On my first big family vacation, the biggest memories of my 6-year old self were the following:

  • Yellowstone smelled really bad
  • Old Faithful wasn’t as faithful as people evidently expected
  • I didn’t like range-fed beef that tasted like sage
  • And, most importantly, I ordered “hot cake” every morning for breakfast and every day they brought me pancakes. My first vacation was an adventure in tasting every form of “cake” served at breakfast in the hope that I might, just once, actually get cake for breakfast!

Pancakes, hotcakes, flap jacks, griddle cakes – by whatever name you want to call them – the ingredients, texture and experience differs by region, by ingredient and by cook. I am a purist. I like a nice, light, plain and perfect circle of perfectly browned batter with only a little butter and maple syrup. Although I’ll eat a blueberry pancake, I’m not someone who loves the mounds of fruit and whipped cream, or the extra flavorings and additions. Just a perfect pancake.

I finally found the perfect pancake for me. This recipe is for IHOP Pancakes from Top Secret Recipes. It’s evidently a winner with my husband and grandkids, too!


Nonstick Spray
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Use a pan with a nonstick surface or apply a little nonstick spray.
  2. In a blender or with a mixer, combine all of the remaining ingredients until smooth.
  3. Ladle approximately 1/3 cup of the batter into the hot skillet, forming 5-inch circles.
  4. When the edges appear to firm up, after a minute or two, flip the pancakes. They should be golden brown.
  5. Cook the pancakes on the other side for the same amount of time, until golden brown.

Makes 8-10 pancakes.

Buttermilk is a crucial ingredient in this recipe. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice for each cup of milk. Let sit until slightly thickened.

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