the [english speaking] world guide to cream & a 3 ingredient cake

double cream 3 ingredient cake with raspberries & cream

Here at stonesoup I love getting feedback from readers. Whether it’s a comment, a tweet, or even a direct email. It’s always nice to know that people are reading – even if it’s not all sweetness and light.

Since the release of my FREE e-cookbook, I’ve been getting more emails than usual which is great. The most common question has been from the sweet treats chapter. In particular, I’ve had a heap of people wanting to know about the different types of cream I use.

At first I was a little surprised, but thinking about it even on my recent trip to Ireland it took me a while to figure out which cream to buy when I was out shopping. So creams ain’t creams, and given the global nature of the stonesoup audience, I wanted to pull together a list of cream terms from around the world.

And as a bonus, I have a recipe for an amazing 3 ingredient cake. One that would be happy served with any type of cream. Yay.

the [english speaking] world guide to cream

Note: The best way to tell your creams apart is to look at the amount of butter fat, or just fat listed on the label. This should also help you navigate the treacherous waters of cream purchasing in non-english speaking countries.

approx 18% butter fat
Australia & NZ: light cream
Nth America: single cream, light cream, table cream
UK & Ireland: single cream, light cream

approx 18% butter fat + strong bacterial cultures
Australia & NZ: sour cream
Nth America: sour cream
UK & Ireland: sour cream

approx 35% butter fat
Australia & NZ: pure cream, pouring cream
Nth America: whipping cream
UK & Ireland: whipping cream

approx 35% butter fat + thickening agents
Thickening agents can be gelatine or vegetable gums
Australia & NZ: thickened cream
Nth America: whipping cream
UK & Ireland: whipping cream

approx 35% butter fat + mild bacterial cultures
Australia & NZ: creme fraiche
Nth America: creme fraiche
UK & Ireland: creme fraiche

approx 48% butter fat
Australia & NZ: double cream
Nth America: not commonly found, may be called extra heavy whipping cream
UK & Ireland: double cream

heat treated with approx 55% butter fat
Australia & NZ: clotted cream, scalded cream
Nth America: clotted cream
UK & Ireland: clotted cream, devon cream

I’ve used a number of sources to pull this guide together but I may not have covered everything so please feel free to share additions / corrections in the comments.

3 ingredient cake with raspberries & cream the 3 ingredient cake

[5 ingredients | simple baking]
3 ingredient cake with quick raspberry sauce & cream

serves 8 – 10

I love this cake for it’s light sponginess. It’s the perfect dessert cake.

It’s also a great cake if you need to cook for someone with gluten or dairy allergies. Feel free to substitute in your favourite type of nut. I’d love to try it with pistachio for a pretty green cake.

The raspberries and cream make a lovely summery accompaniment but you could serve it with pot roasted pears and a hot chocolate sauce if you were after something more hearty.

If you have access to fresh raspberries, by all means use them but frozen work exceptionally well in this sauce.

Oh and this seems to be one of those cakes that likes to sink in the middle. To minimise this make sure you don’t open the oven until it’s been in there for at least 45 minutes. Of course the sunken middle does make for a great opportunity to fill it with cream and raspberries.

for the cake:
250g (9oz) whole almonds
6 eggs, separated
200g (7oz) sugar + extra for sauce
to serve:
300g (11oz) frozen raspberries
cream, to serve

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line the base of a 24cm (9in) spring form tin with baking paper and grease the sides.

Whizz the almonds in a food processor until you have a fine meal. Place almonds in a mixing bowl. Whizz yolks and sugar in the food processor until pale and well mixed.

Whisk egg whites with a whisk or stand mixer until it looks like glossy marshmallow (soft peaks). Gently add yolk mixture and almonds to the whites. Stir gently with a folding motion until everything is only just combined. Transfer to the prepared cake tin and bake until the cake is deep brown and starting to shrink away from the sides of the tin (approx 45 – 50 minutes).

Meanwhile mash together raspberries and 60g (2oz) sugar. Taste and add a little more sugar if you think it needs it.

Serve cake drizzled with sauce with cream as well.


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  • I know what you mean, it’s funny the way reading food blogs has introduced me to so many different terms for food throughout the world. I read recipes that are from the USA, Canada, Australia and Asia too all with slightly different terms – what would I do without Google! I’ve pretty much got it down now though I think!

    This cake looks very yummy – I’m really enjoying your few ingredients recipes, that’s the kind of cooking that actually works mid-week.

  • Have you made this with cornmeal, or regular flour?

    Also, having made a similar flourless cake (a chocolate fondant cake, with 6 eggs and lots of chocolate), it might help to bake it in a bain marie to prevent the sinking. But I agree–sinking in the middle practically invites you to top it!

