Pancakes are wonderfully simple to make - all you need is 3 simple ingredients: eggs, flour and milk. Gathering the kids in the kitchen to make and flip freshly made pancakes is a fun family tradition for all ages.
Now, there's nothing wrong with the classic pancake recipe. But, as it's Pancake Day, why not try something a little different? The basic batter is so versatile, you can really get creative with what you're serving up.
Which of our 24 new ideas will you be trying?
All the colours of the rainbow! It's easy to recreate this impressive stack at home, all you need is a little food colouring (and a bit of patience, it takes 6 different batches of batter to make) but it's well worth the effort. Sandwich together with melted marshmallow, melted chocolate or Nutella to keep the tower in one place. It may be a little crazy, but we think this would look lovely with a sprinkling of Skittles - taste the rainbow!
Get the recipe: rainbow pancakes
Millionaire's shortbread pancakes
That's right, millionaire's shortbread .... on a pancake! This topping could not be easier - or more dangerous! Those ingredients are still in our fridge and we are fighting the urge to make these again and again. Crumble up some shortbread, dollop on some tinned caramel and drizzle with melted chocolate - you will not believe just how delicious it is!
Get the recipe: millionaire's shortbread pancakes
Strawberry and balsamic vinegar pancakes
Strawberries and vinegar? Trust us, they make a lovely combination. The sweet undertones of the balsamic bring a lovely sharp twist to the fruit. Such a simple but powerful flavour.
Why wouldn't you want pancakes that look like a burger? And here's the twist, this little delight is actually sweet! Take a closer look at the picture, the burger: double chocolate chip cookies; the lettuce: coloured coconut and the sauces: just a little bit of coloured icing! Isn't it amazing what you can do with just a few ingredients and a little imagination?
Get the recipe: burger pancakes
Chocolate chilli pancakes
This flavour combination is one that we've been a fan of for a while, especially in baking. So we thought - why not try it with a pancake? And you know what? It really works. Toss a little cocoa powder in the batter with a little chopped chilli or chilli powder and hey presto! Drizzle with chocolate and see who can handle the heat!
Chicken satay pancakes
We have to admit, our sweet tooth got a little overloaded during our pancake tasting (not that that's a bad thing!) but savoury pancakes are just as easy to experiment with. On our minds? Our favourite takeaways and what better topping than chicken with a creamy satay sauce? So easy, yet so delicious. Who says you can't have pancakes for dinner and dessert?
Hungry Caterpillar pancakes
Do your kids love the Hungry Caterpillar? They'll love making this friendly little fella! Cut circles from 2 big green pancakes and one circle and some triangles from a red pancake and assemble - it really is that simple!
Get the recipe: Hungry Caterpillar pancakes
Salted caramel pancakes
If you haven't tried salted caramel yet you really must. The salty and sweet combination is the perfect topping for a pancake and we took it to the extreme by adding ice cream and pretzels for the ultimate meeting of these two powerful flavours. We added fine sea salt to tinned caramel but you can try our homemade salted caramel recipe.
Get the recipe: salted caramel pancakes
Chocolate orange pancakes
It works in a Terry's Chocolate Orange, so why not in a pancake? There's just something so lovely about chocolate with a fruity twist, add orange essence or juice to your pancake mixture and if you're feeling extra naughty (we were) put some chocolate segments on top. It's only once a year, right?
A big round circle? Of course we were going to turn it into a pizza! Sweet tooth? Use jam, desiccated coconut for the cheese and a sprinkling of marshmallows and pineapples.
Get the recipe: sweet pizza pancakes
More of a savoury lover? ...
... go for the real thing! Tomato puree, cheese and pepperoni turned our pancake into a light-based pizza!
Funny face pancakes
Hello there! Why shouldn't your pancake have a little personality? The kids will absolutely love making these at home. The good news? Pretty much anything can be used to make a face on your pancake - just use your imagination!
