What do you do if your whip cream isnt working?

I caught this thread late but here are my thoughts for what it's worth.

First, I agree to sticking with heavy cream only, if possible, preferably fresh, not ultra-unpasteurized or "whipping" cream. In my area the stuff called "whipping cream" has less butterfat than heavy cream and has a bunch of chemical additives. Although ultra-unpasteurized may work, it sometimes doesn't perform as well and it has a punky stale flavor.

Second, good cream whips better as it gets older. I find that cream can be very usable when older, unless it's gone spoiled altogether. One caveat - if it comes in a cardboard container, it tends to spoil fast, so I transfer to a glass jar right away. Plastic containers seem ok too. Weeks old cream may clot at the top, but you can reconstitute it by shaking. Someimes the top layer goes a little sour, but you can pour some good cream from underneath.

Third, I never use powdered sugar - it adds a flinty taste. The idea that the cornstarch in powdered sugar keeps the whipped cream from going watery suggests that you're going to store it. Personally I'd rather whip cream than use days old stuff, plus it's easy once you know how. I use superfine sugar because it dissolves very fast while granulated sugar doesn't.

I agree that you don't absolutely need a chilled bowl but whipping goes faster it you use one.

Here's my method - no big news to anyone. Use a chilled bowl and whisk, good cream, as above, and superfine sugar. Pour some cream in the bowl, add some sugar on top of cream and beat until softly whipped. Taste for sweetness, add more sugar as needed plus some Vanilla extract, taste again. When it's good, whip more until you have the texture you want. Done. Five minutes, max.

You mentioned "beaters" not "beater" or "whisk". This suggests you may be using a Hamilton Beach type mixer with the old twin beaters. These never work as well as a whisk or Kitchen Aid type mixer with whisk attachment. I think they were designed more for mixing batter, but not for incorporating air as in cream or egg whites.

Finally, your profile says you live in Virginia, which may be good news for you. One of the best creams I've ever had comes from Lewes Delaware, and is available through a good part of Virginia, especially Northern Virginia. Check Balduccis or Whole Foods if you're near one. These stores and some others also used to have excellent cream from Pennsylvania - Oxford Cream.