When a recipe calls for softened butter, having a solid lump sat in your fridge can be just a tad annoying – often meaning you end up with a heavier cake, if that’s what you’re cooking.
Microwaving doesn’t work too well – you always seem to end up with a slick of melted butter on the plate and a lump that’s still set like a rock in the middle. And quite how annoying is it when you come to spread butter on toast and it tears the bread to pieces?
Try this simple technique: pour boiling water into a mug or tea cup. Let it get really warm and then empty it. Invert it and place it over your butter, leaving it for a couple of minutes to soften down. Perfect, soft, spreadable butter.