Weekend Project: DIY Pancake Art
Start your morning creating pancake art with your kids! All you need is a squeeze bottle and a hot skillet.
There’s no question why Portland, Oregon’s DIY pancake restaurant Slappy Cakes became an international phenomenon that has sprouted offshoots in Japan, Maui, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. Part art project, part breakfast, tabletop pancake griddles are a brilliant idea—but you don’t need to travel to Portland (or Asia) and wait in line to get in on the action. With a few kitchen staples, a stovetop, and yummy toppings, you can recreate the magic of pancake art at home any day.
Here’s how to create your own pancake art:
1. Pick your batter. This blender pancake recipe makes batter a breeze, but feel free to use any pancake recipe you fancy (gluten-free, vegan, box mix, or grandma’s, they’ll all make great works of art). If your go-to recipe is on the thick side, thin it out with water or milk so it doesn’t clog the tip of the squeeze bottle.
2. Load up on squeeze bottles. We grabbed this pack of six so we could blend a bit of cocoa powder and natural food coloring into portions of the batter to make for easier pancake art designing. A funnel will definitely help get more batter into the bottle than onto the countertop.
3. Round up your toppings and mix-ins. Chocolate chips, toasted pecans, sliced bananas, coconut flakes, peanut butter, bacon bits … the sky’s the limit. (Psst: Chocolate chips are handy to use as eyes if your pancake art creation has a face.)
4. Have a plan before you squeeze. Browse the web for pancake-art inspiration—and advise kids to start with something simple, like a smiley face or swirl, to get a feel for how leaving the batter on the griddle a bit longer turns the first squirts a darker shade of brown.
5. Have a thin, flexible spatula on hand for flipping. Trust us, you’re going to want this. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than your perfect Minion pancake art getting mushed by a cumbersome flip.
6. Get squeezing! Keep your nonstick pan over low heat to start, then experiment with your kids to dial in a heat level that’s low enough to allow plenty of time for “drawing” your pancake art with batter, but not so low that it takes forever for pancakes to be ready for flipping. Speaking of which, enlist your kids to help you time that perfect flipping point by watching for bubbles rising to the surface of the pancake.
7. Experiment with mix-ins. From rainbow sprinkle stained glass to frozen nutella disks, get creative with different ingredients in the griddling stage. Even if things melt into an unidentifiable glop, we bet they’ll still be delicious.
Once you’ve mastered a short stack of characters and shapes, bring the creations to the table and enjoy with toppings (and maybe a few scrambled eggs to balance all the starch). These are kitchen memories and stove-mastering skills that will last a lifetime.
Looking for other ways to turn the kitchen into a place to bond, talk and connect with your kids? Check out some of our favorite kid-friendly recipes.