You may not be one of those people that are good at “the pancake.” I’m not. I’m actually terrible at it. Granted, the first one is rarely something to be proud of, but mine don’t improve as I go along. My pancakes are never the perfect circles I want. They are never the same size, so they don’t stack nicely on the plate. They should be an even golden-brown, but they never are. Instead, they range in color from “light band-aid” to “burnt leftover coffee” in what would be a most disappointing box of crayons.
Even worse is my timing. Let’s face it, no one makes pancakes for themselves. This is breakfast for at least 2-4 people; that is like 20 pancakes. How am I supposed to do that? The last time I made 20 pancakes, I had to throw out 16 of them. Let’s not forget that they all need to be warm at the same time and served at the same time. For that matter, let’s add a singing unicorn to the story because that isn’t going to happen either.
Regardless, we deserve pretty pancakes. We deserve fancy pancakes! As I have been doing lately, I turn to my Superheated Steam Countertop Oven for the solution. We can make beautiful pancakes for four people. We can make them ahead, and we can serve them all at the same time. We just need to bend the rules a little. No stacks. Rolls. Cake rolls! The solution is so simple it is poetry! For what is a pancake, if not a cake?
The first step is the line the broiling pan with aluminum foil. I do this often because I hate cleaning, but this time it serves a higher purpose. Not only will it help you roll the pancake, but it will also help us with design. Line the pan very, very snugly. Trace every ridge on the bottom of the pan with your finger so that you can see all the hills and valleys at the bottom of the pan.
Warm a jar of cherry preserves in the microwave and transfer it to a small plastic bag for piping. Snip the tip of the plastic bag and pipe the preserves into every other groove in the broiling pan.
I’m not going to name names, but my 10.6 oz package of store-bought pancake mix comes in its own shaker bottle to make things easier. All I added was water. You can also consider that for pancakes, gluten doesn’t really matter. You could use a gluten-free pancake mix and get very similar results.
I drizzled the pancake mix in the opposite direction to the cherry striping. This helps to keep the striping in place. It also makes it very clear where you need to add more batter for excellent, even coverage.
When I was done with the container, all of the stripes were wholly concealed. I sprinkled the top with some wild blueberries so that there would be fruit on both sides. I set the oven to 425o F and set the timer to 20 minutes… knowing full well that it was not going to take 20 minutes. But I never did this before, so I wanted to be sure.
After 10 minutes, I could see that the top was dry, starting to pull away from the sides and crack ever-so-slightly. That was precisely what I was looking for. I took the pan out of the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes, but you need to begin rolling while the pancake is still warm.
I loosened the aluminum foil from the sides and used it to help me roll the pancake. You are sculpting. If you roll the cake now, while it is warm, you will be teaching it how to curl later. It creates a little “muscle memory” for the sheet cake so that it won’t crack after you brush in the filling and roll it for real. Just roll the foil right inside because you are going to un-roll it in a minute, and the pancake won’t stick to it. When it is all rolled-up, squeeze it a little and smooth it with your hands to make sure it is the shape you want. Then unroll it immediately. It won’t lay perfectly flat again, and that is what you want.
The filling can be anything, but this is breakfast, so I stick with jelly. I used the rest of the cherry preserves and spread it on top of the pancake before rolling it back up. Roll it tightly, and secure the ends well. It will rest in this position for at least 15 minutes to set the shape.
When ready to serve, you just unroll the foil to reveal a beautiful, candy-cane striped pancake roll. Then just slice and serve!
You can keep the rolled-up cake in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, you just have to make the slices and put them back in the superheated steam countertop oven on warm for 8 minutes, and they will be perfect.
Cherry and Blueberry Pancake Rolls
A show-stopping, buffet friendly, make-ahead solution to plain pancakes.
- 1 bottle Store-bought pancake mix in a shaker (Or at least 2 cups of dry pancake mix prepared according to the instructions on the package.)
- 2 jars Cherry Preserves (This works well with any jelly, but a rich, red color is best.)
- 1 handful Fresh blueberries (Optional)
Line the pan snugly with aluminum foil so that you can see the grooves of the broiler pan clearly. Spray generously with non-stick spray, and then pipe the jelly into every other groove in the pan.
In a perpendicular direction, gently drizzle the pancake batter over the stripes until they are completely covered. You should use all of the mixture. Sprinkle with blueberries and gently transfer to the oven.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, or until the top appears dry, begins to crack and pulls-away from the sides of the pan. It will not have begun to brown at all.
While warm, begin rolling the sheet cake into the desired spiral. This will help to shape the roll so that it won't crack later is it cools. Unroll immediately. It should not become completely flat again.
Coat the top of the sheet pancake with the remaining preserves. Be careful to cover the surface from edge to edge. Then use the foil to roll it into a log. Seal the ends and let cool completely. At this stage, you can store in the refrigerator overnight if you like (then slice and use WARM for 8-10 minutes before serving.)
When cooled, unwrap the roll and slice into servings no less than 1 inch thick.
Serve immediately or warm in the oven. Whipped cream and syrup are optional!