"You can't be too careful, especially towards spring," he said, heaping his plate with straw-coloured griddle-cakes and drowning them in golden syrup.
The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton, Chapter 16
Edith Warton's The Age of Innocence is not only a wonderful character study, and an insight into an era I find really interesting, it was also the first book written by a woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. So I'm a fan on multiple levels. At heart, it's the story of lawyer Newland Archer and the two very different women he loves - conservative (and compassionate) May Welland and free-spirited Ellen Olenska. It explores class, society and gender in late nineteenth century New York, and is rich with detail.
The character so enthusiastically enjoying his griddle cakes in this chapter is May's father, Mr Welland. As he's from the East Coast, these griddle cakes need to be American, rather than Welsh (which are tasty in their own right, just not the right thing here). In Wales, griddle cakes are sweet and fruity. In the States, they're pancake-like creations, delicious served for brunch, topped with something sweet. The doubling up of the raising agent ensures that the griddle cakes will puff up as soon as they hit the pan.
Finally, if you don't have a griddle pan, don't fret. You can easily use a regular frying pan for this, despite the instruction implicit in the title.
Makes 8 cakes
1/2tsp bi-carb soda
1/2tsp baking powder
2tbsp melted butter
Golden syrup (loads)
Griddle pan (or non-stick frying pan)
Non-stick egg flip
1. Put your oven on at 80C. You'll need to keep the griddle cakes warm until you have finished the batch - unless you're serving them one by one, as they're cooked, to eagerly waiting friends.
2. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together in the jug. Stir the baking soda into the milk. Pour the milk into the jug and whisk with the flour until smooth. Pour in the melted butter and whisk again.
3. Leave the batter to stand while you heat your griddle pan. Pour 1/8 of the batter into the hot pan. Flip when the cakes have formed bubbles on top. Remove from the pan when both sides are browned (straw coloured) and place on the baking tray in the warm oven until you're ready to serve.
4. Serve American style, in a stack, and absolutely drowned in golden syrup.