  • You’re right… I’m from Italy and when I moved to Ireland and go shopping I would go crazy. I’m not too good at English now, so you can figure out back in those days. The cream thing is really scary: first time I tried to prepare some smoked salmon pasta with cream I ended up buying sour cream, instead (it was the most available at the market and we don’t have it in Italy!). Now things are getting better, thanks to blogs like this!! helpful review
    cheers Martina

  • What a useful guide to cream! I so heart the double cream that I can get from Gruyères, that stuff is rich! And beautiful cake, so simple and glad to see naturally gluten free too!

  • That’s great – I’ve been here almost 6 years and that’s the best guide I’ve seen yet – didn’t realise that “pure cream” here was whipping cream and that “light cream” here meant single cream. Never reallky understood the need for “thickened cream” though – feel cream should be cream – no additives..
    Am slightly caked out cause have just baked and iced a 4 layer chocolate cake/vanilla icing/chocolate ganache icing over it for my son’s 5th birthday. He was pretty happy! Still this is a great and very clever recipe that I will definitely try – the dairy/gluten free recipe is incredibly useful. Thanks!

  • argh! where was this guide when i needed it a few weeks back! lol. this is going to be printed out and place somewhere accessible for the next time i need to decipher a recipe/shopping for cream!

    ps is there anyway you could add which ones are whippable and which are not? i can only assume single cream (aka 18% butter fat one) isnt, but sometimes the name doesn’t correspond with what they can do. so confusing!

  • Thanks for this! I live in China, and I would get my cream from an imported store. Therefore it might come from all over the world, and I’d need to know all the terms! You’re amazingly sensitive to your readers’ needs :D


  • thanks for this guide! and many thanks for your e-book that I really appreciated. in Italy we don’t have so many cream in fact, so we have to go around looking for them in special foodshops (english grocery, bio-marlets…) hoping to find the right one. For instance sour cream is not common, not to mention clotted cream…………….

  • It’s amazing how many different kind of cream there are…good guide! Last month I was in England on holiday and for the first time I tried clotted cream – OMG it’s soooo good, but I didn’t realise it has 55% fat content…

  • Thank you for this cream primer! I’m always so confused and I’m only dealing with just what’s available here in the US. But I have one questions, we have what is called “half and half” here. What is that and where does it fit on this chart? Is that a US thing or is it not really cream at all? It is sold with the whipping cream and light cream so I assumed it was some form of cream but what is it? Anyone know?


  • Jill,
    Half & half is a US thing – half cream and half whole milk. I’m not sure what the point of it is – some people there have it in their coffee (ughh!) but it may have other uses. I can’t imagine it has more milk-fat than ‘light cream’, possibly less. Does it give a fat percentage on the package?

  • I just found your blog and I’m ridiculously excited! I’ve been wanting to cook for myself more and have been going to cooking classes for a year but they are all so complicated and need me to buy ingredients I can only use for that meal, I was quite disheartened but now after poking around your blog I think I could actually work full time AND cook a decent meal every night! Thanks so much!!

  • Thank you so much for this guide!! I’m going to print it out and hang it on the fridge with my oven conversions magnet. I’m American and have been living in Tasmania for about 1.5 years now and the cream situation definitely has had me bewildered. What is thickened cream used for? I’ve never seen it in the US (haven’t seen whipping cream with thickeners in it either) and haven’t figured it out yet. Also, in the cake recipe above, which cream do you serve it with?

  • My Norwegian housemate (living in Australia) told me she nearly cried after buying ‘pure cream’ milk, then beating it for 45 minutes by hand – to no avail! A funny story afterwards, but not so entertaining for a new arrival trying to adjust! She’s now got the hang of things and returned to Norway to introduce her family to pantries (they don’t have them in Norway!), crumpets and avocados.

  • ‘Beware – there is also fat free half and half.’

    Also known as ‘milk’? But seriously WTF?

  • Danger… look at the label and ingredients of fat free “half and half.” A typical brand here in the States lists: “Nonfat Milk, Corn Syrup, Cream (Adds a Trivial Amount of Fat)Artificial Color (an Ingredient Not Normally Found in Half & Half)Sodium Citrate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Mono & Diglycerides (Adds a Trivial Amount of Fat)Carrageenan, Vitamin A Palmitate.” Bleh. Thankfully I take my coffee black.

    On double cream, my father once bought a device in England called a mechanical udder. It has long since been lost but it would incorporate unsalted butter into heaving whipping cream to make double weight cream. Anyone else seen one of these?

