It’s a tradition that dates back centuries, but it seems the custom of whipping up a batch of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday (tomorrow) has fallen rather flat.

According to research by Lyle’s Golden Syrup, just half of Britons will be getting out the frying pans for this year’s festivities – a drop of 25 per cent compared with ten years ago.

And a quarter of those surveyed were clueless about how to make a simple pancake batter from scratch.

The reasons given ranged from ‘can’t be bothered’ to fretting that the dish takes ‘too much time and effort’.

Of course, the word ‘pancake’ can refer to a variety of creations from around the world – whether it’s the thin English kind traditionally served with lemon and sugar, a stack of fluffy American ones topped with blueberries or maple syrup, or a lacy French crepe smothered in chocolate hazelnut spread.

And when it comes to toppings, pretty much anything goes, so there are few excuses not to give those flipping skills a whirl!

Try these tips from British Lion Eggs for making the perfect pancake...

  • You need a good non-stick, preferably heavy, pan and to cook the pancakes properly, it needs to be hot. The first pancake rarely works and can look very untidy but tastes good. This is known as the cook’s treat!
  • If you are not confident at tossing the pancakes, just use a spatula to turn them over.
  • Some say leaving the batter to rest before use improves it – if you have time, brilliant, but it’s not essential.

Tired of lemon and sugar? Here are some recipes celebrating regional ingredients and pancake varieties from around the UK...


(serves 4)


75g plain flour

A pinch of salt

2 large British Lion eggs

150ml milk A little oil for frying

For the filling:

500g pink rhubarb

75g caster sugar Vanilla ice cream, to serve


First make the filling: Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6. Trim the rhubarb then cut it into 5cm-long pieces. Place in an ovenproof baking dish and sprinkle over the sugar. Cover with foil then bake for 15 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender. Leave to cool slightly.

Next make the pancakes: Place the flour, salt and eggs in a large bowl with half the milk. Whisk until the mixture is lump-free. Add the remaining milk and whisk again until smooth. If you prefer, place all the ingredients together in a food processor and blend until smooth, pour the batter into a jug. The batter can be made in advance and chilled for up to eight hours before use.

Heat a 20cm diameter non-stick frying pan until hot, drizzle a little oil over the centre and wipe it around with a piece of kitchen paper. Now pour a little of the batter into the pan and immediately tilt the pan to spread the batter thinly and evenly over the base.

Cook for 2 minutes or until the top is set and the base golden. Turn the pancake over with a spatula or if you are feeling brave, flip the pancake. Cook for a further 1-2 minutes or until the base is golden.

Transfer to a plate and interleave with greaseproof paper, keep warm. Use the batter and a little more oil to make a further seven pancakes in the same way. Divide the warm rhubarb between the pancakes and serve with vanilla ice cream.


(makes 10)


250g plain flour

50g caster sugar

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

A pinch of salt

2 large British Lion eggs

284ml buttermilk

1tbsp lemon juice

75g raisins Caster sugar, to serve


Sift the flour, caster sugar, bicarbonate of soda and salt together in a bowl. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Beat together the buttermilk, eggs and then add to the dry ingredients with the lemon juice. Leave the mixture to stand for ten minutes.

Heat a flat griddle or frying pan, brush the surface with a little oil, then drop tablespoons of the mixture, well apart, onto the griddle pan - about three can be cooked at a time. Sprinkle a few raisins in the centre of each pancake.

Cook over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until bubbles begin to form on the surface, and the base is golden. Flip over and cook for a further few minutes until the base is golden. Remove from the pan and keep warm in a clean tea towel.

Repeat with the remaining mixture to make about ten pancakes in total. Serve warm with a sprinkling of caster sugar.