Crafts & DIY

Pancakes: 10 Hot Takes on Hot Cakes

by Cleora Reber May 12, 2021

The History of the Hot Cake

According to recent research, pancakes are believed to have been eaten by humans for the last 30,000 years. While our ancestors most likely ate something more similar to a hard cake than a hotcake, the concept is the same. Flat round cakes have been cooked in pans for thousands of years. Even "Otzi the Iceman," who was found mummified in the Italian Alps, had what appeared to be the remnants of a pancake in his stomach.

A Global Phenomenon

Regardless of the age of the pancake, it is clearly a global favorite. Every culture on the planet has its own rendition of the pancake. The Chinese have the savory scallion pancake, the Japanese do an egg and cabbage pancake. Greeks and Romans sweeten their pancakes with honey. The French make thin pancakes called crepes sweetened with lemon and sugar. The Algerians have a Mahjouba, which closely resembles a crepe. Eastern Europeans favor potato pancakes made with applesauce, also known as Latkes. The Dutch have a fluffy baked pancake known as the dutch baby. Thomas Jefferson was a big fan of the pancake and Shakespeare wrote about them in his plays. Pancakes have stood the test of time and are loved today by people all over the world.

A Shakespeare Pancake

Flap Jacks

In America, pancakes gained popularity in the colonies with names like hoecakes, flapjacks, and johnny cakes. They were heartier than the pancakes we know and eat today and were typically made with cornmeal. Pancakes in America have evolved into light, fluffy breakfast menu staples and are usually enjoyed with syrup or butter. 

Keeping Things Fresh

Pancakes are a versatile food. As made evident by civilizations all over the world, there is no right way to eat a pancake. Check out these crafty pancake recipes for a modern take on a prehistoric food. 

1. The Protein Pancake

The protein pancake is one ingredient away from the classic pancake and makes up for some of the nutrients it lacks. It is an easy meal for people on the go and can be made with lots of different flavors. By mixing a scoop of protein powder into your usual pancake batter, and cooking, you are left with a protein pancake. The flavors are dependent on the protein powder you buy. This allows for chocolate pancakes, vanilla pancakes, girl scout cookie flavored pancakes- the possibilities are endless. Make a dozen at a time, freeze them, then pop them in the toaster on rushed mornings. 

2. Banana Pancake Dippers

Very similar to the concept of french toast sticks; we have banana pancake dippers. These can be made in dollar pancake sizes or long skinny dipper sizes. To make dollar pancakes, you slice bananas into rounds. For the longer dippers, you can cut your bananas into halves. You then dip the banana slices into pancake batter and fry them with butter or oil in a pan, rotating until golden brown on each side. This creates pancake-coated banana dippers that are soft and warm on the inside and crispy on the outside. Serve these pancakes with peanut butter, syrup, honey, your favorite jelly, or chocolate sauce. They are also convenient finger foods that travel well. They can even be packed in a lunch box as a healthy snack.

Banana Pancake Dippers, with Chocolate Sauce

3. The Meat Lovers Pancake

If you are looking for ways to sneak some extra protein into breakfast time, try the meat lovers pancake. By adding some chicken apple sausage or any sausage of your choice into the pancakes, you have a protein-packed meal that can be held in your hand. To make: add the cooked sausage bits to the pancake after it has spent a minute or two in the pan. You can also add the cooked bits to the batter, but you run the risk of having all the sausage sink to the bottom of the batter. The meat lover's pancake pairs well with syrup, but it can also be served with an egg and some butter.

4. The Spinach Pancake

The spinach pancake sounds like it might be a savory rendition of a pancake. However, it tastes like a traditional sweet fluffy pancake and can still be dipped in syrup or paired with other sweet sauces. But this is not your grandma's pancake recipe. You can hide a half cup of spinach into one 4 inch pancake. A half-cup of spinach provides tons of iron, potassium, and vitamin K. The trick to concealing the spinach is to blend it in with your pancake mix. The final mixture should be smooth and green, with no chunks of anything that resemble a spinach leaf. Add a few minutes of cooking time to account for the extra water in the fresh spinach leaves. Otherwise, cook your pancake up as you would normally. The result is a light, fluffy green goblin pancake. Serve with syrup, yogurt and jam, peanut butter, or honey.

