Whipped cream is the perfect finishing touch for many desserts. Light and creamy, it can provide a good contrast for intensely flavored desserts, such as rich chocolate cakes, and it can also bring all the elements of a summery shortcake together. All you need is heavy cream and a mixer – or a strong arm, if you want to burn a few calories before you eat dessert. But whipped cream isn’t the perfect finishing touch for everyone. If you are vegan or avoid dairy products, for instance, you will be avoiding whipped cream. There are some non-dairy alternatives to whipped cream out there and one of the best is Coconut Cream Whipped Cream.
Coconut cream is the very fatty part of coconut milk, made from pressing the liquid out of coconut meat. The cream is thick and paste-like, more like yogurt or sour cream than milk. Because it is so high in fat, it is possible to whip it to a billowing, fluffy consistency – very similar to that of “real” whipped cream. The cream will be rich and smooth, with a slightly coconutty taste to it.
For the coconut cream to work, you must chill it very well before you attempt to whip it to help the cream hold its shape. Coconut cream is sold in cans and it often separates into more solid and more watery components. Using only the most solid part of the cream will give you a stiffer finished whipped cream, but I prefer to use the whole thing for a softer texture and (in my opinion) a slightly better, less oily flavor. I always sweeten it with a little bit of powdered sugar and vanilla extract, which is also my favorite way to make Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream, but folding in some toasted coconut would be a nice way to highlight that coconut flavor!
The whipped cream can be stored in the refrigerator once it is made and re-whipped slightly before serving, but it is best to make it just before you serve it if you can. If you decide to make this on a regular basis, keep a can of coconut cream unopened in the back of the fridge so you’re always be prepared.
Coconut Cream Whipped Cream
1 can (15-oz) coconut cream, cold
2-3 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Pour the coconut cream into a large bowl. Beat cream until it reaches soft peaks by hand (about 5-6 minutes) or with an electric mixer on medium-low (about 3-5 minutes).
Sift in confectioners’ sugar, using more or less to taste, and beat in. Briefly beat in vanilla extract, if using.
Note: For stiffer cream, use only the solids of the coconut cream and strain out the coconut water that might be in the bottom of the can.