Scratch Baker: Creaming Sugar And Butter -Med/fast Or Not?

Baking By wrightway777 Updated 8 Jun 2010 , 3:53pm by Dizzymaiden

wrightway777 Posted 2 Jun 2010 , 2:17pm
post #1 of 17

I noticed that of the recipe books I have that most bakers, when making cakes, cream the butter at about medium high speed but some dont. Matter of fact, Warren Brown insists NOT to do this fast. Case in point his "Yellow Butter Cake." Its in his book, Cake Love, and he talks about it here as well.




I've never really given it much thought falling right in line with the medium high creaming method. But of course I end up having to use a simple syrup a good bit of the time on the final product. But, what's your thoughts on this process?

16 replies
rainbow_kisses Posted 2 Jun 2010 , 4:06pm
post #2 of 17

I cream on a low/med speed for usually approx. 6 mins with a small electric mixer, until the colour is a light cream colour. It does vary from recipe to recipe. Some call for a longer creaming than others. If I am mixing by hand creaming with a wooden spoon can take upto 15 mins.

kizrash Posted 2 Jun 2010 , 4:26pm
post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrummymummy

I cream on a low/med speed for usually approx. 6 mins with a small electric mixer, until the colour is a light cream colour. It does vary from recipe to recipe. Some call for a longer creaming than others. If I am mixing by hand creaming with a wooden spoon can take upto 15 mins.




"Ditto"

MJoycake Posted 2 Jun 2010 , 4:28pm
post #4 of 17

I cream my butter/sugar on med-high for 5 minutes. My cakes are moist....I just saw a Warren Brown clip where he said never to mix on high but he didn't explain why....it works for me.

JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 2 Jun 2010 , 4:46pm
post #5 of 17

I was taught to cream the butter/shortening/sugar vigorously. You don't just want to stir it around together, but you want to "beat the heck out of it" because the ultimate goal is to break up the fat so that it surrounds every grain of sugar. So many techniques and who's to say what's right?? I guess what works for you is what's right. thumbs_up.gif

wrightway777 Posted 2 Jun 2010 , 11:40pm
post #6 of 17

thanks for the above responses. Warren Brown does briefly mention the reason why, its to incorporate air.
I also read this just now (provoked to dig just a little deaper by y'alls responses) I think it makes since to slow down (to medium at least) after reading this. And the butter idea 65-67 degrees gonna start watching that too! I think you will find it interesting too:
http://www.baking911.com/howto/cream.htm

This has got to be one of those key varying elements of when you see recipes that have both end of the spectrum ratings. Know what I mean.

now pound cakes....yeah, still gonna beat the heck out of those though icon_smile.gif

prterrell Posted 3 Jun 2010 , 12:18am
post #7 of 17

I do mine in my KA stand mixer. I start it out on low and then gradually move up through to medium high. I beat my butter creamy and then slowly add in the sugar and then beat the crap out of it. Probably a good 5 minutes on medium/medium-high after the sugar is all in (would take a LOT longer using a hand mixer). It is very light and creamy when I'm done, about the color and consistency of mayo and you can barely see any sugar grains. I let it do it's thing while I measure out the rest of the ingredients and sift together the dry ingredients, checking on it every so often until it looks right.

cupcake_cutie Posted 3 Jun 2010 , 12:41am
post #8 of 17

Wow. After reading this I see that I need to cream my butter and sugar longer.

MJoycake Posted 3 Jun 2010 , 12:50am
post #9 of 17

Yes...and set a timer! I used to *think I was creaming for 5 minutes, because it FELT like a long time...until I started setting a timer and realized I had only been creaming for maybe 2 mins! It really is a long time!

cupcake_cutie Posted 3 Jun 2010 , 1:00am
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJoycake

Yes...and set a timer! I used to *think I was creaming for 5 minutes, because it FELT like a long time...until I started setting a timer and realized I had only been creaming for maybe 2 mins! It really is a long time!


Yes MJoycake, I definitely will!

sweet_honesty Posted 3 Jun 2010 , 1:06am
post #11 of 17

I usually cream for ten to fifteen minutes. I don't have a KA but my Sunbeam has numbered speeds with labels on them. I think the creaming levels are 7,8 and 9 out of 12. I usually look for a colour and texture change more than the time. I cream until it "looks" right.

LindaF144a Posted 4 Jun 2010 , 2:18am
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrightway777

I noticed that of the recipe books I have that most bakers, when making cakes, cream the butter at about medium high speed but some dont. Matter of fact, Warren Brown insists NOT to do this fast. Case in point his "Yellow Butter Cake." Its in his book, Cake Love, and he talks about it here as well.




