I love oven chips and garlic bread as much as the next person, but the saddest part of my oven-less Cambridge kitchen is the lack of freshly baked desserts. Fortunately, over the year my kitchen-mates have tested many of my oven-free desserts and helped me narrow it down to the top three no-bake bakes: eton mess, chocolate fridge cake and hob-top sticky toffee pudding.

Eton mess

  • Rating: Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy 
  • Time: <30 minutes

This is simple, delicious and perfect for a May Week picnic. If you prefer something a little bit richer you can swap out all or some of the cream with mascarpone.

Ingredients for 6

  • 500g berries (any combination of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries)
  • 300ml double cream
  • 8 meringue nests (crumbled up)


  1. Wash and chop the berries.
  2. Whip the cream.
  3. Mix together the cream with most of the berries and meringue pieces.
  4. Decorate with the remaining berries and meringue.

Ultimate chocolate fridge cake

  • Rating: You can definitely do this 
  • Time: 30 minutes hands on, plus multiple hours in the fridge

This is most indulgent chocolate fridge cake recipe I’ve tried (and I’ve tried many) – it’s 100% worth the waiting time! Add marshmallows or raisins to the base if you like.


  • 400g dark chocolate
  • 175g margarine
  • 4 ½ tbsp golden syrup
  • 3 tbsp coco powder
  • 425g digestive biscuits


  1. Melt the margarine and golden syrup on a low heat.
  2. Crush the biscuits (if you don’t have a rolling pin, I’ve found a potato masher or jam jar works alright).
  3. Take the pan off the heat. Add the coco powder and crushed biscuits and stir.
  4. Line the tray with butter or margarine.
  5. Pour in the biscuit mixture and press it down with the back of a spoon. Make sure it’s really pressed in to the corners, as this makes slicing much easier.
  6. Leave in the fridge for an hour.
  7. Melt the chocolate and pour onto the biscuit mix.
  8. Leave in the fridge for a few hours. It’s easier to slice before the chocolate is fully set.

Top tip: Dip the spoon in boiling water or vegetable oil before scooping out the syrup to stop it sticking to the spoon.

Sticky toffee pudding with sticky toffee sauce

  • Rating: Impress the corridor
  • Time: 2 ½ hours

The pièce de résistance of my oven-less baking repertoire is this sticky toffee pudding. People won’t believe you can make it without an oven, but all it takes is a Pyrex bowl (you can get them from TK Maxx for about £4) and a couple of hours. Don’t be put off; it’s nowhere near as complicated as it seems.

Ingredients (pudding)

  • 120g butter or margarine
  • 120g self-raising flour
  • 120g light/dark muscovado/soft brown sugar (us students can’t afford to be fussy in Mainsburys, so just get the darkest one they’ve got because it will be the richest)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 120g chopped dates (you won’t really get the texture, and I’ve found some people who say they don’t like dates don’t mind them in this)

Ingredients (sauce)

  • 150ml double cream
  • 90g light/dark muscovado/soft brown sugar
  • 90g butter or margarine


  1. Butter the Pyrex bowl/basin.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar.
  3. Beat the eggs with a fork.
  4. Combine the eggs, flour and self-raising flour with the butter and sugar mixture.
  5. Stir in the chopped dates.
  6. Pour the mixture into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a double layer of tin foil, with a crease in the middle to allow it space to puff up with the hot air. If you have any string, tie it around the top of the bowl to keep the tin foil on, but this isn’t essential.
  7. Put the bowl into a saucepan and fill the pan up with water, taking care not to let it overflow into the pudding.
  8. Leave on the heat simmering for 2 hours, remembering to check it so that it doesn’t boil dry.
  9. To make the sauce, pour all the ingredients into a pan and mix over a low heat until melted.
  10. Once melted, turn up the heat and boil for two minutes to thicken up.
  11. Finally, turn the pudding out onto a plate and serve with the sauce, custard or ice cream.

And there you have it – three oven-less desserts to try this May Week, featuring the sticky toffee pudding that is probably the main reason I found friends during Freshers’ Week. What’s not to love?