My love prefers to celebrate his birthdays quietly, with a close-knit hive of friends and the least preparation possible. In Bobby’s dictionary P-L-A-N is a four letter word; like S-H-*-T, it is generally frowned upon. Despite my own organized tendencies, I cherish Bobby’s resolve to live presently and spontaneously. He teaches me balance and to keep my eyes open wide! With less plans, we are open to the possibilities afforded by our imagination and our encounters.


As a Cornell graduate student, Bobby has had to abide by some degree of planning, quite heavily in fact. And so, it is no surprise that he asked to celebrate the last year of his roaring twenties with as little effort as possible: pancakes (flour), popcorn (kernals) and a DIY movie screening at our home with a ring of pals. A short email went out two days prior. We dipped into the surrounding hill sides for a cross-country ski just two hours before the festivities, and at 3:30 p.m. on the dot I began stirring pancake batter in time for a 4:00 p.m. screening (this is when some hint of planning would behoove us!).

Of course, you know my own perspective in the kitchen requires little planning: I don my apron fearlessly and approach each new dish like an adventure – into the unknown! With that attitude comes the bells and whistles I can’t stand shying away from, like a gear head dizzy for a new outdoor toy. I found my mind stuck on these two wildly contrasting pancake creations that would require much more than flour. One panCAKE sings songs of an angelic summer Sunday. The other panCAKE belongs in a cavernous lounge, where sophisticated men and glamorous women smoke cigars. Both belong in our mouths, immediately. Happy Birthday My Sweet Love!

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Lemon Poppy Seed PanCAKEs with Blueberry-Cream Cheese Syrup

These pancakes were adapted from Joy the Baker, and inspired by a favorite cake from Mamma’s kitchen: lemon poppy seed with cream cheese frosting. Bobby loves it, and truly loves anything zested and poppy! Who doesn’t? We still have loads of blueberry preserves lingering from the summer, so I thought this would be a sweet, colorful way to frost this stack.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 24 pancakes


  • Pancake:
  • Brown sugar – 2 tablespoons
  • Lemon – 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest (about two lemons)
  • All-purpose flour – 2 cups
  • Baking powder – 2 teaspoons
  • Baking soda – 1 teaspoon
  • Sea salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Buttermilk – 2 cups
  • Eggs – 2 large eggs
  • Butter – 4 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter
  • Lemon Juice – 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Vanilla extract – 2 teaspoons
  • Poppy seeds – 2 tablespoons
  • Butter – A bit of butter or grease for cooking
  • Syrup:
  • Cheese – 1 cup
  • Butter – 1/2 stick softened butter
  • Blueberry – 1/2 cup blueberry preserves
  • Confectioners sugar – 1/3 cup
  • Soya milk or Almond milk – 1/4 milk


  1. Pancakes:
  2. If you aren’t eating your pancakes immediately, preheat the oven to the lowest setting and put a plate in the oven for your pancakes to stay toasty before serving.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and lemon zest, and rub together with your fingers to incorporate the two. It’s beautiful!
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt and lemon-sugar.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, lemon juice, and vanilla.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add the poppy seeds and stir briefly again. (No worries if a few lumps remain!).
  7. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Heat your pan or griddle over medium heat, and add a dollop of butter or smear of vegetable oil to grease the pan – pancakes are sticky! Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of pancake batter into the pan. Always start with one – it sort of seasons the pan for the rest of the batch! When the edges of the pancake begin to bubble and the bottom side is golden-brown, flip over the pancakes. Cook the other side until golden brown as well. (Keep the pancakes warm in the oven until serving).
  9. Syrup:
  10. Put all of the syrup ingredients in to a blender or food processor and whiz around until the syrup becomes smooth and creamy. To thin out the syrup, add a milk of your choosing. Pour the syrup gently over your stack of pancakes.


Allergens: eggs, dairy

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