  • Sarah, in Australia thickened cream is generally used when a recipe calls for “whipped cream”. You need to beat it though otherwise you will just have a cream that is “thicker” than pouring cream. Common uses (after beating till thick) would be in a sponge cake or on top of a pavlova for example. If you add vanilla essence and some icing sugar and then beat it you will have “Chantilly cream”.
    Be careful when beating as it does thicken quite quickly (due to the thickening agents: hence the name) and you could end up with butter. :)

  • Great list, very useful for when translating US recipes. I wish they (you?) would also stop using ‘stick of butter’ and put a proper weight! :-)

    In reality, ‘Cornish Clotted Cream’ is also slightly different to ‘Devonshire Cream’ – clotted is even thicker and richer, I think. Used for much the same thing (putting on scones mainly, yum) but traditionally a hot (local) topic as to which is best since Devon and Cornwall are neighbouring counties.

  • Hi!

    I tried your 3 ingeredient cake recipe last weekend and was absolutely delighted by the result. I thought you might be interested in the Team Wholegrain recipe-making competition; the prize for the best recipe is a fabulous weekend trip for two to Lesley Waters’ cooking school in Dorset.

    The details of the competition are as follows:
    1. Create a recipe including a whole grain cereal from Nestle. Options include Cheerios, Shredded Wheat, Shreddies and Oats & More. A full list can be found at the Team Whole Grain website at
    2. Write up the recipe and email it to
    3. The deadline for entering the competition is the 31st of July.

    We really hope you enter! Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions


  • If you ask my mother, it’s called half & half because half gets used and the other half sits in the back of the fridge and goes bad!
    We use it in two things: scalloped potatoes and alfredo sauce.

  • i just love your bog. great info, great photos and tasty recipes…can’t wait to make this cake and more goodies i’m sure i’ll find in here..thanks

  • Huh. When I last used a recipe of yours that called for “pouring cream,” I looked the term up, and was told it was about the equivalent of light cream here in the U.S. – so that’s what I used. It seemed to work fine. *shrug*

    Other phrases that have confused me in your recipes: a “punnet.” I assumed this was something like a pint basket?

  • I finally tried this recipe last night and it was wonderful!

    Since I didn’t have a spring form, I made the cake in muffin tins. They turned out delightful. Also since they were smaller, I avoided the sinking middle. My guest thought they were divine.

    Thank you so much, as always a delicious and easy treat!

  • Do you think this cake would work with Acorn Starch? I was transfixed by this ingredient during a recent completely-decadent-shopping-expedition at a great Asian market. It makes me think of what a happy, spoiled, little Iberico pig would eat for dessert.

  • Thanks for the lesson on international creams! Being American, I’ve always wondered what clotted cream is. But then, I’m always stumped at our own cream section in the supermarket. You’ve noted that we have a light cream and a whipping cream, but we also have the half and half (about 12% fat) previous commenters noted, a light whipping cream (about 30% fat), and a heavy cream or a heavy whipping cream (38% fat). Sometimes I have a bit of a panic attack trying to figure out which one a recipe calls for :)

  • In NZ we don’t really have ‘double cream’ – it’s never called that, nor have I seen 48% fat in supermarkets. We mainly have the 18% light cream – which would be also called pouring cream as it doesn’t whip, or just plain old cream at 35%, which we can whip. If you said you needed double cream, we would assume you needed normal 35%.

  • Interesting, I’ve never even seen the amount of fat in a cream product listed on the stuff sold here. I need to move (smile). This cake looks wonderful. I might have to try it as soon as I figure out the cream thing…

  • wow, those percentages explain why i love clotted cream LOL. i definitely want to try this cake. thanks for sharing!

  • I just found your blog (via the IFBC blogroll) and this cake and I are GAME ON. I agree, I can’t wait to try it with pistachios! And it is blackberry season now in Seattle so I know exactly what is going in the ‘sinkhole’. Thanks so much!

  • So, this explains why I go crazy looking at some cookbooks printed in the UK. This clearly solved the mystery of the different names of the creams. Now I discovered a lot about creams, and their differences. Thanks so much for this great resource!

  • What to cook for an afternoon tea attended by two blokes, a gluten free and dairy free girlfriend, a two year old and a three year old? This cake! Everyone was happy and the husband of the gluten free/dairy free is thrilled to have found something that he can bake that meets all dietary requirements and can be tailored to add variety on a regular basis. As for the two year old and the three year old, clean plates told the tale (not that that’s usually a challenge with kids and cake!).

  • I made this cake yesterday for St. Patrick’s day. I used pistachio nuts, as suggested, and the cake was delicious. My son who is not big on desserts or nuts, had 2 servings! Thank you so much for a wonderful “keeper” recipe.

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