3 of the best baking bloggers’ birthday cake recipes

If you have a summer birthday to plan for and are looking for a ‘wow’ cake to take centre stage, then look no further. As Housemakers have searched for 3 of the best birthday cake recipes from our favourite baking bloggers – and here they are.

Before beginning these recipes, be sure to have a good quality mixer like the Dualit stand mixer to beat all of the ingredients together. So, let’s get started!

Giant Ferrero Rocher cake

by Sugarhero

It doesn’t get any more indulgent than a cake recipe based on the ultimate luxury chocolates – and if they’re good enough for the ambassador, then they’re good enough for us! This recipe by Sugarhero is the chocolate and nutella lovers’ dream – it includes three layers of chocolate cake and three layers of hazelnut-speckled chocolate mousse, encased in a solid chocolate shell.

This cake is perfect for a special birthday celebration for your other half – or for them to bake for you! Who wouldn’t be impressed if someone made this for them?!

birthday cake recipes

 

Easy 6 Layer Rainbow Cake Step-by-Step

by Kerry Cooks

We absolutely love this fun and colourful rainbow cake – and thanks to this easy step-by-step recipe by Kerry Cooks, it’s simple enough for anyone to have a go at making! It’s the perfect birthday cake recipe for a kids’ party – or big kids out there for that matter. Everyone loves rainbow cake, and there’s nothing more exciting than when you cut into it for the first time and see all of those magical coloured layers of cake.

birthday cake recipes

Skittles Inside Surprise Cake

by The Pink Whisk

If you’re looking for acake with an element of surprise, then The Pink Whisk’s Inside Surprise Cake recipe is perfect. Whoever you’re baking the cake for (or it could be yourself!), then choose whatever their favourite sweets are – and fill the centre with them! Then simply decorate the outside to make it look like the outside of the sweet.

Or, if you struggle a bit with the decorating aspect, then why not just make the simple Victoria Sponge version, as seen on the recipe. It makes a beautiful summer centerpiece at any occasion.

You’ll need some sandwich tins for this recipe – Circulon and Anolon both make excellent cake tins in a range of sizes.

birthday cake recipes

Big thanks to all three cake bloggers for letting us feature their amazing cakes – let us know in the comments how you get on with recreating them!

 

 

Summer Diet Special: 3 Tips for Low Fat Cheesecake with Less Calories

If you’ve been working hard to get in shape for the summer then you deserve a reward and these three simple tips for making any low fat cheesecake with less calories means you can enjoy your favourite indulgent pudding, guilt-free.

cheesecake with less calories

1. Healthier cheesecake base:

No cheesecake is complete without a crunchy, crumbly base but it doesn’t have to be sugar-laden to be delicious. This alternative base recipe cuts down the calories:

  • 120g reduced-fat digestive or ginger biscuits
  • 75g walnuts, almonds or desiccated coconut
  • 4 tspn canola oil

Pop the biscuits and nuts into a mixer like the Magimix food processor and grind into a fine crumb. Drizzle in the oil and mix until the consistency is moist enough to bind together. Pour into your cheesecake tin, press, and place in the fridge to set while you make your cheesecake filling.

Cheesecake with less calories

2. Low fat cheesecake filling:

Traditional cheesecakes are usually filled with full-fat cream and full-fat cream cheese, but there’s a huge variety of low-fat alternatives on the market now that make it easy to enjoy a cheesecake with less calories.

But why not go a step further and try something a little different? You can cut out 25-50% of the cream cheese in any recipe and substitute it with pureed pumpkin. It gives you all the creamy texture and sweet flavour with a fraction of the calories.

Pureed pumpkin is available in tins but it’s simple to make a home. Simply peel and cube as much pumpkin as you need, boil until tender and puree in a blender to a smooth paste.

3. Portion size:

One of the easiest ways to enjoy a low fat cheesecake with less calories is to allow yourself a treat, but have just a slightly smaller portion!

