The only thing I cooked over the weekend was hot dogs--so lemme talk about creaming butter and sugar today.
When you read most cake directions, you'll notice that the first instruction is, "Cream butter and sugar together." Why waste time doing this when you can just throw everything in the mixer? By blending the butter and sugar together, you're whipping air into the butter, and the sugar helps trap those fine bubbles in there. You'll also notice that the butter will change color as you whip, which is how you know you're doing it right.It may take about five to six minutes to cream properly.
Cakes that have taken this step have much more volume than ones that don't, all other things considered. My mom makes a seven layer cake, but she never bothers to cream the butter and sugar first--as a result, her layers are about a quarter of an inch high. I tried to do the same, but I followed the steps. I used the same recipe, but my layers were four times as big as hers (and I had to stop at three or risk the structural integrity of my cake!) So next time you see this step in a recipe, take the 5-6 minutes and do it. You'll be glad you did.