I can’t tell you how much fun I have looking through my vintage recipe box. I’m not actually sure how “vintage” it is, but I bought it in an antique store and it has recipes for things like “tuna loaf” and “5-minute tomato aspic” so I’m dating it solidly in the 1950-1960’s. Most of it reminds me of things my Grandma used to make when I was a child - meat loaf, apple cake, biscuits, casseroles … a lot of recipes that seem defined by convenience, but also by a very simple and practical determination to get a good meal on the table with domestic efficiency. (I wonder if this explains the wild success of Julia Childs. She came onto the scene and offered a very accessible elegance and sophistication in the kitchen.)
All of the vintage recipes are pretty basic and straightforward, using staple pantry ingredients and producing what I think we would all consider “comfort food”. No fancy spices, no exotic flavors. (Lots of Oleo and margarine, haha!) But I think there’s something really appealing about them, no doubt for the same reason I like Joy of Cooking so much. They’re nostalgic, they’re unfussy, they’re good and they’re definitely good enough. They remind me a lot of my Grandma, actually - practical, straightforward, always leaving our bellies (and hearts) very full.
Onto the recipe. A tiny little newspaper clipping that caught my eye. The very name was a temptation. Just how fluffy were these Fluffy Cakes?? Also, the ingredients call for a whopping 2 Tbsp of baking powder for a mere 12 small pancakes which seems like a lot but the recipe assures that it is not only correct, but tested and approved. Well, we tested. The name delivers. We approve! Or at least the kids did, because I only got 8 out of the recipe and that’s only just enough for my three hearty eaters. These are some super light and tasty pancakes. The amount of baking powder makes the batter almost foamy by the time you get it onto the griddle. They remind me of the pancakes you get at a pancake house - they’re so light that they just soak up alllllllll the syrup. It does have a faint metallic taste if you eat it plain but you can’t detect it under any toppings. The batter came together so quickly and easily, they were ready in 10 minutes, and they made perfect amount for my kids’ breakfast. I imagine I would turn to these on a weekday morning for a quick treat. I won’t say they’re better than my own go-to Cook’s Illustrated Buttermilk pancakes or our Dad’s pancakes because they’re just not. But they’re light, easy, yummy and kid-friendly and that checks a lot of boxes!
makes 8 medium or 12 very small pancakes
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp (7 oz) milk
2 tbsp melted butter
1 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Heat a griddle or non stick skillet over over medium/medium low. (This depends on your cooking range.)
In a large bowl, mix together the egg, milk, and melted butter. Sift the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder over and whisk together until smooth. Let sit for a minute.
Scoop the batter in 1/4 cups on the griddle. Cook on the first side until edges look set and bubbles surface. Carefully flip over and finish cooking.
Serve with any of the following: butter, syrup, cinnamon sugar, jam, whipped cream, fresh berries.