I often get asked how long should you beat butter and sugar when creaming it. There is no actual time that you need to aim for as there are a few variables that can affect how long it will take, including how soft your butter is, the proportion of butter to sugar, and the type of sugar you are using.
The best thing to watch out for is for how the mixture transforms as it is beaten. The more you beat it the paler in colour and lighter in texture it will become, but it will get to a point that it won’t change any more and this is the stage that you will know you have creamed it ‘enough’. If you are unsure of what you are looking for it is a good idea to take a small sample of the mixture at intervals as you beat and it will soon become clear.
This image shows a creamed butter and sugar mixture at five stages (from bottom to top): the first one is just combined, with the following samples taken at intervals of beating every 1-2 minutes. The final two samples (at the top), with no difference between them, indicate that the mixture has been creamed enough.
So remember, when creaming, it isn’t a matter of time, just a matter of transformation.