Most recipes ask for a 9” spring-form or loose-based cake tin – at Housemakers, we used an Anolon to make ours for this recipe – and then you can halve or quarter your cheesecake, or use smaller tins to make them, such as tart or muffin tins to make perfect mini-cheesecakes.

Cheesecake with less calories

You can find more tips and recipes for eating well this summer in our blog, and all the baking equipment you need to make any dish in the Housemakers online store.

Top 5 summer juicing recipes

summer juicing recipes

Summer’s just around the corner, and there’s no better time than now to detox, shape up and get into a healthy eating routine. But making time to eat right while juggling the demands of family or work, or both, is easier said than done.

Juicing – extracting the juice from fruits and vegetables – is one way to easily add vitamins and nutrients to your diet. And using a model like the Dualit stand mixer, it’s easy to create tasty juices served over ice or in cocktail glasses that offer a great and stylish way to stay cool at the same time.

We’ve put together some of our favourite simple summer juicing recipes for you to try at home with your Housemakers juicer. Just don’t forget to wash, remove seeds and cube your fruit and veg first.

Good Morning Detox – Fruity Fantastic

We love this recipe, as it’s packed with nutrients to get you up and about, and the cucumber and celery are great for helping you lose weight and feel fresh. It may look like a lot, but remember – it’s only the juice.

  • 2 apples
  • 2 oranges
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 cucumber
  • A squirt of lemon juice
  • A small chunk of fresh ginger

appleorangejuice

Immune System Boost – The No-Pasta Pasta

This little zinger is short and sweet. Exactly right for elevenses when you need a boost. Packed with powerful antioxidant rich tomatoes, you won’t miss the penne.

  • 2 large Roma tomatoes
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • The juice of one lemon
  • A handful of fresh basil
  • Pepper to taste

tomatojuice

Afternoon Delight – Summer Cooler

Perfect for your after-lunch lift-me-up. We enjoyed this over ice with a splash of sparkling mineral water and a mint leaf for decoration. It’s an easy way to get your recommended weekly dose of vitamin K – essential for healthy bones. And if you want to make it more of a dessert, it’s easy. Just replace the mineral water with a couple of bananas for a mild and smooth treat.

  • A handful of grapes
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 lemon
  • Sparkling mineral water

applegrapejuice

The Life-Saving Aperitif – Beach Breeze

Is there anything a mango can’t do? This super-food has been credited with fighting cancer, lowering cholesterol, aiding weight loss and even clearing up oily skin. Some also claim it’s an aphrodisiac, too. We’ll let you decide! All we know is that one sip of this delicious pre-dinner cocktail whisked us off to tropical islands, which is why it’s one of our favourite summer juicing recipes!

  • 1 peach
  • 1 peeled mango
  • 1 orange
  • A large splash of coconut water

mangojuice

Beauty Hero – Captain Tasty to the Rescue

There’s no getting around it – watercress is packed full of vitamin C, calcium and potassium, the three crucial nutrients that every diet needs. Combine it with carrots – rich in beta carotene, which converts into vitamin A – and this dinner juice acts like a face mask working from the inside out. Perfect for when you need a healthy option but simply don’t have the time to cook and clean up after a complete meal. Add a dash of spicy cayenne pepper to give it a kick.

  • 12 spinach leaves
  • 6 celery stalks
  • A handful of watercress
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 tomatoes

carrotspinachjuice

5 of the best asparagus recipes

Asparagus season is short but wonderful. You may still be able to find some spears in the shops, and here are some of the best ways to use them in our 5 top asparagus recipes:

1. Griddled asparagus

It doesn’t get any simpler than this. Simply trim off the woody ends of the asparagus and boil the spears for three minutes in a pan of salted water. Drain and refresh in cold water then pat dry. Preheat a griddle to high then oil the asparagus and place on the griddle in a single layer. Give them a couple of minutes, turn and keep cooking for another couple of minutes, until tender.

