pancake, thin, flat cake, made of batter and baked on a griddle or fried in a pan. Pancakes, probably the oldest form of bread, are known in different forms throughout the world. The relative ease of baking on hot stoves or on a griddle has resulted in a variety of pancakes. Old English batter was mixed with ale. German and French pancakes, leavened by eggs and much beating, are baked very thin and served with jam or jelly. The French crêpe suzette is folded or rolled and heated in a sauce of butter, sugar, citrus juice, and liqueur. Russian blintzes, usually prepared with buckwheat, are thin, crisp pancakes, and commonly served with caviar and sour cream or folded over and filled with cream cheese or jam. Mexico has its tortilla, which is often served folded over a bean or meat filling and topped by tomato sauce. In the United States pancakes are sometimes called battercakes, griddlecakes, or flapjacks and are usually leavened with baking powder or baking soda and are served with syrup. A pioneer favorite, still surviving in some localities, is the buckwheat cake.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.