Jaffa Cake pancakes
One of our favourites from the day, Jaffa Cake pancakes are so easy to make and they actually taste like the real thing! Thicker American-style pancakes (just add some baking powder and buttermilk to the batter) provide the perfect spongy base and the topping? A spoonful of orange marmalade and melted dark chocolate - very highly recommended!
Get the recipe: Jaffa Cake pancakes
Banana bacon pancakes
Now stay with us here. We didn't believe it until we tried it but bananas and bacon really do work well together! Cover thick slices of banana with crispy strips of bacon and a drizzle of something nice and sweet - we used golden syrup but maple syrup would work just as well.
Green eggs and ham pancakes
How cool are these? We got a little bit Dr. Seuss with our creations and made his famous green eggs and ham. A little fiddly, you need to colour and fry the egg white separately then top with the yolk and fry some more. Totally worth the effort for the look on the kids' little faces when you serve it up.
Well, pancakes are a dessert, so why not give them the dessert treatment? Now we're not suggesting you make a whole apple crumble from scratch, we found an easy cheat! Grab that jar of apple sauce from the cupboard and make up a simple crumble (flour, butter and sugar rubbed together) and lightly grill for a few mins until golden brown. For an extra treat, sprinkle some sugar over some apple slices and brown for a crunchy, caramelised finish. It tastes just like the real thing... just on a pancake!
Full English breakfast pancakes
Too much sweetness? Have you ever had pancakes with breakfast? American-style pancakes are sneaking their way into lots of brekkies so why not treat the family to an early Pancake Day feast? Top with a drizzle of maple syrup, the sweetness will really bring all the flavours together.
Red velvet pancakes
We love red velvet cakes, so why not red velvet pancakes? We took the basic elements of a red velvet sponge - cocoa powder and red food colouring - and transferred them to the batter. These lovely-looking pancakes would be perfect for Valentine's Day.
Get the recipe: Red velvet pancakes
Peanut butter pancakes
Yes, that's right. Not just peanut butter on the pancakes, but peanut butter IN the pancakes. Blend down a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter with a drizzle of oil and some sugar and add to the batter (you may need a little extra milk to make it the right consistency). We went a little nutty (see what we did there?) and topped ours with Nutella, peanut butter and peanut M&Ms.... our mouths are watering at the memory!
Get the recipe: Peanut butter pancakes
Dr Pepper pancakes
We'd heard of putting cola into the pancake batter and that got our brains whirring, which soft drink would work as a pancake? With its super sweet, almost candy-like flavours, Dr Pepper was the eventual winner (although cream soda and Fanta were serious contenders). Replacing the milk with an equal amount of the drink will produce dark and bubbly pancakes. You'll be able to detect a hint of the flavours on the plain pancake, but just wait until you team it with sugar or ice cream. The sweetness draws out the flavours of the Dr Pepper beautifully - you won't believe it until you try it!
Get the recipe: Dr Pepper pancakes
Sausage and apple sauce
We had sausages left and that jar of apple sauce so ... sausage and apple sauce pancakes! It may sound odd, but pork and apple sauce is a classic combo and the meaty pork sausages were the perfect match for this super sweet spread. The perfect no-fuss filling!
Peanut butter and jam pancakes
The Americans love this unusual combo (although they call the jam 'jelly') so we had to give it a go. The creamy peanut butter melted into the sticky strawberry jam and a new favourite pancake - and sandwich - filling was discovered!
After all that hard work, we wanted to let our childish side out a little and these fun pancake shapes were the perfect way to do just that. Cut out shapes from a piece of paper, place them on the pancake (again the thicker American-style pancakes work better here) and cut away. Then let your inner child, or your actual child, loose on them with colours, sprinkles and anything close to hand.
Where to next?- How to make pancakes - a step-by-step guide
- 20 delicious pancake fillings
- Your pancake flipping pictures
Download the ultimate guide to pancakes in time for Shrove Tuesday on March 4th 2014. In our four-page mini magazine, you’ll get our foolproof step-by-step pancake recipe, twists and filling ideas, tips on what to do if it’s all gone wrong and inventive ways to serve your pancakes! Download it here.