The Ultimate American Pancakes


Shrove Tuesday has come around again – and before we hit the recipe here is a small reminder as to what Shrove Tuesday actually is about.

The name Shrove comes from the old word “shrive” which means to confess. On Shrove Tuesday, in the Middle Ages, people used to confess their sins so that they were forgiven before the season of Lent began. Lent, for many, is a time of abstinence, of giving things up, and being the last day before the period of Lent, Shrove Tuesday is a day of celebration (indulging!) as well as penitence.

Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day, and throughout the United Kingdom the day used to be (and still is) associated with pancakes because they were a way to use up rich foodstuffs such as eggs, milk, and sugar that traditionally aren’t allowed during Lent. (read more on Wikipedia)

I have spent many Sunday mornings perfecting my American pancake recipe. As a family we have devoured thin, thick, soggy, crunchy, hard, chewy…all types….and finally we have reached the pinnacle of success! This recipe is divine. I am almost tempted to keep it to myself – it is that good – but as sharing is caring here goes! Recipe for the ultimate american pancakes – including reasons why some of the ingredients are used! Enjoy.

Please have a look at other great Pancake Day recipes too….

Spinach layered pancakes

Original crepes

Chocolate pancake layered cake

Why use….?

  • Why a combination of cornflour and regular flour? It makes for a more delicate cake because cornflour does not have the two amino acids that wheat flour contains (glutenin and gliadin which combine to make gluten) – not really necessary for cakes. By using cornflour you therefore decrease the gluten content of a cake making it lighter.
  • Why vinegar and baking soda? I tried this in some cupcakes and the result was amazing. They turned out to be the softest cup cakes I have ever had. I therefore decided to try to add it to the pancakes..and yes…it works. Vinegar (acetic acid) + baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)= CO2 (carbon dioxide gas). This gas leavens the cake/causes it to rise. Think of your classroom volcano experiment: mix soda and vinegar and you get a big old foamy mess. Add that foamy mess to cake batter and you get a lighter, fluffier cake.
  • Why yogurt? When used in cakes it provides moistness..simple as that. If you have never tried, do! It retains that lovely moist feel and taste for days.

Ultimate American Pancakes

Drizzle of vegetable oil (equivalent of 2 tbsp)

115g plain flour

115g corn flour

pinch of salt

2 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp white wine vinegar (trust me!)

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

100ml natural full fat yogurt

300ml milk

  • I always put my oven on 50C to keep the pancakes warm – that way we all eat together as a family which is much nicer than throwing them over my shoulder to a pack of wolves who devour them and leave the room!
  • Sieve the flour and cornflour into a bowl and add the salt, sugar and baking powder to it
  • Put the egg, milk and yogurt into a different bowl and whisk to combine
  • Place the bicarbonate of soda on a tablespoon and add the vinegar to it – it will bubble up (great for volcano experiments with the children…that’s for another blog!)
  • Add this wet mixture to the egg, yogurt and milk bowl – stir to combine
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix VERY briefly until just combined – it will seem like there are lumps of flour in the mixture – do not worry about those. Do not over mix…. 
  • Drizzle the oil into the mixture (doing this reduces the need for oil/grease on the pan)
  • Put a frying pan over medium heat and brush it with a tiny bit of vegetable oil
  • Using a large spoon or small glass, place small dollops of batter onto the pan and cook until they begin to bubble on the top. Flip them over and cook the other side until golden
  • Put into the oven to keep warm while you cook the rest of the pancakes
  • Serve warm with lots of freshly chopped fruit, syrup, icing sugar, nutella, lemon, jam….so much choice!

Rye #4 – Stress Free Carrot and Rye Breakfast Rolls

The reason these are called stress free buns is that you make the dough the day before and leave it to cool overnight – then grab it when you want it, shape your rolls and place them in a cold oven, turn it on and cook for 35 minutes – the result being amazing! While they are cooking you can go for a short run, take a shower or bath, play with the children, read the paper…what ever you fancy! And when your timer goes off, breakfast is served – stress free! Combine with a big mug of coffee, some orange juice, slice of cheese with a dollop of strawberry compote…heaven!!!!

As with all my rye recipes they are jam-packed with goodness! The seeds and carrot only add to it – and the children absolutely adore them.

I like to make the dough on a Friday afternoon – sometimes a double portion – then Saturday and Sunday breakfast becomes a treat and a really lovely time where we can sit together as a family and enjoy. There is nothing like a freshly baked roll in the morning.

This recipe is a mix of my Dad’s and my Mum’s – thank you both!

300ml (ish) luke warm water
15g fresh yeast or 1.5 tsp dry yeast
Drizzle of honey
250g rye flour
150g plain flour
1.5 carrots – grated
Handful sunflower seeds or more
1 tbsp olive oil
  • Pour luke warm water into a big bowl and dissolve the yeast – fresh or dry – in it with a wooden spoon
  • Drizzle honey in and stir
  • Add the flour – both types – stir to combine. What you want is a dough that is sticky but not runny. It should make your hands messy…but not too wet. You definitely do not want it too dry. So add the flour slowly and stir as you go.

  • Throw in the grated carrot and seeds, season with salt and add a bit of olive oil – about 1 tbsp
  • Put a lid or tea towel over the bowl and leave in a cool place. If you have a larder, great, if not the fridge is good. Walk away!
  • The day after, the dough will have risen and be spongy, it may also smell slightly sour and yeasty. That is fine! It will not have risen a lot as the rye flour is heavy.

  • Shape small dough balls with your hands and place the rolls on a lined baking tray – as mentioned earlier the dough will be sticky. Rolling each bun in a little flour will make it easier and neater – for a more rustic appearance, see note further down!

  • Pop in a cold oven, turn it to 225C and bake for 30-35 minutes
  • Let cool for about 10 minutes before eating

If you are lazy, or do not want to get your hands sticky, you can simply drop the batter onto the baking tray with a wooden spoon – this will give you a more rustic looking bun and it does not affect the flavour at all!

Sweet Pumpkin Loaf

Moist and absolutely gorgeous! This recipe can be used to make a loaf as above, a round cake (just use different shaped tin) or muffins (use cup cake cases) Really lovely as an afternoon treat – or an anytime treat!! Without the icing it is also a potential breakfast bite or midmorning snack. Just save and use the pumpkin flesh you dug out when you were carving pumpkins – no waste!

400g pumpkin (I carved and used the meat of 1 medium-sized pumpkin)
300g flour
300g sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp ground cardamom (if you can find!)
100ml vegetable oil
100ml water
2 eggs
Handful of pecans (can be left out)
  • Pre heat oven to 190C
  • Carve out your pumpkin and finely chop all meat (save seeds and pumpkin – see other  recipes!)
  • Combine the dry ingredients(except the sugar) together in a bowl
  • Beat sugar and oil in a separate bowl – it will seem dry which is fine
  • Add eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly mixed
  • Add the chopped pumpkin and mix well
  • Add the dry ingredients a little at a time, alternating with the water
  • Pour into greased tin or loaf or spoon into cup cake cases

If making loaf as depicted above – bake for 55-60 minutes

If making a round cake (it will not be as tall) – bake for 40-45 minutes

If making cup cakes – bake for 15-20 minutes

As with any baking, a skewer inserted into the middle should come out dry and clean to ensure recipe is ready!

Let cool completely on a wire rack and then decorate! I have used icing sugar combined with a bit of red and yellow food colouring and water above!