5 videos that will inspire you to make amazing pancakes

9 Feb 2016

This impressive BB-8 pancake comes from ‘Star Wars Pancakes’ by Dancakes on YouTube

Pancakes are mighty delicious, but can your batter do better?

Pancake Tuesday – AKA, one of the greatest days in the calendar year – is upon us.

With your belly ready for an annual batter-based feast, you may not need to cook up anything more than a traditional batch to whet your appetite.

But if you’re craving something a little more creative from your crêpes this year, you don’t necessarily need fancy gadgetry – though skillful hands are most definitely a requirement.

High-tech hijinx

You may or may not be aware that pancake-making 3D printers is a growing new product category.

For example, more than 2,000 backers pledged almost $500,000 to help bring the PancakeBot project to life on Kickstarter.

Devised by Miguel Valenzuela – a civil engineer by day and an artist by night – PancakeBot began as a machine built from Lego for his daughters. Unveiling a more refined creation at the World Maker Faire in New York, Valenzuela decided to further develop the PancakeBot following a surge of interest from the public. He later partnered with product innovation company StoreBound, which is now taking pre-orders for $300 PancakeBots scheduled for delivery in the coming months.

PancakeBot is much like any other 3D printer, only, instead of extruding plastic, it works in batter, pouring the desired design out onto a hotplate which cooks the pancake as the process continues.

It can ‘print’ any design you can draw and upload, such as an astronaut, a T-rex, the Eiffel Tower, or Einstein.

Mastering the art

PancakeBot is far from the world’s only pancake printer – in fact, I witnessed a team at Science Hack Day Dublin build their very own from scratch in just 36 hours last year. (They even won an award from UCD College of Engineering, and left the place smelling delicious.)

There’s even an Instructables guide to building your own pancake printer controlled by a Raspberry Pi 2.

You will notice, however, that the technique doesn’t have to be performed by a clever bot and, if you are artistically inclined, you may be able to master this yourself.

You’ll need a squeeze bottle with a nozzle big enough to let your pancake batter flow through (and a well-made pancake batter should do just that). Then you need to be quick on the draw, doodling the outline for your piece of pancake art on the hot pan or griddle first, then filling in the rest with batter. This way, the outline and details cook first and for longest, making them darker than the rest of your crêpe canvas.

Taking it to the dark side

To add darker details, you can create different tones in batter by adding a touch of cocoa powder.

Pancake level: Wizard

With a dollop of food colouring, you can achieve ever more fantastic results.

With coloured batter, it’s not about creating shades through cooking, as the dye takes care of most of it, but it does require next-level artistic skill to get it right.

Just check out the Star Wars characters below and tell me you don’t think you could impress your friends with a BB-8 pancake.

Of course, you could always go the easy route, and pick up some pancake moulds. But then you’ll be impressing no one.

Gigglebit is Siliconrepublic.com’s daily dose of the funny and fantastic in science and tech, to help start your day on a lighter note.

Main image via Dancakes/YouTube

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.