We have a range of griddle pans available, including Cuisinart, UK based and makers of great griddles and grills. Serve with sliced bacon and fried egg for a healthy addition to breakfast, sprinkled with a few drops of balsamic vinegar on the side.

asparagus recipes

2. Asparagus soup

  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 350g trimmed asparagus spears, chopped – reserve the tips for later
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 700ml vegetable stock

Fry the asparagus tips in the butter and oil for a couple of minutes then set aside for later. Put the shallots, chopped asparagus stalks and garlic into the pan and cook until softened but still retaining colour, about 5-10 minutes.

Add the spinach and stock to a saucepan and stir well and bring to the boil. Carefully use a hand blender to whizz up the soup in the pan until smooth, adding a little hot water if it’s too thick. Serve garnished with the asparagus tips.

For our recipes, it’s beneficial if you own good quality pans, such as the Circulon saucepans.

asparagus recipes

3. Tagliatelle in asparagus cream sauce

Trim a bunch of asparagus, reserving the tips for later. Boil the spears in salted water for about five minutes, until tender. Add 142ml of double cream and two whole peeled garlic cloves to a saucepan and heat gently until boiling, then take the pan off the stove and remove the garlic cloves. Whizz the cream and asparagus together until smooth using a hand blender.

Meanwhile cook the tagliatelle according to instructions, adding the reserved asparagus tips to the water for the last two minutes of cooking. Drain and then mix the pasta with the cream and serve topped with parmesan cheese shavings. Add beetroot for a touch of sweetness to balance things out.

asparagus recipes

4. Salad with shaved asparagus

Trim the asparagus, reserving the tips. Boil the tips in salted water for two minutes then refresh in cold water, then boil the spears for 30 seconds in the same water, refreshing with cold water again. Make a dressing with lemon juice, olive oil, lemon thyme and salt and pepper.

Use a vegetable peeler on the asparagus spears to make ribbons, allowing them to drop into the bowl of dressing. Serve on a plate with some prosciutto and shaved parmesan.

asparagus recipes

5. Asparagus and salmon tart

Asparagus also works beautifully with smoked salmon in a tart by spreading half ricotta and half mascarpone cheese onto a puff pastry base and topping with lightly cooked bacon lardons, asparagus spears and some mint, parsley and chives, then baking for 20 minutes.

asparagus recipes

Quick and easy vegetarian recipes

Quick and easy vegetarian recipes

One of the benefits of vegetarian cooking is that it can be so quick and easy. Of course vegetarian eating is notoriously healthy too, and it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation – you can quite easily integrate vegetarian cooking into your lifestyle without making a permanent commitment.

Stir frying is a great place to start. Go for a good quality wok, such as a Circulon wok, and experiment with a variety of vegetables, using different sauces for interest.

You can have a healthy, delicious and satisfying meal on the table within 10 minutes – and you only need a fork to eat it! If you’re concerned about the amount of preparation that goes into these kinds of dishes, there’s a way around that too, as you can use your food processor or mixer to do the hard work for you – or peelers and slicers, which can slice, shred, peel and make prepping your ingredients less hassle within seconds.

Try these simple quick and easy vegetarian recipes:

Speedy mixed veg stir fry

Fry up one sliced red chilli and one sliced garlic clove in a wok. After one minute add 500g of mixed vegetables – you can choose from pak choi, broccoli, peppers, courgettes, mushrooms, carrots and baby corn – and fry for two or three minutes. Add one and a half tablespoons of soy sauce and two tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce and cook for another two to three minutes with noodles and beansprouts, until the vegetables are tender.

Quick and easy vegetarian recipes

Guilt-free veggie pasta

Heat up some oil in a pan for a minute and then bring some chopped up red pepper, courgette, fennel and onion to it and fry for a couple of minutes. Next, add tomato puree and garlic and stir for a few minutes more. If you take the heat add a few chillies too! Next, add a tin of chopped tomatoes and stock, then leave to simmer for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, cook your pasta up and then add the veg to this, and add a sprinkle of basil to serve.

