperate to have something to hold onto, soon being buoyed by pillows of air that are forced in between their ranks. As the beating continues, more air is forced in while the the fat is flung around, creating rafters to hold onto it. When the violence finally ends, you’ve got homemade whipped cream: fluffy bubbles of butterfat bliss, piled one on top of the other into a dollop of joy.
But how exactly do we make perfect whipped cream, and whip it good?
Choose your own adventure
If you don’t have the luxury of using a stand mixer to make whipped cream, you’ll really want to bring out the hand mixer here. It's not that you can’t do this with some elbow grease, but you will need a lot more elbow grease than think, and that’s going to tempt you to tap out before you’re done. Remember that if you go that route you’re promising to commit, so don’t complain when you’re sore.
You’ll need a big bowl to make whipped cream, not only because the cream is going to triple in size, but because you’ll be flinging it everywhere and it will get all over your nice shirt. The best choice is a wide, metal bowl, which will give you lots of room to work with, as well as speed things up it you choose to chill your equipment. It’s not a must do, but it will make things go faster, and if you’re doing it by hand you will most definitely appreciate this.
Take your bowl, rinse it out, but don’t dry—a little film of water will get it cold faster. Do the same thing with your whisk/beaters, and stick them all in the freezer for about 15 minutes. If your freezer is not a disorganized mess where you just randomly stuff things in and pray they’ll stay put, feel free to put the cream into the bowl so it can pre-chill as well.
Stretch and persevere
If you’re going in by hand, you’re going to want to get that shoulder ready for some hard, vigorous action. Plan to change up your style every time you get sore so you can keep it moving without injury. Switch hands if you need to. Keep the bowl rotating so everything is getting worked evenly. And never, ever give up on yourself. You can do this.
Whip the cream
When it looks done, it’s done. If you go too far you’ll get butter, and while that’s nice and all, that’s not what you want here. Whipping cream is not rocket science as long as you keep your eye on it. If you can’t do this part, there’s always Redi wip.
Sweeten the deal
Whipped cream is fine on its own, but you’re looking for a slightly sweetened version, sprinkle in some powdered sugar just as the cream gets thick. Do not use granulated sugar unless you want grainy whipped cream. Seriously: granulated/grainy– they’re practically the same word. You guys should be able to see that.
You should also add a spot of vanilla, because it’s awesome.