Are you new to baking and wondering which icing option should you go for and want to know about Whipped Cream vs Buttercream? Or perhaps you are wondering which frosting out of whipped cream and buttercream you should go for your freshly baked cake or dessert?
Whipped cream is light and fluffy in consistency, and is best used on cupcakes. On the other hand, buttercream is slightly more consistent and thicker in texture than whipped cream which makes it a better choice for filling and as icing on the cake.
Are you curious to learn more about the differences between whipped cream and buttercream and when to use which one and choose the right frosting option? Keep reading to learn more
Differences Between Whipped Cream and Buttercream
While both whipped cream and buttercream are frosting options, there are some key differences you might want to understand before you pick one for your icing.
What are the Key Ingredients Used in Whipped Cream vs Buttercream?
Whipped is generally made by using a mixture of heavy cream, finely powdered sugar, and flavoring agents. It is made by strongly whipping this mixture to get a light and airy consistency.
Buttercream consists of butter, finely powdered sugar, milk, and flavoring agents. It is important to note that buttercream uses butter or other shortening options as opposed to heavy cream. It is made by whisking together these ingredients to get a firm and creamy consistency.
There are more additional ingredients like salt, egg whites, granulated sugar, egg yolk, and whole eggs depending on the type of the buttercream.
How is Their Texture Different?
The major differentiating aspect of whipped cream and buttercream is their textures.
Whipped cream has a delicate, light, airy, and fluffy texture. Because of its texture, whipping cream is not spreadable in nature.
Buttercream is thick and stable in texture. This makes it spreadable and more reliable for getting an even consistency.
What is the Difference in Flavor?
I have observed that whipped cream has a creamy flavor that is often less sweet than buttercream. However, you might get hints of the flavoring agents or ingredients that might have been used while preparing whipped cream.
On the other hand, I thought buttercream has a buttery and slightly sweeter taste. Buttercream also has a slightly stronger and richer taste. Since it tends to absorb the flavors of any flavoring agents used. That is why you will observe that you get a stronger taste based on the extract or flavoring used.
How to Use Whipped and Buttercream?
The usage of both buttercream and whipped cream is attributed mostly to their unique textures and consistencies.
Because whipped cream has a delicate consistency, it is ideal for icing the borders of the cake or on cupcakes. I even like using dollops of whipped cream as a topping on fruit bowls. While buttercream is a better option to frost cakes, in my opinion, whipped cream goes well with a chocolate cake.
Like me, many people use buttercream as frosting on cakes and cupcakes. It is even popularly used as decoration by many. The reason behind this is it is easier to pipe buttercream. In my experience, even decorative shapes hold well when made with buttercream.
Since it has a stable structure, buttercream is also an excellent choice for filling.
Also, as buttercream holds other flavors and ingredients like chocolate, maple, and coffee without changing the texture of buttercream, I have used it to experiment with different flavors and ingredients.
Since whipped cream is slightly delicate, there is very little scope for experimenting with different flavors. Though I always add a dash of cinnamon or a lighter flavor to get that extra hint of desirable flavor.
What is the Shelf-Life and How to Store it?
Whipped cream has a short shelf life and so must be consumed immediately. At the most, it can last only up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
Also, since it cannot last much longer at room temperature when used on a cake, it must be either refrigerated for up to 2 days or consumed immediately.
Buttercream, on the other hand, offers some respite. It has a relatively long shelf life. You can store buttercream or a cake layered with buttercream for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. It can even withstand room temperature but must be consumed within 2-3 days.
Which Frosting is Healthier?
Whipped cream mainly consists of high amounts of sugar and heavy cream. Buttercream uses butter or shortening, and sugar.
Sugar has a lesser calorific value than butter. 1 tablespoon of sugar has around 60 calories in it, whereas, a tablespoon of butter has around 100 calories in it
For all the health-conscious people out there, you can easily go for whipped cream whenever you make your favorite cupcakes or cakes if you want to reduce the overall calorie intake.
Types of Buttercream
Buttercream has four main types: Swiss, French, American, and Italian. The difference lies in the ingredients, method of preparation, and texture of these buttercreams.
Swiss buttercream uses egg whites and granulated sugar as additional ingredients. Heat is also involved while preparing Swiss buttercream. It involves beating the eggs and sugar in a double boiler up to a certain temperature.
You then add vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt to it to get a silky, creamy, and light texture.
French buttercream uses whole eggs or egg yolks to get a heavy, velvety texture and taste. You need to melt the sugar and add this slowly to the beaten eggs and butter. Of all the buttercreams, this is the most perishable buttercream option.
The American buttercream uses softened butter and is easiest to prepare. Though it lacks heaviness and silkiness, it is usually sweeter and a good choice for frosting.
Lastly, In Italian buttercream, although the additional key ingredients are exactly the same as Swiss buttercream, you need to heat the sugar before you add it to the egg whites. Italian buttercream is very stable and has a silky texture.
Can Whipped Cream Frosting Melt?
Yes, whipped cream frosting can melt because of the delicate and airy texture of whipped cream. If you do have to use whipped cream on your cake, it is recommended that you use whipped cream right before serving it immediately.
Eating a baked product is a joy and baking is a delight. When it comes to getting a desirable, spreadable, and consistent icing, always go for buttercream. Whipping cream goes best on cupcakes or fruit preparations or simply when you are trying to substitute buttercream for health reasons.
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