Quick and easy vegetarian recipes

Quick and simple white fish curry

Season your fish and chop up, then heat up the oil in a deep pan and add some onion and garlic. Sprinkle a couple of teaspoonfuls of curry powder into the pan and some tomato puree, a tin of chopped tomatoes and stock, and cook for a couple of minutes until it simmers. Then add the fish and cook until tender, then serve up, stirring some creme fraiche into the sauce and adding a sprinkle of coriander, as well as serving with boiled rice.

Quick and easy vegetarian recipes

No-pasta aubergine lasagne

Chop your aubergines into slices lengthways, sprinkle with salt and leave for about half an hour. Now cook up some onions, tomatoes and garlic with oregano, and in a separate pan cook up some white sauce. Cover the base of your cooking dish with this, followed by a layer of aubergine slices and then on top of this add a layer of white sauce. Carry on like this until all you’ve got the last layer of white sauce and sprinkle a layer of grated cheese on top.

Quick and easy vegetarian recipes

6 ways to reinvent the tomato

There are literally thousands of tomato recipes available on the internet, but to celebrate British Tomato Week, here are the top 6 ways to reinvent the tomato.

6 ways to reinvent the tomato 6

Balsamic Tomatoes

Slow-baked balsamic tomatoes make a fantastic side dish and are really easy to make. Just get some good-quality plum tomatoes and score a cross in the tops with a sharp knife – Anolon knives with the soft grips are really comfortable to use. Then put the tomatoes neatly in a baking dish over a layer of garlic and basil leaves, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and bake in the oven at 170 C for about an hour – delicious.

6 ways to reinvent the tomato 1

Real Tomato Sauce

The second of the 6 ways to reinvent the tomato is by making proper tomato sauce. There are so many recipes available that there is no need to give one here, but remember you can make whatever changes you like – for example, by adding a little chilli and ginger for more of a kick – and it will always taste so much better than the shop-bought variety.

6 ways to reinvent the tomato 1

Goat’s Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Tart

Using sun-dried tomatoes with goat’s cheese makes a beautiful summery tart, and it is easy to make lovely light pastry by using an Artisan stand mixer. This is always a favourite among vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

6 ways to reinvent the tomato

Summer Vegetable Skewers

British Tomato Week from the 19th to the 25th of May is probably a good time for your first barbecue of the year, and cherry tomatoes threaded on skewers with chunks of courgette, pepper and halloumi cheese can make a tasty and colourful addition to a display of party food.

6 ways to reinvent the tomato

Healthy Vegetable Medley

A Magimix steamer is ideal for cooking summer vegetables without overdoing them, and it is easy to throw together some steamed courgette, squash, pepper and onion chunks with some ripe and juicy tomatoes for a quick lunch. Served with cheese and chunky artisan bread, it makes a refreshing and healthy lunch.

6 ways to reinvent the tomato

Homemade gluten free bread recipe

Our modern diets are high in wheat products which contain gluten. Unfortunately, some of us are more sensitive to gluten than others. For those who are gluten-intolerant, products containing wheat such as bread can cause bloating and stomach cramps. Fortunately, there are many gluten free products available today, including many different types of bread.

Homemade gluten free bread recipe

Shop-bought bread, gluten free or otherwise, is all very well, but nothing beats the smell and taste of home-baked bread. If you are following a gluten-free diet, try this delicious homemade gluten free bread recipe. It is based on a recipe by Jamie Oliver and has been adapted for bread-makers.

 

Homemade gluten free bread recipe

 

450g gluten-free brown bread flour

2 tablespoons golden caster sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ 7g sachets of fast-action dried yeast

2 large free-range eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

325ml semi-skimmed milk

 

Method:

Step One: In a small saucepan, warm the milk over a low heat. Leave it to cool slightly.

Step Two: Crack and whisk the eggs into a mixing bowl and stir in the vinegar.

