Home Cooking Whipped Cream vs. Buttercream: A Duel
Whipped Cream vs. Buttercream: A Delicious Duel

Whipped Cream vs. Buttercream: A Duel

Krista S

The world of cake decorating is full of tantalizing choices. Today, we’re diving into a mouthwatering debate: Whipped cream or buttercream?

Whipped cream is light, airy, and delicate. It’s the dreamy dollop atop your hot chocolate or the fluffy crown on your strawberry shortcake. Whip up heavy cream with a little sugar, and voila! You have this cloud-like concoction.

Buttercream, on the other hand, holds its own with a rich, creamy, and often sweet taste. Made from butter and powdered sugar, it’s a staple in cake decorating. It’s the swirls on your cupcakes and the roses on your wedding cake.

At the end of this article you will find a simple recipe to make some of your own delicious buttercream icing!

The key to choosing between the two lies in understanding their strengths and weaknesses.

Whipped cream boasts a subtle sweetness and a light texture. It’s an excellent choice for light, fruity cakes. But beware, it doesn’t hold up well in warm environments. A hot day could turn your perfect peaks into a puddle.

Buttercream might be a heavyweight, but it’s a champ in versatility and stability. It stands up to warmer temperatures, making it a star in outdoor events. Its sweetness can be adjusted to your liking, but its richness might be too much for some.

So, when should you use each one?

Whipped cream excels when subtlety is key. It’s perfect for light, moist cakes or as a fresh fruit topping. Think angel food cake or a bowl of fresh berries.

Buttercream, with its sturdy and adaptable nature, is a decorator’s dream. It’s ideal for creating detailed designs, from text to flowers. If you’re looking to make a statement with your dessert, buttercream should be your go-to.


1. Can I use whipped cream and buttercream together in one dessert?

Absolutely! For example, you could use light whipped cream as a cake filling and a sturdy buttercream for detailed frosting on the outside. It’s all about balancing the flavors and textures to create a delightful treat.

2. How can I make my whipped cream more stable?

Try adding a stabilizer like gelatin or cornstarch to your whipped cream. This will help it maintain its shape and volume, especially in warmer conditions.

3. My buttercream is too sweet. How can I fix it?

You can adjust the sweetness of buttercream by adding a pinch of salt or a splash of lemon juice. Also, using unsalted butter will give you more control over the overall flavor.

4. How long can I store whipped cream and buttercream?

Whipped cream is best used immediately but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Buttercream, on the other hand, can last in the fridge for up to two weeks and can be frozen for up to three months.

5. Can I make dairy-free versions of whipped cream and buttercream?

Yes, you can. For the whipped cream, you can use the fatty part of a chilled can of coconut milk. For the buttercream, use dairy-free margarine or shortening in place of butter.

Which One is Healthier?

Deciding which option, whipped cream or buttercream, is healthier largely depends on your definition of health.

Whipped cream typically contains less sugar and fewer calories than buttercream. It’s made primarily from heavy cream, which, while high in fat, is not as calorie-dense as butter. It also contains less sugar, making it a lighter option overall.

Buttercream, made from butter and powdered sugar, is higher in calories and sugar content. It’s a denser, richer frosting, which makes it more indulgent.

Whipped Cream vs. Buttercream: A Delicious Duel

However, remember that “healthier” isn’t just about calories or sugar content. It’s also about how food fits into your overall diet. For instance, if you’re avoiding dairy, a dairy-free version of either whipped cream or buttercream might be the “healthier” choice for you.

So, while whipped cream is generally lower in calories and sugar, the healthier choice depends on your dietary needs and preferences. As with any sweet treat, both should be enjoyed in moderation.

Kitchen Tools Required for Making

To make both whipped cream and buttercream, you’ll need a few basic kitchen tools:

  1. Mixing Bowl: A large, sturdy bowl is crucial for both whipped cream and buttercream. Opt for a chilled bowl when making whipped cream.
  2. Mixer: A hand mixer or stand mixer will do most of the work for you. It’s especially important when whipping cream to create that light, fluffy texture.
  3. Spatula: A good spatula is needed to scrape down the sides of the bowl, ensuring all ingredients are well combined.
  4. Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements are key to achieving the right consistency and flavor in both types of frosting.
  5. Piping Bags and Tips: If you plan to decorate with your whipped cream or buttercream, you’ll need piping bags and tips. These tools allow you to create beautiful designs and details.

With these tools in your kitchen, you’ll be well-equipped to whip up either of these popular frostings.

Alternatives to Whipped Cream and Buttercream

There’s a whole world of frosting options beyond whipped cream and buttercream. Here are a few alternatives that you might want to explore:

  1. Cream Cheese Frosting: This frosting is a popular choice for carrot cakes and red velvet cakes. It’s rich and tangy, offering a nice balance to sweet cakes.
  2. Meringue-Based Frostings: Swiss, Italian, and French meringue frostings are light, fluffy, and less sweet than buttercream. They’re excellent choices for those who prefer a more subtle sweetness.
  3. Ganache: Made from cream and chocolate, ganache can be poured for a smooth finish, whipped for a lighter texture, or cooled and piped like buttercream.
  4. Fondant: This smooth, pliable icing is often used for a sleek, polished look. It’s more about aesthetics than flavor, so it’s often paired with another type of frosting underneath.
  5. Glaze or Icing: A simple mixture of powdered sugar and liquid (like milk, juice, or liquor), the glaze is often drizzled over pastries or bundt cakes.
  6. Dairy-Free/Vegan Frostings: Coconut cream can be whipped into a fluffy frosting, and avocado can even be used to create a surprisingly rich and creamy chocolate frosting.
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Simple & Creamy Buttercream Icing

Simple & Creamy Buttercream Icing Recipe

  • Author: Krista
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x


Buttercream icing is a must-have in any home baker’s repertoire, perfect for spreading on cakes, piping onto cupcakes, or even just licking off the spoon. Inspired by the fresh, simple approach of Jamie Oliver, this recipe brings together just a few ingredients for a creamy, sweet, and versatile icing.


Units Scale
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 34 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream


  1. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter until it is creamy and light in colour, which usually takes about 2 minutes with an electric mixer on medium speed.
  2. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to start your mixer on low to avoid a cloud of powdered sugar before increasing to medium speed.
  3. After adding the sugar, pour in the vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
  4. Add the milk or cream, one tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat on medium speed for a couple of minutes more until the icing is light and fluffy. You can add more milk or cream, a little at a time, if needed for desired spreading or piping consistency.


  • Remember to sift your powdered sugar. It removes any lumps and helps ensure your icing is perfectly smooth.
  • If you find your icing is too thick, add a touch more milk or cream. If it’s too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar.
  • Keep in mind that this icing will firm up slightly at room temperature and more so if refrigerated.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes

Remember, the key to choosing the right frosting is considering the flavor and texture of your cake, as well as personal preference. Happy baking!

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