Whipped Icing vs. Buttercream Which One Should You Choose?

Ready for a tasty face-off? Whipped cream and buttercream, two baking favorites, often spark a dessert debate. They’re unique in texture, flavor, and use – and that’s where the fun begins. This article breaks down their differences, uses, and what makes each special. Whether you’re new to baking or a pastry expert, let’s explore this delicious dilemma together. Get set for a treat of knowledge!Whipped Cream vs Buttercream

Whipped Cream and Buttercream Overview

Whipped cream is made by beating heavy cream until it becomes light and fluffy. It has a delicate, airy texture and is commonly sweetened and flavored. Whipped cream is often used as a topping for pies, desserts, and beverages.

Is Whipped Cream the Same as Buttercream?

No, whipping cream and buttercream are not the same. Whipping cream refers to cream that has been beaten to incorporate air, resulting in a light and fluffy texture. It is typically used as a topping for desserts or an ingredient in recipes. On the other hand, buttercream is a type of frosting made with butter, powdered sugar, and flavorings. It has a rich and creamy consistency and is often used to decorate cakes and cupcakes. While both contain cream as an ingredient, they differ in preparation, texture, and usage.

What is Whipped Cream?

Whipped cream is a delightful and versatile topping that beats heavy cream until it reaches a light and fluffy consistency. It is often sweetened with sugar and flavored with vanilla or other extracts. Whipped cream adds a luscious and airy touch to desserts, beverages, and fruit-based treats, enhancing their taste and presentation. It is commonly used to top pies, sundaes, hot cocoa, and other indulgent treats, providing a delightful burst of creamy goodness.

What is Whipped Cream

What is Buttercream?

Buttercream is a creamy and indulgent frosting that combines butter, powdered sugar, and flavorings. It offers a rich and smooth texture with a buttery taste. Buttercream can be customized with various flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, or fruit extracts, allowing endless creative possibilities. It is commonly used to frost cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, providing a delicious and decorative finish. Buttercream can be piped, spread, or used as a filling, making it a popular choice for home bakers and professional pastry chefs.

What is Buttercream

What are the Differences between Buttercream and Whipped Cream?

Buttercream is made with butter, powdered sugar, and flavorings, while whipped cream is created by beating heavy cream until it becomes fluffy, often sweetened with sugar and flavored with extracts.

  1. Ingredients: Buttercream is made with butter, powdered sugar, and flavorings, while whipped cream is created by beating heavy cream, often sweetened with sugar and flavored with extracts.
  2. Texture: Buttercream has a rich and creamy texture that holds its shape well, making it suitable for piping and decorations. Whipped cream has a light and airy texture that melts in the mouth.
  3. Flavor: Buttercream offers a buttery taste that complements dense desserts, while whipped cream has a delicate flavor that enhances fruit-based treats.
  4. Usage: Buttercream is commonly used to frost cakes and cookies, while whipped cream is often used as a topping for pies and desserts.
  5. Stability: Buttercream has better stability at room temperature, while whipped cream requires refrigeration and is best used immediately.

The choice between buttercream and whipped cream depends on personal preference, desired texture, and the specific dessert being prepared.

General Uses of Buttercream: 

  1. Frosting cakes: Buttercream is commonly used to frost and decorate cakes, creating a smooth and visually appealing finish.
  2. Cupcake frosting is often piped onto cupcakes, adding a flavorful and decorative touch.
  3. Cookie filling: Buttercream can be sandwiched between cookies to create delicious and indulgent treats.
  4. Cake filling can be used between cake layers, adding moisture and flavor.
  5. Piping decorations: Buttercream can be shaped and piped into various designs, allowing for creative and intricate decorations on desserts.

