I used to live in Britain and I'm familiar with using Double Cream (48%+ fat) in all my recipes. However I moved to Canada a year ago and double cream doesn't seem to exist in North America. This has resulted in many of my recipes failing with the 35% heavy whipping cream as it doesn't whip quite thick enough; it won't hold up my cake tiers, and it goes oddly foamy in my pastries. Yet I've seen strongly thickened cream in stores and bakeries, so how are they thickening it?

I've tried googling this and have tried a few things, such as boiling the cream, and I've also tried adding corn starch (unless you want dry floury cream, never do this). I've also seen a couple of mentions of gelatin and stabilizers but don't know if that's the correct direction.

I'm starting to think I should buy my own cow. Any cream experts out there who can help?

  • 3
    Are you sure that what you're seeing in bakeries is pure cream, and not pastry cream? I don't know about cakes, but the majority of pastries I've worked with use pastry cream or a 50/50 mix of pastry and whipping cream.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 0:38

12 Answers 12


Corn starch only thickens when heated to 180 F, so it probably is not helping at all with your whipped cream.

I live in the US, so I cannot compare to whipped cream in the UK. Whipped cream for cake fillings is often beaten almost to the breaking point to make the foam as thick as possible. I assume you are whipping the cream sufficiently, and it still isn't getting as thick as you would like.

If that is the case, you might try stabilizing the whipped cream with gelatin. The link is one of many I have found on a quick search, and it specifically calls for 35% cream.

This long chowhound thread also has some interesting thoughts and advise.

This ochef link also provides an interesting method of using creme fraiche.

  • Thanks, great info. I will experiment with some gelatin, it looks like the solution I'm looking for.
    – Essential
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 14:25
  • 3
    corn starch (usually in the form of powdered sugar) is sometimes used to stabilize whipped cream, but it only does so by absorbing water that may separate, it won't actually make the cream thicker or stronger.
    – SourDoh
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 15:04

You're right about the fat content of whipping cream. English Double Cream has a typical fat content of around 48% compared to the thickest cream in N America which is heavy cream at about 35%.

You could try using crème de mais, a modified cornstarch which doesn't require any heat to thicken. I think its trade name is Clear Jel.


You can thicken Canadian 35% whipping cream by dehydrating it with dried apples. Place (natural) dried apple slices, loosely packed, in a sealer and add cream to cover. Refrigerate for 24 hours. The cream that is in direct contact with the apples will become very thick and greasy and you will have to squeeze it off with your fingers. Messy. Remix the clumps. Not sure of exact amount of apple for a desired result. Sliht apple taste to the cream. Experiment. Good luck.

  • 1
    I would imagine the acidity of the apple will affect the cream adversely.
    – Jay
    Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 2:22
  • 1
    This is an interesting approach ... I suspect that there might be other dried items that could be used that wouldn't have the acid issues that Jay mentioned ... maybe rice, although that would transfer some starch in the process. (and you couldn't scrape it off as easily)
    – Joe
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 21:25
  • What about silica gel(kidding)?
    – cst1992
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 9:40

Add gelatine - that's what commercial thickened cream is - cream with gelatin, lightly beat to incorporate, then let it set. Beat before using (not to whipped-cream level - just to get it to move :)

Use one leaf of gelatin dissolved in a tablespoon of warmed water for each pint of cream.


You can use cream cheese!!!!! This page suggests beating to soft peaks then adding 1 heaping teaspoon cream cheese per 1 cup of cream and beating until the desired consistency.

  • 1
    Welcome to Seasoned Advice! While this does address the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 21:30
  • Link is dead :(
    – cst1992
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 9:46

If you live in an urban area, I would think you would be able to get your hands on imports like the clotted cream you are missing, or mascarpone, which has 50% fat content.

After a quick search, I found a recipe (not mine) for making mascarpone at home, which requires cream with at least 25% fat content and utilizes tartaric acid. http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/cheese/mascarpone.HTM

Why buy the cow when you can make the cream for (practically) free? :-)

Good luck!


Try icing sugar. It makes the cream very sweet but does the job.


In the US, you can sometimes find something called manufacturing cream, which is over 40% fat. Still not quite UK double cream, but much closer than standard whipping cream. You'll probably need to find it in a restaurant-supply type of place; it's not something they carry at regular grocery stores.


Stabilizing it will thicken the whipped cream and make it more firm. I use gelatin. It's easy to find and easy to use. When I use this method, the whipped cream holds up for at least 24 hours (maybe longer, but I haven't had any left after that time frame). Here's a post from my blog with pictures and recipe. Hope that helps! :)


Try whipping it more. The more it is whipped, the thicker it gets.

Use guar gum. You can find it on Amazon. It is about 8x stronger than corn starch, so you can use less. I use it in my green tea matcha frappuccinos (frozen/iced lattes - like a smoothie).

What you see in stores may be butter cream frosting. Mix about 1:4 butter:confectioner's sugar.


Add instant pudding to thicken your cream. In fact, this is how I make a lot of my cakes for a rich, not so sweet, nice thick frosting. 1 pkg of instant pudding for 473 ml carton of cream is usually a perfect consistency.


I don't know if you are hand whipping it, but mine would not whip either. To fix this, I just blended it in a blender. Sorry if this answer seems like a DUH answer, but I normally whip by hand

  • The OP does not say that the cream does not foam at all. They are accustomed to 48% fat cream, which whips much firmer than the 33% available in other countries. It is obviously not a problem in the whipping technique, but that the different ingredient does not work in English recipes.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jan 1, 2014 at 0:58

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