There are three ways to soften up butter in a hurry. The quickest is to microwave the butter on low power for 10 seconds. Press the butter gently with a rubber spatula—if it dents in slightly, you’re good to go.
If you have 10 minutes to spare, cut the cold butter into ½-inch-thick slices. With more surface area, the butter will soften in no time at all.
If you bake frequently, consider keeping your butter in sticks in the freezer. When you’re ready, remove butter from the freezer, grate it on a cheese grater, and it will be the perfect consistency for creaming in about 30 seconds