Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, birthday plans around our house got a little switched up this week, but I couldn’t let me little man’s big day happen without a cake! He specifically asked for a strawberry cake, so I knew I had a mission to accomplish.
After about 17 years as a professional cake decorator, I often feel like I should be whipping up masterpieces now that I have my own child’s birthday to celebrate. But I don’t use dyes or artificial ingredients anymore, so that counts out a lot of those character-driven cakes. I’ve done fondant and just pulled it off to serve, but honestly, fancy decorating just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I’m all about a homestyle cake with great, decadent flavor and real ingredients…and judging by my little guy’s reaction, I’d say he is, too!
When it comes to strawberry cakes, there’s really only one choice for icing – whipped cream. REAL whipped cream. I’m thrilled to tell you that I stumbled across THE most magnificent homemade whipped cream icing recipe yesterday and it only took a few small tweaks and one taste to confirm that it’s now a new family favorite. It’s stable, pipes well, and it’s super easy to whip up with only real, natural ingredients (and way less sugar than buttercream.) I’ve already been told that this has to make an appearance at next weekend’s big birthday shindig.
Just don’t ask me about the fat or calories. 😉
Enjoy! We sure did!
Real Whipped Cream Icing
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 4 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (I went a little heavy – maybe an extra 1/2 teaspoon? – and it had a lovely, not-too-strong almond flavor)
Beat cream cheese until fluffy in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer (using whisk attachment.) Add sugar and extracts and whip until smooth. While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the cream. Scrape bowl well with spatula; continue whipping at medium to high speed until icing will hold a stiff peak.
(This is a double batch – makes approximately 8 cups of icing.)
*Tip: To keep icing extra stable, put metal mixing bowl and/or beaters in the freezer before mixing. Keep icing as cool as possible at all times, and be aware of kitchen temps (for example, if you have your oven on and your kitchen is warm, your icing might flop more quickly.)
*Serving Suggestion: Serve as a dip with berries and cake cubes for a great snack or dessert.