Temperature is the key principle in whipping cream: the colder the better. Use cream with the highest fat content you can find..
Place the metal bowl and beaters of an electric mixer in the freezer for a few minutes. (For small batches, you can also whip cream with a hand whisk, if you don’t mind a bit of hard work!)
Place the cold cream into the chilled bowl and whip at medium speed until thickened.
If you are sweetening the mixture, add the sugar. Increase the speed to high and whip to the desired texture. Watch the cream carefully, and always stop beating immediately when it reaches a stiff consistency. Cream beaten beyond this point will curdle and separate into buttery lumps.
“Softly whipped” cream should form a rounded mound when dropped from a spoon.
Cream whipped to “medium peaks” should form a peaked mound when dropped.
6. “Stiff” whipped cream is just barely firm enough to spread or pipe as you would icing.