What exactly does “cream the butter” mean?
Creaming butter means to whip it until it is smooth, light and fluffy. It is one of the most important steps in baking if you ask us. If you’ve ever had an issue with your baked goods not coming out right it might be due to how the butter and sugar were combined.
Why does creamed butter appear bigger in volume?
This is a good question. What is actually happening when you are ‘creaming’ is you are incorporating air into the butter. This causes the butter to increase in volume. These air pockets will also expand during baking giving your baked good the light and fluffy texture.
So what are the steps to creaming butter and sugar together?
1. Soften your butter.
Place the butter out on the counter for at least an hour, or until it becomes room temperature. The butter should feel soft. Avoid microwaves and shortcuts. If you are going to cream butter and sugar together the right way you need to take the time to prepare your ingredients.
If the butter is too cold it won’t blend with the sugar, but more importantly, it gets stuck up into the blades of the hand mixer and becomes almost impossible to whip. If it is warmed in the microwave the center becomes mushy and melted. Both of these will not create the air pockets that are needed.
How do you know when it’s at room temperature? Give it a poke! If your finger leaves a little indent, your butter is soft.
2. Combine the butter and sugar first with a wooden spoon in a large (preferably) stainless bowl.
Whether you are using a hand mixer, stand mixer or creaming this by hand, the best place to start with is using the back of wooden spoon and mashing the butter and sugar up and against the sides of the bowl. This will also help if your butter isn’t completely at room temperature. Once the butter is smooth, grab the hand mixer and start incorporating the sugar.
If you prefer to use the hand mixer the whole way, then start with just the butter first. Adding the sugar too quickly will just end up all over your counter. Give the butter a quick whip for a minute and gradually add the sugar.
3. Beat until combined and fluffy.
The butter is “creamed” when it has almost doubled in mass and it has lightened to a yellowish-white color. Keep mixing on medium speed until the mix starts forming little peak-like ridges. This takes 3-4 minutes. It’s easy to go ‘too far’ also. If the fat starts to separate then you have gone too far and need to start again.
Looking to try out your new skills?
Try making these SIMPLE Strawberry Cupcakes