Every year my husband gets really excited around Valentine’s Day. Super adorable, right? Well, not exactly. He gets excited because Valentine’s Day reminds him that Pancake Day is just around the corner. Next thing you know, he’s stocked up the house on an array of pancake topping in anticipation for the big day… That’s why every year we have pancakes on Valentine’s because we’re too impatient to wait.
We’re not huge fans of celebrating holidays like Valentine’s Day, so simply eating good food and spending the day together is usually enough for us. What’s better than pancakes covered in maple, cuddled up on the sofa with a blanket? I must confess – this year we did squeeze in a little afternoon tea and spa day at St Michael’s Resort in Falmouth. But hey, it was our first Valentine’s Day as Mr & Mrs – we had to do something a little special! In all honesty, our pancake morning tradition was pretty great though.
Making fluffy American pancakes
Every day Sam makes me a cuppa tea and I very rarely make him a drink. Anyone that knows my husband will know that he’s absolutely OBSESSED with coffee. His handmade coffee machine from Italy costs the equivalent to two weeks in the Maldives (yes, that’s the sound of my heart breaking!). It doesn’t stop there, he has a special coffee bean grinder and all the barista accessories.
I have no idea how to use most of it, and as Sam’s gradually upgraded his equipment, he’s given up teaching me. He measures every single grain of coffee after grinding it and does fancy latte-art with the milk. I used to grind beans and make coffee with his old machines but now I’m completely out of my depth. Instead, he deals with the drinks and I’m forever grateful – getting to enjoy plenty of drinks in bed! I’m so terrible at using it that I even have a normal kettle despite having an instant boiling water tap on the coffee machine 🙈
My inability to make a good coffee does get me off the hook for making drinks, however, I then have some serious making up to do when it comes to being in the kitchen. Luckily, that’s OK because I’m a feeder. I love cooking and baking – especially for other people. We try to learn new recipes at least once a month, or every couple of weeks, and I’m always trying to improve our existing recipes.
We usually make thin pancakes, but this year I wanted to try fluffy American pancakes. I was worried they’d come out cakey but I’m glad to report they didn’t resemble cake in any way! They came out exactly as expected and each time I poured another I got used to what thickness was right. The first couple were slightly buttery but then as I used less after learning from my first couple, they got better.
Want to know how to make your own?
Finding a recipe for American fluffy pancakes took a little bit of digging. Why? Because all the recipes were American, meaning the measurements were in cups. We have cup measurements here, however, I don’t like baking this way (especially something I’ve not made before!). The cup system isn’t as accurate and I’d rather weigh out my ingredients, as opposed to roughly calculating them.
To save you the hassle of traipsing through recipes, reading reviews and converting cups into grams, I’ve included the recipe that we used below. It made enough for two and we were full afterwards, however, if you’re in the mood for a feast, I’d recommend doubling-up the ingredients as it goes quickly!
- 135g/4¾oz plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 130ml/4½fl oz milk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp melted butter (allowed to cool slightly) or olive oil, plus extra for cooking
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl. For extra-fluffy pancakes substitute self-raising flour for plain flour and still use the baking powder!
In a separate bowl or jug, lightly whisk together the milk and egg, then whisk in the melted butter. If your butter is cold then you can heat it up in the microwave or over the hob.
Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and, using a fork, beat until you have a smooth batter – any lumps will soon disappear with a little mixing. Let the batter stand for a few minutes before you begin making pancakes.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a knob of butter. I choose to use a cast-iron skillet like this one from VonShef, as opposed to a non-stick pan. Firstly, non-stick is bad for the environment. Secondly, skillets heat up and distribute heat more evenly. Thirdly, they’re super hard-wearing and far more versatile (i.e. you can pop them in the oven).
When it’s melted, add a ladle of batter (or two if your frying pan is big enough to cook two pancakes at the same time). I found it better to use a small pan so all the pancakes were the same size.
It will seem very thick but this is how it should be. Wait until the top of the pancake begins to bubble, then turn it over and cook until both sides are golden brown and the pancake has risen to about 1cm/½in thick.
Repeat until all the batter is used up. You can keep the pancakes warm in a low oven, but they taste best fresh out the pan. We found that they kept the warmth as we piled them on top of each other anyway, so putting them in the oven wasn’t really needed.
Serve with lashings of real maple syrup, berries and bacon (for those non-veggies!).