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How to Cream

The holidays are coming up and that means a lot of people are going to be making delicious homemade goodies. A term that’s likely going to be in recipes, especially for baking, is “to cream.”

Cream is the fatty component of milk, but it’s also a mixing technique used to make batters, doughs, and icing light and tender.  To cream means to beat fat (usually softened butter) and sugar together until the mixture is smooth, light, and fluffy. This method aerates the fat with countless tiny air bubbles and can take up to 10 minutes.

If a recipe calls for you to cream butter and sugar together until smooth, light, and fluffy and you don’t beat them together enough, your final product will end up dense, not light and tender like it’s supposed to be.

Butter and sugar creamed in a stainless steel bowl

How to Cream Tips:

  • If your butter is cold and hard and you don’t have time to let it soften slightly at room temperature, grate it on a large whole grater into a bowl. Doing this increases the surface area of the butter, allowing it to soften much faster.  When the butter has softened, add the sugar and beat.  Never cream melted butter and sugar together, it won’t work.
  • Use a stand mixer or hand mixer to cream butter and sugar together, your wrist will thank you!
  • If you put a tea towel under your bowl, this will help stabilize it while you’re creaming your butter and sugar.