Admit it, we all need our sugary boost sometimes (though this might be heavily frowned upon by my friend who wrote on healthy eating last week…) Maybe it’s just me, but occasionally, after a nine-to-five day full of labs and lectures, you just want to have something warm, sweet, and – most importantly – quick and easy to make. I once added so much sugar to my tea that my housemate asked me, in a very serious tone, if I was making tea or diabetes. Oh well… Without further ado, here are some simple recipes that work, even after a long harsh day.


The point of university life is that you can have pancakes anytime you want – that’s basically all the time.

You will need…

  • 5 tbsp. of self-raising flour
  • 3 tbsp. of milk
  • 2 tbsp. of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Some butter
  • A pinch of salt
  1. Mix all ingredients well.
  2. Place some butter in a heated pan.
  3. Pour a spoonful of batter onto the pan.
  4. Flip the pancake when the surface starts to bubble.
  5. Serve when both sides seem cooked (solid, not watery). If you’re worried about uncooked pancakes, try not to put too much batter in the pan.
  6. Add a slab of butter or drizzle some honey on top and dig in!

Serves 1, because you can never have too many pancakes.

Add blueberries or chocolate chips to your liking, during or after cooking. If you want chocolate flavoured pancakes just add 1-2 tbsp. of chocolate powder. Since I’m not going to show it off to Gordon Ramsay, I’m not usually too fussy over whether the pancakes are perfect circles, and you shouldn’t be either. A weirdly-shaped, sweet, flour-based blob is as good as any pancake.


Microwaves are truly students’ saviors – all those Tesco ready meals it churns out hot and steaming, not forgetting the heavenly sound of popcorn as it’s prepared for your stomach. Now add one more item to the list of wonderful things the microwave can do – cakes!

By chocolate powder I mean the regular hot chocolate powder you might find in your cupboard, nothing baking grade – remember: we are striving for simplicity. You can just use any kind of wheat flour: self-raising flour will give a fluffier cake, but normal flour will do too, if you’re not too picky. Remember that if you want to get a normal cake, and not a squished one, you’ll need to add some baking powder – normally, you add 1 tbsp. of baking powder for every 1 cup of flour, but I’d say you should go with ¼ or even ⅛ tbsp. in this case. Milk is any milk – whole, semi-skimmed, quarter-skimmed, anything will do. I’m not too sure about plant-based milk like almond milk though. Guess you’ll have to experiment yourself to find out!

You will need…

  • 4 tbsp. of self-raising flour
  • 4 tbsp. of chocolate powder
  • 4 tbsp. of milk
  • 4 tbsp. of sugar
  • 4 tbsp. of oil
  • 1 egg
  1. Mix well in one bowl and microwave for 5 mins.
  2. Add a helping of ice-cream and dig in while it’s still hot!

As for serving size of this recipe… well, I think most cakes, regardless of size, only serve one.

If you’re backing away now because you see tablespoons and you don’t have that thing in your one-fork-and-one-spoon household, fear not! Just use the simple quantitative skills that got you into Imperial, aka ratios! Using the same measuring tool (cups or spoons), measure out a 1:1:1:1:1 ratio of flour, milk, sugar, oil, and chocolate powder.

This recipe is versatile: you can change the flavour of the cake merely by substituting the chocolate powder. For example, replace with matcha powder for a green tea flavoured cake. You can also adjust the consistency of the cake by changing the dry:wet ingredient ratio. How exactly you do that I don’t know, but putting that sentence in makes me sound like I know what I’m doing.


What is the best thing in the world? Besides sugar, I mean (and maybe pizza, and ice-cream, and chocolate and…oh, you’ve gotten my point!). Yes, you’ve guessed right – cinnamon! While you might be thinking “but cinnamon rolls are not quick!”, let me tell you how wrong you are. If you prepare them in the evening, you can bake them in the morning while you are taking a shower – it doesn’t take that long, there’s not a lot of work involved, and what better breakfast is there than hot cinnamon rolls?! Being a student is not always bad, right?

You will need…

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cups milk
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • Peel from 1 orange
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon - as much cinnamon as you can, actually
  • ½ stick of butter at room temperature
  • Sugar
  1. In a big bowl, mix all the dry ingredients first until they are homogenous. In a separate bowl slowly heat the milk, butter, and orange peel until the butter is melted – you can use a microwave for it, but remember to use a microwaveable bowl if this is the case.
  2. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients. Add the eggs – I normally beat them before actually adding them so the batter ends up nice and smooth. Mix well until everything is incorporated.
  3. Now, depending on the type of milk and butter you are using, your mixture might not be ready for the next step. If it’s too dry, add a bit of milk; if not, add a bit of flour – it has to be solid enough not to stick on your fingers, but not too dry to start crumbling.
  4. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Roll the dough until you are happy with how thick it is. If you make it thick, you are going to have a fluffier cinnamon roll. If you make it thinner, you are going to have more cinnamon. It depends on what you want for your end result.
  6. Spread the butter on the surface of the dough. Try to make it as even as possible. Sprinkle the sugar and then cover in cinnamon. If you can see the dough through the cinnamon, you definitely need to add more! Now roll!
  7. If you want to want them now, just cut the roll in slices that are 2-3 cm thick and bake them for 20-25 mins at 175ºC (remember to add some baking paper on the tray so you have less things to clean afterwards). Or, you can save them for the next morning - just make sure to use some foil and keep them in the fridge over night. Preferably, slice the roll in the morning.