The Spinach Pancake

5. The Savory Spinach, Shredded Potato, and Shredded Carrot Pancake

A modern take on a hash brown, this nutrient-rich pancake tastes like comfort food but serves up a ton of vegetables. This recipe is best made with homemade pancake mix so that you can omit the sugar, but premade works just fine too if you add a pinch of salt. Prepare the batter by using a 3:1 ratio of vegetables to pancake mix, add an extra egg and cook until golden brown on each side. Serve with ketchup, bbq sauce, butter, or any condiment of your choice, and you have yourself a healthy portable meal.

6. The Dutch Baby Pancake

The Dutch Baby starts off as your classic pancake, with pancake batter and a pan. But it quickly parts ways from its traditional ancestor. Rather than frying like a pancake on normal heat, the Dutch Baby is made by pouring pancake batter into a piping hot pan with oil, then putting that pan in the oven until the edges have risen and have started to golden. The result is a cross between a sweet pancake and an eggy popover. The Dutch Baby is commonly served with powdered sugar and berries or jam. This method of pancake making is a fun new take on a classic breakfast.

The Dutch Baby

7. The Antioxidant Pancake

The berry pancake is vibrantly colored and bursting with antioxidants. Just blend your favorite berries into your favorite pancake batter. Frozen berries work great for this mix. Blend up frozen berries (like blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries) with your pancake mixture and let the mixture thaw in your fridge until it is a pudding-like consistency. If you want to use fresh berries, just mash them with a fork and then hand mix them into your batter. Strawberries and cherries are mouth-watering options for the hand mix method. While these seem like they may be odd additions to the pancake, they work surprisingly well. Adding a bit of sweetener, like sugar or honey, into the mixture helps cut the bitterness that sometimes develops from the fresh fruit in these pancakes. Serve your berry pancakes with peanut butter, syrup, vanilla yogurt, or just butter.

8. The Sweet Potato Pancake

The sweet potato pancake is one part hash brown, one part pancake, for those days you can't decide. Use orange sweet potatoes or yams, and feel good about adding an extra dose of beta carotene to your diet. If you have a potato shredder, you can shred your potatoes and mix them into your pancake batter. If there is no shredder, no problem, use frozen hashbrown mix instead. To make, just pour a dollop of pancake batter onto your heated oiled pan, let it cook for a minute or until edges have started to brown. Then put your shredded potatoes on top of the pancake mixture and flip it over, so it is pancake side up and potato side to the pan. Dust these sweet potato pancakes with cinnamon. 

9. The Scallion Pancake

The scallion pancake is hugely popular in china. A variation from the rest of our list, these pancakes require dough rather than pancake mix. You can either make your own dough at home, or you can streamline the process and buy pastry dough. Once you have your dough roll it out into rounds that resemble pancakes. From there, you will need to cut up a large bunch of green onions, including both the white and green parts of the onion. Sprinkle the green onion onto your dough rounds. Then roll the onions into the dough rounds as you would roll a cinnamon roll. Roll your scallion pancakes out with a rolling pin to once again resemble a pancake round. This process should leave you with onion evenly distributed throughout your dough. You then fry the dough in a pan, just as you would cook a pancake. Scallion Pancakes are best served with soy sauce or a mixture of sesame oil and soy sauce but are also great on their own.

The Scallion Pancake


10. The Crepe

No pancake piece is complete without a crepe feature. Crepes are a national favorite in France, and for a good reason. Made with all the ingredients you already have at home, crepes can be an easy addition to your weekly meal list. The only difference between crepes and pancakes is a leavening agent like baking powder. Baking powder is responsible for the light fluffiness of pancakes and the thin crispiness of crepes. The flavors, however, are very similar. Crepes are enjoyed by purists with just lemon juice and some sprinkled sugar. But they are an extremely functional food and can be served in a multitude of ways. Filling crepes with spinach, cheese, potatoes, eggs, and meat has gained popularity in the US. Crepes are also no strangers to dessert menus all over the world and are filled with Nutella and fruit, like bananas and strawberries.


Now it is time to grab your batter, grab your pan and get cooking!