The day before you plan to whip the coconut cream, put the can of coconut in the fridge the night before so the cream hardens and is easy to separate.
When ready to make the whipped cream, remove the can from the refrigerator, turn it upside down and remove the end with a can opener.
Pour off the liquid that has separated from the thick coconut milk. (You can use the liquid in smoothies or soups.) Scoop the coconut milk out of the can into a mixing bowl, it should measure about 3/4 cup of coconut cream (it's okay to have a little less).
Beat with a mixer until cream begins to firm up and form soft peaks, 3-4 minutes. Add sugar (or sugar substitute) and vanilla and mix until combined.
Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to one week until ready to use.
I have the best luck with the Native Forest brand coconut milk. It easily separated and had the most coconut cream out of the 4 brands I tried.Be sure to refrigerate the can for several hours or overnight before you start.The finished whipped cream will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Stir again before serving.