March 8, 2013


Pancakes have been historically considered as quick breakfast fried cakes. Typically cooked in a round, flat, thin cake shape, this light and airy treat has delighted people for centuries. The region were pancakes are made as well as social factors have created delicious variations of this bread.


In order to make a pancake only a few basic ingredients are needed. The use of baking powder is the most common amongst most recipes, and most variations also include milk, eggs and sugar. For the lactose intolerant, water can be used and even sparkling water has become a popular ingredient for those looking for a more airy and fluffy cake. The use of seed flours, mixed with protein and liquids is known to be a method used by ancient societies, who with the help of hot cooking stones created the base for pancakes, waffles and other quick breads.

Invention Controversy

Although many prehistoric cultures already cooked basic breads similar to pancakes, it is believed that ancient Greeks of the sixth century invented a batter more or less similar to what most of us make nowadays. The famous Greek poet Cratinus made the first written mention of a warm pancake and this treat is still very important.

Many cultures have created different variations of pancakes. In European countries like France and Germany, pancakes can even be made from potatoes, be shaped into really thin disks and be topped over with anything from cheese, meats, eggs and fish to Nutella, and jam. In America the use of honey and maple syrup is more common, but some people would still add savory toppings such as regular bacon, ham and Canadian bacon.

Modern Pancakes Techniques

Many people try to master their recipes at home but still find it frustrating and hard to make a good pancake after a few tries. The most common tricks include replacing some milk with a carbonated beverage such as carbonated water, cider and even beer. Other people focus on the chemistry behind the pancake making and let the batter rest overnight for the gluten to relax and create more bubbles in the mix. Also, over mixing is considered bad because the gluten can be over activated and thus resulting in a hard and flat pancake.

Popular toppings

Depending on the creativity and taste of the person making the pancakes, virtually any type of fresh fruit, sugary syrup and milk product can be used to top a pancake. In popular recipes taken from the web, the following ingredients are noted as common:








Chocolate Powder and Syrup

Cream Cheese



Maple Syrup

Melted Sugar

Oranges (Including orange zest)

Peanut Butter


Powdered Sugar


Ricotta Cheese


Whip Cream

Written by Luis Calero and Amelia Spatz

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