I’ve promised you a whipped soap recipe that doesn’t use stearic acid to stabilize it, and here it is. This one uses raw cocoa butter, imparting a delicious chocolatey scent along the way. It’s still wonderfully light and airy, but it does end up with a slightly different texture than whipped soap stabilized with stearic acid—more marshmallowy than totally light and fluffy.
Cocoa butter is mostly saturated fat (around two-thirds), and of that it’s primarily stearic acid and palmitic acid. This makes for a brittle, hard butter, but it definitely doesn’t have the hardening kick that pure stearic acid does. This accounts for the difference in texture—a bit softer, and more moisturizing than the pure stearic acid. This alternative is especially good for those who find high concentrations of stearic acid to be irritating.
The process for making this whipped soap is a touch different than the stearic acid version. The steps are more or less the same, but after you add the glycerin I won’t blame you at all if you immediately think you’ve made a huge mistake as the entire thing will liquify, and you’ll start to think it’ll never thicken up enough to whip. But have no worries, it will. A bit of an ice bath and some patience, and you’ll have yourself a tub of fluffy soapy goodness in the end.
I’ve really been enjoying having a big, luxurious jar of cocoa-scented cloud-like soap in my bathroom lately. It looks wonderfully light through the glass, like fine sea foam. I can scoop out a small puff of it to wash my hands or face, and I bet kids would be thrilled by the squishy/foamy/fluffy texture of it as well. Give it a go—what’s not to love?
2019 update: I’m afraid I can’t offer much in the way of detailed troubleshooting information for this project as I haven’t made whipped soap in well over 4 years and my memory of the process is limited to my notes, which you’re reading here. Sorry! As you can see, it worked well for me back in 2014, but it has been a long while since I’ve made it.
Cocoa Peppermint Whipped Cream Soap
100g | 3.5oz cream soap paste
100g | 3.5oz just-boiled water
20–30 drops peppermint essential oil
1/2 tsp vanilla specks (optional)
Combine the cream soap paste and just-boiled water in a smallish (~500mL/2 cup) leftover container with a sealing lid. Mash them together a bit, seal, and leave the paste to absorb the water for at least 9 hours—overnight works like a treat.
Once the cocoa butter melts, remove the bowl from the heat and blend the soap and melted cocoa butter together with your electric beaters. When the bowl is cool enough that cracking isn’t a worry (for glass, from the sudden temperature change), set it in an ice bath and start whipping. Once it’s thickened to a creamy paste, add the glycerin. The mixture will immediately liquify—no worries.
Continue to whip the mixture in the ice bath—it will eventually start to thicken and then whip, like very slow-to-whip cream. A stand mixer would be useful here, and if your mixer is loud, I recommend earplugs as well to prevent hearing damage.
Once it’s all light and creamy, sort of like partially melted ice cream, blend in the peppermint essential oil and vanilla specks. Lightly spoon the mixture into a wide-mouth jar and enjoy!