Sunday, 12 October 2014

American Style Pancakes

Hello! I'm so sorry that it's been almost a month since I last posted! The last few weeks have been pretty hectic with moving back to university for my third (and final..!) year, driving lessons and about 5 friends' birthdays in a row!

Speaking of birthdays, I recently celebrated my 21st birthday, and to kick off the celebrations we made American style pancakes for breakfast. I wanted something quick and easy as I didn't want to be spending too long in the kitchen on my birthday, and this recipe is definitely both quick and easy. You just whizz up all of your ingredients in a blender, cook the pancakes and you're done! Minimal effort and minimal washing up!

Ingredients (makes around 12-15 small pancakes)
225g plain flour
30g melted butter (and extra for frying)
300ml milk 
2 large free range eggs
2tsp sugar
1tbsp baking powder
a pinch of salt


  1. Place all of your ingredients into a blender and blitz it until smooth. Pour your pancake batter into a jug - this makes it easier to pour.
  2. Heat a frying pan on the stove, add a small amount of butter and coat the pan. 
  3. Pour a small amount of the batter into the frying pan into a neat circle. It is totally up to you how big or small you make your pancakes - I think the small American pancakes are really sweet, but you can make yours bigger if you prefer. 
  4. Once your circle of batter has cooked around the edges, it's time to flip! Flip it over and cook the other side until it is lovely and golden. 
  5. Now it's ready for whatever toppings or fillings you want! Some ideas are:
         - nutella and banana
         - berries and vanilla cream
         - lemon and sugar
         - bacon and maple syrup (my favourite!)
  6. If you want a proper American stack of pancakes, once each pancake has been cooked, pop it on a plate and cover with kitchen foil until you're ready to eat them!  

 I hope you like this breakfast idea - they really are so simple, and this is coming from someone who really used to struggle with pancakes!

I know I've had a long break from The Little Yellow Book, but I'm definitely going to be posting more regularly now that I'm back in the swing of things at uni - and baking will be a much needed break from writing my dissertation!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Banana and Coffee Smoothie

This banana and coffee smoothie is such a great way to start the day - you get both your caffeine and your fruit fix in one go! This smoothie tastes like it has come straight from a coffee shop, but it is so easy to make and you more than likely have all the ingredients at home, so it comes at a fraction of the price and effort. Give it a go! 

Ingredients (makes two small glasses, or one large glass)
1 banana, sliced
1 cup of milk
½ cup of cold black coffee
½ cup of ice
2tsp sugar

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth, pour into a glass or bottle, add a straw and you're good to go! It really is that quick and simple :) enjoy!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Toffee Crisp Cake Bars

I think that Toffee Crisps are so underrated. It's a bold statement to make, but I seriously think that they are the best chocolate bar going, yet I have been to some shops that don't stock them :( No one else agrees with me, which is great because it means theres more for me! To declare my love for the underrated Toffee Crisp I decided to create a cake bar in their honour: a chocolate traybake (courtesy of Mary Berry) with caramel buttercream, caramel drizzle and pieces of Toffee Crisps. I think this traybake makes a perfect cake for a birthday party and you could mix it up depending on your favourite chocolate bar!  


For the chocolate traybake
50g cocoa powder
6tbsp boiling water
100g soft butter
275g caster sugar
3 large free-range eggs 
125ml milk
175g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder

For the caramel buttercream
a jar of caramel
   - 220g sugar
   - 105ml water
   - 245ml double cream
   - 1tsp vanilla extract
150g soft butter
350g sifted icing sugar
a splash of milk

2 x toffee crisp chocolate bars


I would advise making your caramel first so that it has had time to cool down and thicken in the fridge. This means you can add it to your buttercream without it melting the butter. To make your caramel just follow these simple steps:
  • Add the vanilla extract to the double cream and leave to one side.
  • Pour the sugar and water into a medium sized saucepan and give it a quick stir. Place onto a medium heat and keep an eye on it - don't stir it once it has been placed on the heat - you can shuffle the saucepan around, but resist any temptation to stir!
  • Once the sugar and water mixture has turned a deep amber colour, remove it from the heat and slowly pour in your vanilla cream, making sure you are stirring at the same time. It can bubble and steam so be careful not to splash yourself as the caramel will be very hot. 
  • If there are any lumps in your caramel, don't worry - just place it on a low heat and stir until there are no lumps left.
  • If you like you can add a teaspoon of salt to your caramel to make it salted caramel - just give it a good stir to ensure the salt has dissolved. 
  • Pour into a jar and leave to one side to cool down. 

Chocolate traybake
  1. Preheat your oven to 160ÂșC and grease and line a traybake tin with butter and baking paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl sift in the cocoa powder, add the boiling water and mix together. Next add in the softened butter and mix until smooth. 
  3. Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix until everything has been incorporated.
  4. Pour your cake batter into the traybake tin and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes. 
  5. Remove from the oven, leave to cool and then make your buttercream.
Caramel buttercream
  1. Beat your butter in a mixer until it has gone smooth and pale. 
  2. Add in the icing sugar in two halves, making sure it has mixed in smoothly with the butter. 
  3. Once you have added all of the icing sugar, add a splash of milk to loosen the mixture. 
  4. Next add about 4 or 5 spoonfuls of your caramel - or just as many as you like depending on how you want your buttercream to taste. 
  5. Spread your buttercream over the chocolate sponge and smooth it out. 
  6. Chop up a couple of Toffee Crisp chocolate bars and scatter the pieces over the top of the buttercream. 
  7. Finish off the traybake with a generous drizzle of your caramel. 
  8. Leave to set slightly and cut into bars or squares.

I hope you like this recipe, it is so yummy and really good fun - I think it would be perfect for a chocolate lovers birthday! I would suggest storing the cakes in an airtight container so that the chocolate bars don't go stale.