The Truly Unique Name British People Call Canned Whipped Cream

While both nations speak English, the names for certain foods in Britain can vary slightly or even greatly differ from what people are accustomed to in the United States. For example, if you were to come across an aubergine on a British restaurant menu, you might skip it, assuming it's some kind of delicacy. However, an aubergine is simply an eggplant. The same applies to rocket, which is just everyday arugula. When it comes to food slang, things get even more interesting. The Brits have a playful name for whipped cream that comes in a can — they call it "squirty cream."

"Squirty cream" is what Americans would simply refer to as whipped cream. Here in the States, we tend to use that term for both canned whipped cream, such as Reddi-Whip, and the kind made in a bowl with a whisk. However, the British distinguish it with this fun nickname. The original whipped cream even had a different name in Europe.

The evolution of squirty cream

The origin of squirty cream can be traced back to the process of whipping cream, which has likely been practiced for centuries. Although the exact origin of the topping that would evolve into modern whipped cream is debated, it's known that a similar version to what we have today was first served in France at Chantilly Castle. This luxurious topping consisted of fresh cream, vanilla flavoring, and icing or confectioner's sugar. Preparing whipped cream required a deep metal bowl, cold cream, a whisk, and quite a bit of effort. The whipping process incorporated air into the mixture, while the sugar helped stabilize and sweeten it.

On the other hand, whipped cream from a canister is a uniquely American invention. The idea came to a graduate student at the University of Illinois, who realized that using pressurized nitrogen gas would produce a similar effect to vigorous whisking. In 1955, a food salesman named Aaron "Bunny" Lapin patented the nozzle that transformed aerosol whipped cream into a household staple. What followed were years of convenience and delight for children on both sides of the Atlantic, as they couldn't resist spraying squirty cream into their mouths and on their desserts and drinks.

How to make your own squirty cream

These days, it's considered somewhat irresponsible to rely solely on canned whipped cream. Thankfully, making your own whipped cream is incredibly easy, especially if you invest in a whipped cream canister that uses nitrous oxide chargers. Simply add the cream, sugar, and extract to the canister, charge it, and vigorously shake it. Then, turn it over and dispense perfect whipped cream onto your dessert or even directly into your mouth. Voilà, instant squirty cream. Isi is a highly regarded company that has several different canisters depending on your dessert needs. 

To create traditional whipped cream, begin with cold heavy cream, preferably with a high-fat content. Chill a metal bowl for optimal results. Have powdered sugar on hand or process regular sugar in a food processor to make it finer. Pour the cold cream into the bowl and start whisking. As it begins to thicken, add your sugar and vanilla extract, or experiment with different flavors if you're feeling creative. Whipped cream is ready when it forms soft peaks — meaning they cling to the whisk but gently fold over when turned upside down. Transfer the contents to a pastry bag for squirting. If you prefer a more effortless handheld approach, you can use a simple trick for making whipped cream with a jar and a tight-fitting lid — just shake the contents until you achieve the desired consistency.