If I had it my way, I would start every morning with something savory. Something warming and salty and usually oozing with egg yolk. If my husband had it his way, we would eat pancakes every morning. And they would absolutely be filled with chocolate chips and oozing with butter and syrup.
His love of pancakes and my love for him have made them a staple in our house. They are one of the handful of things I can whip up without looking at any kind of recipe or measurements. I have become “that” baker with pancakes. The one that just throws together a batch at a moments notice without thinking. And I am here to teach you how you can too!
To make good old fashioned pancakes you really only need 5 ingredients…
Flour: Obviously this is the structure to your cakes. Choose whatever flour you like or have on hand. All-purpose, Bread flour, Cake Flour, Self-Rising, or Wheat Flour. A gluten free all-purpose mix works too! Different flours will give you slightly different textures with your cakes. The recipe is going to call for 1 cup flour however, if you are going to use cake flour increase the amount to 1 1/4 cups. If you are going to use wheat flour, decrease the amount to 1 cup minus 2 TBSP. If you use self-rising flour omit the baking powder in the recipe because self-rising flour already has baking powder and salt mixed in. Check out this post for more detail about substituting flours.
Baking Powder: This is what creates all those awesome bubbles when your cakes are cooking. You don’t want to forget this (like I did) because it is what gives you light and fluffy cakes! (Baking soda is not a direct substitute for baking powder. Read this post to learn more about how you can substitute the two.)
Egg: An egg is what binds the batter and also adds moisture. You can easily substitute the egg with flax egg, chia egg, or applesauce for vegan options.
Milk: Buttermilk is preferred but really any milk will do. The milk in this recipe is mostly for moisture and buttermilk will add a bit of a tang and a richer flavor. If you do not have buttermilk, you can make “sour milk” but adding a TBSP of vinegar to a cup of milk and letting it sit for about 5 minutes. You can do this with non-dairy milk too. If you only have milk and no vinegar, you are still fine. I have made pancakes with plain milk many times.
Liquid Fat: This can be oil, melted butter, melted shortening, melted non-dairy butter. Whatever you have. Just some kind of fat in liquid form.
That’s it! Okay, I know what you’re thinking. What about sugar? Right? That is your call. In my opinion, if I am going to be slathering these things with syrup or fruit I don’t need any sugar. BUT, by all means go ahead and add some if your heart desires. In a pancake recipe, sugar only serves to sweeten the batter so you can really add any sugar or sugar substitute you have on hand. A pinch of salt, a dash of vanilla or cinnamon, some chocolate chips or blueberries would all also be great additions. Again, these things only flavor the batter and are not necessary to make the recipe work. That is what this series is all about. Understanding the science of these baked goods so that baking is more approachable. I hope it is working…
Other posts from the Bake to ‘Bake’sics series: