Ma's Pancake Men for Pancake Day

Monday 24 February 2020

It hard to believe that tomorrow, the 25th of February, it is Pancake Day. This was a day that we used to really look forward to when I was a child because it was the only day my mom would make us pancakes, so it was a once a year treat for us! 

I am sure my mom's arms got tired standing at the stove cooking them for us!  We ate our fill!  She had an old Wearever Aluminum griddle pan that she used.  

It looked just like this and after many, many years of use, it was bowed in the middle and no longer sat flat on the burners.  My mom never ever had any other set of pots and pans and these were all she used until the day she passed away.  

I am not sure what my sister did with them.  I suspect she gave or threw them away.  They had no real value except for nostalgia's sake.

As a food blogger it can be somewhat of a challenge to show you something different each year  when it comes to days like pancake day.  This year I am sharing my Sweet Milk Pancakes,  their shape being inspired by Ma Ingalls from the Little House books. 

This comes from the Little House in the Big Woods.

"For breakfast there were pancakes, and Ma made a pancake man for each one of the children.  Ma called each one in turn to bring her plate, and each could stand by the stove and watch, while with the spoonful of batter Ma put on arms and the legs and head."

"It was exciting to watch her turn the whole little man over, quickly and carefully on a hot griddle. When it was done, she put it smoking hot on the plate."

I cannot for the life of me think of any kind of pancake that might taste better to a child than a  pancake man!   Some of mine turned out not too bad . . .

Some turned out a little bit on the wonky side, which only added to their mystery and deliciousness . . .  I think this was the most unusual of all of my efforts!

I took little squares of sweet butter and carved them into hearts to put onto the men.  I thought it would be quite cute!  I think it was . . .

No matter how wonky or unusual the men were, the butter heart told a story.  It was the story of "I love you."

Look at them sitting there, just waiting to be gobbled up!  Oh how I wish I had some grandchildren close by to feed these delights to!

Delicious, light and fluffy, served up piping hot with plenty of  pure Maple Syrup to drizzle over top.

The big child in this house gobbled them right up, while Mitzie watched in anticipation.  She always hopes for a tiny taste at the end.

Yes she is rather spoiled and truth be told, she doesn't care what shape her treats are that we share with her.  

She's just happy to have them, and I will tell you now, that I allow for a certain amount of treats in her allotted food for the day so that she isn't overfed.

This is a really lovely pancake recipe, wether you bake them as men, or as rounds.  Light and fluffy  . . .  not too sweet.  There is plenty of sweet with the syrup.

If you are not making Pancake Men, you can bake these in rounds, and even drop on bits of fruit while they are baking on the griddle. 

 Chopped peaches, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, even chocolate chips and bananas . . .  all are very good.

When my own children were growing up we usually had pancakes on Saturdays, and of course any time they had a friend to stay over night . . .  and yes also on Pancake Day.

Like my mother, my arms would get tired standing at the stove cooking their fill.  With five hungry children you can imagine that took quite a while.  Like my mother, it was always a true labor of love.

Sweet Milk Pancakes

Sweet Milk Pancakes

Yield: Makes 8 to 10 pancake men, or 20 - 24 round pancakes
Light and fluffy.  Serve hot with butter, maple syrup and fresh fruit if desired.


  • 75g butter, plus extra for buttering the griddle pan (1/3 cup)
  • 300ml milk (1 1/4 cup)
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 180g plain flour (1 1/3 cups)
  • 1 TBS caster sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • maple syrup, butter and fresh fruit to serve


How to cook Sweet Milk Pancakes

  1. Put the butter and milk into a small saucepan.  Heat gently to melt the butter. Set aside to cool.
  2. Lightly beat the eggs and then whisk in the milk and butter mixture, combining well. 
  3. Measure the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a bowl.  Add the wet ingredients all at once.  Stir together to combine just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.  The mixture doesn't need to be completely smooth, and in fact is better if you don't overmix it.
  4. Heat a large griddle pan and butter it lightly by rubbing the surface carefully with a piece of kitchen paper towelling that has been dipped in softened butter.
  5. To make pancake men (and I suggest you do these one at a time) ladle a circle of batter into the centre with a smaller circle on top for the head and four appendages at the sides for the arms and legs. Cook until bubbles break on the surface, then carefully flip over and cook on the underside for a further minute, or until golden brown.  Scoop off and keep warm in a low oven while you cook the rest.
  6. To make regular pancakes, ladle spoonfuls of the mixture onto the pan for each pancake, up to 5 or so at a time.  Cook as above.
  7. Serve warm with plenty of syrup for pouring, butter for spreading and, if desired, fresh fruit.

Did you make this recipe?
Tag @marierayner5530 on instagram and hashtag it #EnglishKitchen
Created using The Recipes Generator

If you are interested in exploring all of the varieties of pancake recipe that  I have posted on here through the years, I did a post back in 2016 listing all of them.  You can find that post here.  There is something there to suit every taste!  Happy Pancake Day! 


  1. what a fantastic treat-could even give them blueberries as eyes?

    1. You could if you wanted to Jay, so long as they weren't too big! xoxo

  2. My children are now 49 and 46, I used to make these for them when they were little using currants for eyes.

    1. Currants would be perfect as eyes Eleanor! Our children are of a similar age. My oldest will be 45 the end of May and my youngest turned 32 in December. The rest are 42, 40 and 38. xoxo

  3. Pancakes are right up there along with donuts as my special treats (weaknesses)! And I like them HOT right off the griddle. Love your little men. ~Elaine

    1. Thanks Elaine! They're a real treat for sure! Oh how I miss having children around to make things like this for! xoxo

  4. Great idea for creative old folks, too! We are going to try this recipe Tuesday night for Shrove Tuesday supper.

    1. I hope you all enjoy it Jo! Thanks so much! xoxo

  5. Oh heavens...this takes me back. I never knew there was a "pancake day," but every other day almost was "pancake day" growing up....and as chief (i.e., only) breakfast cook growing up on a farm (all others were required for barn duties), I think I could still make them in my sleep....all completely from scratch. When I got bored (a child cook often gets bored LOL), I would make shapes...including pancake people and animals. I found that if you dropped some of the batter first for features like eyes, mouths, etc., they would darken more than the rest of the batter and give you all the details you desired. I have a taste for pancakes!

    1. I think that children who grow up on a farm have a wonderful upbringing! Your childhood sounds great and I think I would rather be in the kitchen than on barn duties myself! Your suggestions for making the eyes, etc, sound great! Thanks so much! Happy Pancake Day! xoxo

  6. We don't do pancake day over here. But I think it's a fine idea!

    1. Its a Christian celebration Jeanie, begun to help those who were celebrating Lent to get rid of the flour and eggs before Lent began! One of my favourite holidays is Pancake Day, even though we don't do Lent! xoxo

  7. Thank you Marie, for delivering to us this scrumptious and delicious pancake recipe with a sweet old story about your childhood with mom on Pancake Day. Giving us details such as the man shaped pancakes, the utensils she used, the heart shaped butter in the centre of the pancake served with maple syrup was too yummy to read that I tried them immediately the very same day. My whole family loved them and of yes it was my turn to get my arms tired at the cooking stove.

    1. You are so welcome Andrea! I am so pleased that they were enjoyed by your family! That really makes me happy! Thanks for taking the time to come back and let us know about your experience! xoxo

  8. Hey Marie, thank you for sharing the pancake recipe along with the yummy pictures. We don't do pancake day over here. But I think it's a fine idea! To have some creative ideas always.

    1. Thanks Mayura! Idea sharing is what I am all about! xoxo

  9. My favorite breakfast dish. Only I love them with chocolate cream or plain sugar. And I also make small ones in a small frying pan to make it easier to eat. Brilliant recipe, thank you for adding it.

    1. You are very welcome! I make silver dollar pancakes sometimes. They are very good!


Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear from you so do not be shy!

Did you make the recipe as directed? Recipe results are not guaranteed when changes have been made.

Is this comment helpful to other readers? Rude or hateful comments will not be approved. Remember that this website is run by a real person.

Are you here to complain about ads? Please keep in mind that I develop these recipes and provide them to you for free. Advertising helps to defray my cost of doing so, and allows me to continue to post regular fresh content.

Thanks so much for your understanding! I appreciate you!