Step Three: Gradually stir the milk into the eggs and vinegar and add the mixture to the pan of your bread-maker.

Step Four: Add the flour, olive oil, sugar and salt to the pan and sprinkle the yeast on top.

Step Five: Start your bread-maker on a normal bread programme. After a few moments, lift the lid and scrape the dough down from the edges of the pan with a plastic spatula.

Step Six: Continue on the normal bread-making programme.

Step Seven: Remove from the pan of your bread-maker when ready, leave to cool and then slice and serve. The loaf will keep fresh in a bread bin for a day or two.

This homemade gluten free bread recipe is suitable for a Cuisinart bread maker. No need for endless kneading, mixing bowls and washing up and a perfect loaf every time!

Royal baby shower ideas

Royal baby shower ideas

The latest addition to the Royal Family is due in May, and it’s a great excuse to host your own Royal themed Baby Shower to celebrate. You’ll be on trend if you do – even Vogue magazine has been debating the best Royal baby shower ideas and gifts to mark this most patriotic of occasions.

Baking the Perfect Cake

Naturally, cake will be at the top of the list, so spend time deciding which bake you’ll opt for. A classic Victoria sponge is an ideal choice and gives you plenty of scope for regal royal icing. Otherwise, why not go for a rich fruitcake with a marzipan layer and rolled icing?

 

We recommend this traditional rich fruit cake recipe.

Blue-pink fondant icing or pink fondant can be ideal for celebrating the baby’s gender – especially if you have the shower before the big day. You can also buy some wonderful toppers to make cake decorating easy. If big cakes aren’t your thing, then these mini Victoria sponge cakes are great for a display.

Royal baby shower ideas

Fun Games to Enjoy

Games are one of the most important considerations for your Royal baby shower ideas. Why not get the kids to dress up as princes and princesses for the occasion? The adults can wear tiaras and crowns and adopt regal monikers for the day!

 

Get into the Best of British spirit with classic party games such as ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ and musical statues. Guessing games are a great choice – ask all of your guests to submit their name predictions and follow up with a prize.

Royal baby shower ideas

Get creative with an art challenge, asking everyone to design the new Royal baby’s christening gown or to draw the best picture of the happy Royal family with their new addition? This is a great game for kids, especially while the adults enjoy a glass of Pimms or put on the kettle for a cuppa. Invest in a Deluxe Farmhouse kettle to manage the tea requests, and lay out some vintage or Union Jack-themed tableware to show your royalist credentials.

 

Food and Treats

A big pot of chilli is a party classic, even if it isn’t particularly British. It’s a great choice for a warm meal, as it can be cooked in the slow cooker and virtually left alone. Home-made sorbet or ice-cream in classic English flavours, such as gooseberry and ginger, or raspberry and vanilla, using a Magimix ice cream maker? Finger foods are also essential.

 

Party Invitations

For invitations, the best Royal baby shower ideas are often vintage in theme. Celebrate your English heritage with vintage-themed cards, floral prints, funky Union Jacks, bulldogs, Royal family group images and china tea-cups. Rope in some younger family members to help you get crafty or design a simple printable one online? There’s plenty of fun to be had in planning your baby shower party.

 

What are your Baby Name predictions for the new Royal?

Share them with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Kitchen decorating ideas for small spaces

Kitchen decorating ideas for small spaces 5

Small kitchens are all about making the most of the space you have, utilising every scrap of space in order to promote an efficient working area. We have some great kitchen decorating ideas to get you started.

Kitchen Decorating Ideas…

Go for a clean, fresh look with plenty of light to create the illusion of space. If you can’t afford to splash out on new cupboards, try painting the ones you have. Adding some quirky or classy door handles can jazz up a tired or jaded kitchen, giving it a fresh, modern feel.

Light colours work best in small areas, but rules are made to be broken. Try painting, tiling or papering one wall or area in a bright colour or pattern to create a focal point.

