Mum discovers nine-year-old son's genius hairdryer hack for when the microwave breaks… and he uses it for toast too

A MUM-of-four has discovered her son’s genius hairdryer hack for when the microwave or toaster is broken.

Nine-year-old Eric Shields was really excited to help make his little brother’s birthday cake with mum Julia, 42.

For his seventh birthday, Bear had requested a simple Victoria Sponge cake, so the two got all the ingredients out – self raising flour, castor sugar, eggs and butter.

But although the busy mum-of-four boys had taken the butter out of the fridge an hour earlier, it was still rock-hard.

So Julia assumed that step one – which involved creaming the butter and sugar together – would have to wait as the family's microwave was broken.

She said: “I don’t bake very often. I give my kids the choice of having a shop-bought birthday cake and secretly cross my fingers that’s what they’ll pick or offer to make them whatever cake they want.


How to do the hairdryer hack at home:

  • Has your toaster or microwave suddenly packed in? Fear not – because nine-year-old Eric Shields has come up a simple solution
  • The savvy youngster revealed how you can heat up food with nothing but a hairdryer
  • If you want to heat up butter, the mum-and-son placed it in a bowl and covered it with a tea towel before turning the hairdryer up to full heat for two minutes
  • He's also used his hairdryer hack to make cheese on toast too – but this takes a little longer
  • If you're thinking of doing this at home, make sure to supervise the the kids to avoid burning anything

“When it came to creaming the sugar with the butter for the Victoria Sponge the cubes of butter were just too hard, and with a broken microwave and not wanting to melt the butter too much so it turned liquid, I told Eric we’d just have to leave it in a sunny spot and make the cake a bit later.”

Without pausing to think Eric ran upstairs and came back down clutching the hairdryer, and said: “Why don’t we use this?”

He put a clean tea-towel over the bowl so the sugar wouldn’t be blown out, turned it up to full heat and two minutes later the butter was softened. 

Julia, married to creative director Doug, 52, admits she was impressed with his quick problem-solving capabilities.


She said: “I told him it was pure genius. There’s that old saying that mother’s know best, but actually there are moments when they all amaze me with the practical solutions to everyday problems, things that I’d never think of doing myself!"

However, Julia always supervises Eric when he's heating things up with the hairdryer and warns that you shouldn't do it for too long.

She continued: “Eric, like most kids, is naturally inquisitive and before we started making the cake we had to ask Google why it was called a Victoria Sponge, as he’d asked if it was something to do with Queen Victoria.”

His guess was spot on. Queen Victoria apparently ate a slice of sponge cake every afternoon with a cup of tea.

And his hairdryer hack could also go down in history too.


Some weeks later the Bristol family’s toaster broke, and although it took a little patience, Eric was able to make perfectly browned toast with the hairdryer and melt cheese to go on top of it.

Julia said: “Using the hairdryer to dry a spot of damp on clothing is probably something most people do, but it actually has a whole range of uses in the kitchen too. We even melted some chocolate using it.

“It might look like a slightly odd kitchen appliance, but as a quick-fire solution when the electrical goods are broken, the Eric method works really well.” 

Other uses for a hairdryer in the kitchen include gently blasting cake-frosting to give it a glossy, professional finish.

For more parenting stories, this mum-of-four sparks fierce debate with her kids’ MASSIVE lunch boxes with some claiming there’s way too much food.

And parents are swearing by the ‘rule of four’ to stop their kids being spoilt over Christmas.

Plus a savvy mum shares ‘genius’ hack to get her fussy toddler eating home-cooked meals & all you need is a McDonald’s box

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