General Uses of Whipped Cream: 

  1. Dessert topping: Whipped cream is a classic topping for pies, cakes, and other desserts, adding a light and creamy element.
  2. Hot beverages are often dolloped on top of hot cocoa, coffee, or lattes to enhance the flavor and provide a luxurious touch.
  3. Fruit desserts: Whipped cream pairs perfectly with fresh fruit, enhancing their natural sweetness and providing a smooth and velvety contrast.
  4. Parfaits and trifles: It is commonly layered with fruits, cake, and other ingredients to create delightful and visually appealing desserts.
  5. Ice cream sundaes: Whipped cream is a staple in creating decadent and indulgent ice cream sundaes, enhancing the overall taste and presentation.

General Uses


The main ingredients of buttercream are butter, powdered sugar, and flavorings such as vanilla extract. Butter provides richness and creaminess, while powdered sugar adds sweetness and helps achieve the desired consistency. Additional flavorings like cocoa powder or fruit extracts can be used to customize the taste.

Whipped cream is made using heavy cream (whipping cream) and sugar and is often flavored with vanilla extract. The heavy cream provides the creamy base, while sugar sweetens the whipped cream. The ingredients are whipped together until the cream thickens and forms soft peaks, resulting in a light and fluffy texture. Whipped cream can also be stabilized with gelatin or other stabilizers to maintain its shape for longer.

Flavor and Texture

Buttercream offers a rich and creamy texture that is smooth and spreadable. It has a luscious mouthfeel and a buttery flavor that adds depth and richness to desserts. The sweetness of the powdered sugar can be adjusted to personal preference, and additional flavorings can be incorporated to create variations, such as chocolate, coffee, or fruit-infused buttercream.

Whipped cream has a light and airy texture that melts in the mouth. It is soft, billowy, and delicately smooth. The flavor of whipped cream is subtly sweet, allowing the natural taste of the dessert or fruit it accompanies to shine through. Vanilla extract is often added to enhance its taste, but it can be flavored with other extracts to create different flavor profiles, such as almond or citrus. Whipped cream provides a refreshing and light finishing touch to desserts.

Flavor and Texture

Which is Better, Between Whipped Cream and Buttercream?

Determining which is better between whipped cream and buttercream depends on preference and the specific dessert or application. Whipped cream offers a light and airy texture, enhancing the freshness of fruit-based desserts and providing a refreshing touch. On the other hand, buttercream provides a rich and creamy flavor, perfect for indulgent and dense cakes, with the versatility to create intricate designs. Ultimately, the choice depends on the desired taste, texture, and overall effect that one wants to achieve, allowing for a wide range of delightful dessert experiences.

Related Questions

Indulging in various desserts opens the door to finding the perfect icing companion. Consider factors like sweetness and texture when choosing between whipped cream and buttercream. Let your taste preferences and the dessert’s characteristics guide you toward the ultimate icing selection.

Which cream is best for cake decorating?

Buttercream is often considered the best cream for cake decorating due to its versatility and ability to hold intricate designs. Its smooth and creamy texture allows for easy piping and shaping. However, whipped cream can also be a delightful option for a lighter, more refreshing decorating style, especially for fruit-based cakes or desserts. Ultimately, the best cream for cake decorating depends on personal preference and the desired outcome.

Which cream is best for cake decorating

How long will whipped cream last on a cake?

Whipped cream on a cake lasts 2 to 3 days when refrigerated, maintaining its texture and quality. However, consuming the cake with whipped cream as soon as possible is best for optimal freshness and taste.

What cake goes best with buttercream frosting? 

Buttercream frosting pairs wonderfully with various cakes but is particularly well-suited for dense and rich flavors. Chocolate cake, vanilla cake, and red velvet cake are popular choices that beautifully complement the creamy and buttery texture of buttercream frosting, creating a delectable and indulgent combination.

Final Thoughts:

In the realm of frosting choices, the debate between whipped cream and buttercream intrigues dessert enthusiasts. Whipped cream offers a light and airy touch, while buttercream brings richness and versatility. The choice ultimately depends on personal preference, the dessert, and the desired taste and texture. Whether you opt for the delicate freshness of whipped cream or the velvety indulgence of buttercream, both frostings can elevate any cake or dessert, leaving a lasting impression on your taste buds. So explore the delightful world of frostings, unleash your creativity, and create memorable treats that cater to your unique palate.

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