The essential guide to making fluffy pancakes

Casey Wall of Melbourne's Bar Liberty and Capitano shares his recipe for pancakes inspired by the American South.


Will Horner

My dad used to make us pancakes as kids on special occasions, so they’ve always resonated with me. Nowadays, if I’m cooking breakfast, it means I’m on holidays or annual leave, so in a roundabout way, pancakes equal happiness. Buttermilk is a staple in the American South, so almost every pancake I’ve eaten has had buttermilk in it – and the South always sneaks into how I cook. The acidity in buttermilk also reacts with the leavening agent, which gives the pancake more lift; I also think the acidity helps cut the sweetness. There are a million ways to make most things, but I like the lightness and fluffiness that the whipped eggwhites give the batter. The thought process came from making sponge cakes and meringues, the method worked out, and I’ve done it ever since.


• A French balloon whisk will help aerate the eggwhites quickly and with minimal effort for extra fluffy pancakes.

• A cast-iron frying pan gives a sound result, but they do require maintenance. A non-stick frying pan gives great results without the fuss.


  • 300 gm (2 cups) plain flour

  • 10 gm baking powder

  • 85 gm caster sugar

  • 5 gm fine salt

  • 3 large eggs, separated

  • 85 gm melted butter

  • 375 ml (1½ cups) buttermilk

Photo: Will Horner

Step 1:

Sift plain flour, baking powder, caster sugar and fine salt into a large bowl.

Photo: Will Horner

Step 2:

Whisk egg yolks, melted butter and buttermilk in a separate bowl until smooth.

Photo: Will Horner

Step 3:

In a clean, dry bowl, whisk eggwhites until about medium-stiff peaks, being careful not to over-whip

Photo: Will Horner

Step 4:

Gently mix yolk mixture into dry ingredients until they just come together – small lumps are totally fine, even encouraged. You want as little agitation as possible to keep them light and fluffy.

Photo: Will Horner

Step 5:

Fold in eggwhites with a spatula, being careful not to deflate the whites. Once the batter has just come together, stop mixing.

Photo: Will Horner

Step 6:

Heat a cast-iron skillet or a non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat and add as much butter as you like to the pan, the more the better; they’re pancakes, not muesli – treat yourself.

Add a few ladles of batter to create rounds and let the batter fry in the pan until a lot of bubbles come to the surface (2-3 minutes). Flip, and cook until set on the bottom (2-3 minutes). The more butter you use (well, to a point), the crisper your pancakes will be.

Serve warm with whatever toppings take your fancy.

Photo: Will Horner

Pancake toppings

My favourite toppings are fresh sliced banana, roasted pecans, and maple syrup. In Australia, malt syrup is an awesome alternative. Stay away from the fake maple stuff. I am also a sucker for pancakes with canned peaches and crème fraîche – it sounds naff, but it’s super tasty.

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