On Pancake Day (February 16), the founder of East London bakery Violet Cakes (and the woman behind the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding cake) Clare Ptak shares her foolproof recipe for perfect pancakes, the secret to making a show-stopping pancake “cake”, and some decadent topping ideas you won’t have thought of.
Serves 4 – 6 (or double the quantities to make the ultimate pancake cake)
280g plain flour
3 eggs at room temperature
30g unsalted melted butter, plus more for cooking
½ tsp salt
450ml whole milk, warmed slightly
1 tbsp golden syrup
In a large bowl, weigh out the flour. In a saucepan or a microwave, warm through the milk to take the chill off, but make sure not to boil. Pour the milk into a medium sized bowl and whisk in the remaining ingredients.
In a slow steady stream, pour the wet ingredients into the flour, whisking until you get a batter consistency. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve and allow to rest for half an hour before using.
Heat a small (around 20cm) heavy non-stick or cast iron frying pan and melt a knob of butter in the pan. When hot, pour a small amount (about three tablespoons) into your pan and swirl around to ensure the whole pan is coated with the batter in a thin layer. Don’t over butter your pan, as you want the batter to hold itself in place as you swirl it.
Cook for a few minutes until it starts to release from the side of the pan, and then use a spatula to lift the edges and flip it over (if you have a palette knife or a thin metal spatula this is ideal), and allow the other side to cook. Flip it out onto a plate to cool. Continue with the rest of the batter, stacking the pancakes as you go. Don’t worry – these will be easy to separate. From time to time you will have to add a little more butter to the pan so that the pancakes don’t stick, but try not to add too much. After each addition, wipe the pan out with a paper towel.
My favourite way to have pancakes is as a cake (no surprise there), stacked up with layers of whipped cream and jam in between each pancake. If you want to make a pancake cake, its best to double the quantities for the above recipe.
Whipped cream and jam pancake cake
600ml double cream, whipped
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
300g of your favourite jam
Cook all of your crepes and stack them up on a plate. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least an hour. While they are chilling, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
Once the pancakes have chilled, build your cake one pancake at a time. Place a pancake on your serving platter and cover with a paper thin spread of jam and then a thin layer of the whipped cream, going all the way to the edge of the pancake. Repeat until all of the pancakes are used and you have a tall, multi-layered pancake “cake”.
Sprinkle the top with a generous amount of icing sugar and chill until ready to serve. You could also decorate with flowers, fruit or more whipped cream.
Blood oranges and maple syrup
Batch of pancakes
½ – 1 whole orange per serving, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
Peel with a paring knife and slice the oranges into thin rounds.
Top the cooked pancakes with the orange rounds and drizzle with maple syrup.
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Originally published on Vogue.co.uk