I've never really given it much thought falling right in line with the medium high creaming method. But of course I end up having to use a simple syrup a good bit of the time on the final product. But, what's your thoughts on this process?




On my KA mixer, I start out by creaming the butter only on 2-3, then I slowly add the sugar on 2, then I set the timer for 8 minutes, turn it to 4 and walk away til the timer goes off.

What kind of mixer do you have. A hand held mixer will need to be done at a higher speed and for a longer time.

I haven't looked at the WB video in a while, but I thought his mixer for creaming was set at 4. I believe WB, as well as all quite a few other baking books, use a low speed for adding everything after creaming. But again, I am going by memory, and that is not the best resource.

wrightway777 Posted 4 Jun 2010 , 12:22pm
post #13 of 17

Linda - I love the attention to the creaming method that you do. I'm also so glad to hear that other bakers are slowing down that part of their cake recipes. Before I read your response (I've gotta KA too) the scratch yellow cake that I did yesterday I creamed the butter prior to adding the sugar (disregarding the usual recipe instruction to "cream the butter and sugar together") and then slowly added the sugar (at 3 - I'll do it your way next time) then raised it to to 4 and only did it for 5 minutes (timed) (I'll increase it to 8 next time). The cake result was wonderful much much better than usual!!!! This is totally a key to moisture levels in scratch cakes I'm 100% sure of it.

LindaF144a Posted 4 Jun 2010 , 12:59pm
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrightway777

Linda - I love the attention to the creaming method that you do. I'm also so glad to hear that other bakers are slowing down that part of their cake recipes. Before I read your response (I've gotta KA too) the scratch yellow cake that I did yesterday I creamed the butter prior to adding the sugar (disregarding the usual recipe instruction to "cream the butter and sugar together") and then slowly added the sugar (at 3 - I'll do it your way next time) then raised it to to 4 and only did it for 5 minutes (timed) (I'll increase it to 8 next time). The cake result was wonderful much much better than usual!!!! This is totally a key to moisture levels in scratch cakes I'm 100% sure of it.




It is so tempting to stop the mixer sooner too because it looks so fluffy after a few minutes, but I don't. Not only does it contribute to moisture level, it also creates a fluffy tender cake, not as dense. I think that is what I read. I'll double check and see.

If you want to read some more about scratch baking I can highly recommend Bakewise and Cookwise, both books are by Shirley Corriher. She talks about the process of baking a cake. This is where I found the idea of creaming for 8 minutes. I found mine at the local library before I broke down and bought them. Also there is a book called Baking Illustrated that goes into the detail of baking also.

I have not tried any of the recipes from either of these books yet. I have read elsewhere that Shirley likes her cakes very sweet. But curiosity is getting the best of me, so I plan on trying them as soon as I return from vacation.

As a side note there was an article in Cooks Illustrated this month on cupcakes. One of the things they did is get cupcakes from around the country and test them. It turns out they are more show than taste. It's interesting what they found. Although they did say they got the cupcakes one day old, so that may be the reason. I say Bah! My cupcakes have been eaten 3 days old and are still moist. I send them to work with my DH where they don't know when they were baked (I like to get honest feedback on my baking) and every one raves about how moist they are. Only once did I not like the moisture the next day and that was from a recipe used for carved cakes so I think it is made purposely to be a bit dense. I found it very interesting. It is on the newsstands now, go check it out.

Dizzymaiden Posted 4 Jun 2010 , 1:17pm
post #15 of 17

...Bah! My cupcakes have been eaten 3 days old and are still moist. I send them to work with my DH where they don't know when they were baked...

I agree! Stale cake is stale because it has been hanging around too long.

I am going to slow down my creaming and see what happens. I have a kids sheet cake this Monday.

JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 4 Jun 2010 , 1:44pm
post #16 of 17

Oh, absolutely add the sugar slowly to the butter! I also do that on #2, but I don't consider that part "creaming" the butter and sugar. That's just "incorporating" the sugar into the butter. But once all the sugar has been added, I crank that baby up and let it work! As I mentioned, the goal is to coat every single grain of sugar with butter (or fat), which does, indeed, create a fluffier, more tender cake. thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif People tend to under-cream the butter/sugar because we're told not to over mix the batter....but it's AFTER the flour/dry has been added that you don't want to over mix. In fact, my grandma (who taught me how to scratch bake) would often just stir the dry in by hand so she could feel when the batter was ready.

Dizzymaiden Posted 8 Jun 2010 , 3:53pm
post #17 of 17

What a difference. I thought I could only get the "mayonnaise" consistency with IBC. I creamed the heck out of the fats and then when I thought it was done..I creamed some more! lol

Really great tip.

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