How to quickly soften butter for baking

Why it matters. Many cake and biscuit recipes are based on the creaming method, which involves whipping fat and then fat and sugar lightly and fluffy. This process uses air, and sugar is particularly efficient at introducing and locking air into the fat (which is often butter, but can also be shortening). “If you keep the fat cool and beat the fat alone and the fat-sugar mixture long enough to create huge amounts of fine air bubbles, this method creates a light, well-ventilated cake,” says Shirley Corriher in BakeWise: The How and why of successful baking. ”(While many biscuits also use the cream method, Corriher says that it is not quite as important as cake to successful biscuits).

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