Surfaces need to be squeaky clean in a small area, as dirt and grime really stand out. Make sure that paint, papers and floor coverings are easy to wipe down and keep clean.
Kitchen decorating ideas for small spaces 5

Storage Matters

Weed out all the bits and bobs and gadgets that rarely get used. Store them away in the hardest-to-reach cupboards, ensuring that everyday items are kept close to hand.

Kitchen decorating ideas for small spaces 5
Make every inch of cupboard space really count. Use dead space in cupboards by sourcing under-shelf baskets, stand-alone shelves and tiers so that no areas go to waste.

Create extra space by stacking saucepans or – if you have sufficient wall space – hang a mesh grid and attach your pans using hooks. Make sure that pans are kept scrupulously clean if they are on show!

Kitchen decorating ideas for small spaces 5

Make Your Gadgets Work Extra-Hard

The tools and appliances that you use for cooking need to be multifunctional and space-saving. Look out for powerful motors, sleek lines and genuine usefulness in order to minimise on clutter. The Dualit Hand Mixer can beat, whisk and knead, making it the perfect choice for a small kitchen.

The Bosch Styline Food Mixer is a good choice for keen cooks, as its compact design combines numerous functions with a powerful motor to make light work of food preparation. It blends, kneads, juices, slices and whisks to great effect, achieving the coveted Which? Best Buy award.

Look out for coordinated ranges to streamline the look of your small kitchen. Check out the selection of kitchen storage solutions we have available to get you started. If you’re in need of some extra inspiration for your kitchen decorating ideas, try browsing through the products at http://www.housemakers.co.uk/kitchen/.

 

Homemade chocolate recipes for leftover Easter eggs

When the Easter bunny has left you with a huge pile of chocolate eggs, then you might wonder how to eat them all. There are lots of great homemade chocolate recipes for making good use of all that leftover chocolate.

 

Homemade chocolate recipes for leftover Easter eggs

It’s All About the Kids

One of the best ideas is to melt the chocolate down and mix with puffed rice or cornflakes. Once you have mixed the melted chocolate and the cereal together, pour into paper cases and leave in the fridge to set.

Homemade chocolate recipes for leftover Easter eggs

Alternatively, turn the chocolate into a different chocolate treat by melting it, then using lolly sticks to make your own chocolate lollies. These can be eaten or wrapped in cellophane and given as gifts.

Moulds such as the ones that you can buy for jelly & ice lolly making can also be used to pour melted chocolate into and make other chocolate shapes such as cars, trains and butterflies.

Grown-up Homemade Chocolate Recipes

Adults will love the idea of their own custom-made chocolate bars. Melt the chocolate, then pour it on to a baking sheet. Add nuts, dried fruit or whatever takes your fancy before putting it in the fridge to set. You can then cut it into chunks or bars.

Homemade chocolate recipes for leftover Easter eggs

Use melted chocolate on cake pops as a covering for your ‘cake on a stick’, before chilling to serve. Cake pops are a great homemade chocolate recipe, as the melted chocolate can also be used in the cake itself.

An alternative way of serving the chocolate for grown-ups is to use moulds in the shape of spoons. These baking accessories only require the chocolate to be melted and then poured into the moulds to set. You can then serve them with coffee or hot chocolate.

Homemade chocolate recipes for leftover Easter eggs

Something for Everyone

Chocolate cake is a firm favourite and even the kids can get involved by using their very own childrens bakeware. Leftover white or dark chocolate can be melted and used to make the icing for your cake.

Whether you are making small individual cakes or larger celebration cakes using one of the silicone cake moulds chocolate is a great ingredient.

Another of the most popular homemade chocolate recipes is chocolate brownies. Melted chocolate is a key ingredient, and you can add extra chunks of white or dark chocolate or nuts for added texture.

Homemade chocolate recipes for leftover Easter eggs

Whatever you decide to make or bake and whoever it is for, visit www.housemakers.co.uk for all your bakeware and containers to store it all in once you have made it.