The Tao of the Panned Cake

I’ve been on a lifelong quest to make the perfect pancake.  I crave fluffy, light, toasty edges with blueberries or chocolate chips, dripping with real maple syrup.  I tried mixes, different recipes and even the kind you add water and shake.  Still, mine were hockey pucks landing in your gut with a thud.  My tribe would consume them, game faces on, then lay on the couch to let the boulders pass.

Recently I’ve become reacquainted with the Me that liked to cook and make things from scratch.  Seeking to discover the holy grail of panned cakes, I looked for the perfect recipe.  I enlisted the tribe to taste and critique, rather than suffer and hide.  Finally, with a few tweaks I landed on the PERFECT pancake recipe.  (Recipe at the end of this post if you are ready for pancake greatness.)

I have a teenager (!), an athlete and a husband who has rediscovered his love of the gym, therefore, when I make these I do a triple batch.  It means I’m flipping for almost an hour and there may (or may not) be some leftover to toast another day.  I have plenty of time to engage in a little griddle side meditation.  So I offer you: The Tao of the Panned Cake.

  1.  When the heat is too high, the cook is too quick leaving burns and goopy centers.
  2.  Too much mixing and fussing makes tough dough.  Leave it be and it will be.
  3.  Sometimes you have to hide the add-ins (chocolate chips or berries) so they flavor the whole pancake.  If not, they burn and become bitter.
  4.  Many kinds of leavening make a lighter cake.

I can understand the heat being too high.  I have burnt out more than once in church, school, family and jobs.  It left me with some crunchy edges that were a bit sharp.  My center has been goopy with compromise or unwillingness to take a stand and stay.

I haven’t blogged because I’ve been fussing with it too much.  I’ve been comparing my stuff with all those in blogosphere who have platforms, brands and other fancy ingredients.  I need to just be and it will be.

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Part of what makes our lives a little sweeter are the small lessons, gifts and experiences we tuck away.  My boys may not know the sleepless nights when I prayed over them, but I will.  Many have passed from our lives, yet the memories linger like Dad’s cologne on my cheek when he would kiss me goodbye.  I just had a quick call with a cousin who is a sister who, for years, I was a little intimidated by.  Now I celebrate her life and tribe as much as my own.

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I come from a long line of cynics, skeptics and professional melancholies.  We joked my mother could ruin a parade.  Depression is a badge we wear to show, “We have to take care of ourselves because no one else will!” (said in the huffiest, clutch your pearls voice imaginable).  I need to laugh, and play, and joke and make messes.  I need to lighten the load which is heavy enough without me adding any more weight.  I have kids who are wicked funny and a husband who is as clever as he is cute.  I have puppies who are great conversationalists (no, really, I speak Doxie).

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So, friend, do you have anything to add to my Tao of the Panned Cake?  Or will you try the recipe and laugh if it doesn’t turn out?  Will you let it be what it will be?  Please share your add-ins.

The recipe is below. 

Holy Grail Pancakes

 

  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder 
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 3 cups milk, plus more if needed for thinning 
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or other add in)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the griddle (My tribe doesn’t like them to be cooked in butter on the griddle~crazy, I know~they like the spray so either will work)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all wet ingredients with a whisk until bubbly.
  2. Melt butter and allow to cool slightly.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients.  Use whisk to aerate dry ingredients.
  4. Heat griddle to medium high.  Grease with butter or non-stick spray.
  5. Slowly pour in wet to the dry and mix only until just combined.  (Don’t worry it will be lumpy but that’s part of the magic.)
  6. Gently drizzle in butter and stir until butter is incorporated.
  7. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes until you see some bubbles on top.
  8. Pour batter on griddle.
  9. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp (or so) mini-chips onto each.  Dunk and swirl them with a knofe so they are covered in batter.
  10. Flip when edges are dry and bubbles are on top.
  11. Keep warm until serving with REAL maple syrup.  (My tribe each has their own way to eat these-by hand, dipped in syrup, cut with butter and syrup…you decide.)
  12. Makes around 26-30 pancakes depending on size.

 

 

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