Making whipping cream in advance can be a real time-saver, but if you've ever watched those stiff, white peaks melt and seep into an otherwise-perfect dessert, you know the dangers of making whipped cream too far in advance. There are a few tricks to stabilize your whipped cream, helping it stay light and fluffy for days. These add gelatin, cornstarch or confectioner's sugar to the cream, to prevent it from deflating or liquefying, and extend its life. Store any unused whipped cream in the refrigerator.
Confectioner's Sugar or Cornstarch
Measure your desired amount of heavy whipping cream and pour it into a large bowl.
Add 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch for every 1 cup of heavy cream to the bowl. If your recipe requires sweetened whipped cream, you may add 2 Tbsp. of confectioner's sugar for every 1 cup of cream, instead of the cornstarch. Confectioner's sugar contains cornstarch and will produce the same effect. Cornstarch can give whipped cream a grainy texture, however, so taste the cream before storing it to ensure it has the desired texture.
Beat the cream mixture with a whisk, hand mixer or stand mixer until soft peaks form. Add any flavor extracts, if using, and continue beating cream until stiff peaks form.
Measure 1/4 cup of water for every 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream. Pour the water into a saucepan.
Add 1 tsp. of unflavored gelatin for every 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Allow the mixture to rest for about five minutes, or until the gelatin softens and absorbs all of the water.
Heat the saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until the gelatin dissolves completely. Allow the gelatin liquid to cool slightly, but don't let it get so cold that it hardens again.
While the gelatin cools, beat your cream with a whisk, hand mixer or stand mixer until soft peaks form. If you wish, you may sweeten the cream with 1 or 2 Tbsp. of granulated sugar before you beat it. Pour the gelatin liquid into whipped cream, along with any flavor extracts you're using, and continue to beat until soft peaks form again. Stiff peaks will not form in whipped cream that is stabilized with gelatin.