Corn + Corn + Corn = Pancakes*

*Or, Corn Cubed Pancakes

*Or, You Don’t Need Math to Enjoy These Pancakes

[Unadorned corny goodness, tall and proud.]

I was one of those students who always did pretty well in math even though I didn’t understand most of it. In other words, I was a good memorizer. These days, I rejoice if I can remember what I ate for breakfast, but back then, even multiplication tables didn’t pose a challenge. The more advanced types of computation, however, were a complete mystery to me (which is why I dropped out of Calculus in CEGEP.  Yes, I altered my entire career path, from Psychology to English Literature, based solely on my fear of statistics).

These days, the “new math” leaves me both breathless and hyperventilating (sometimes simultaneously).  My friend Babe’s eleven year-old daughter conducts problems in long division using a multi-step process that involves drawing little lines, circles and boxes, seemingly much more complicated than the old-fashioned dividend/divisor (with remainders) method I learned in school. And even with all these new approaches, when the computer is down at our local video store, the cashier still has no idea how to make change for a cash purchase.

It’s times like those (when I can’t rent Bridesmaids, dammit) that I wish everyone could have a teacher like my eighth-grade functions instructor, Mrs. Klein.  Well, that was her actual name, but we all affectionately called her Mrs. Clown.  (No, she didn’t have a bulbous red nose and electro-shock hairstyle–though her hair was suspiciously white–but she did offer boundless energy, sweeping arm gestures, and a hilarious delivery that made us guffaw–at functions!).

[Topped with some Fresh Plum Sauce]

Unlike most math teachers, Mrs. Clown actually made learning about algorithms, formulas, cosines and exponents fun. When she wrote an equation on the board and asked for volunteers to come up and solve it in front of the class, everyone’s hand shot up. When she explained images and sets, we sat entranced, as she peppered her explanation with anecdotes about her husband fixing the car engine over the weekend, or compared variables in a math problem to specific student personalities in the class.  We students never sat through a single period in which we didn’t laugh out loud at least once or twice (and how many people can say that about their math class?). When the bell rang, we were genuinely surprised that the hour was up.

Mrs. Clown wrote notes on the board in huge, clear, print so that everyone–even spectacle-clad Norman at the back–could see it clearly; and she provided tips and tricks to ensure that we’d remember the rules. One of her favorite ways to point out a potential problem in a formula was by writing the word “SNAG” in all-caps and enclosing it in a box outline, like this:

When we spied those “SNAG” boxes, we knew we were in for an extra-lengthy anecdote.  In fact, we’d sometimes deliberately attempt to create a  “SNAG” situation in one of her problems, just so we could listen to another story about Mr. Clown.

Last week, when the HH and I received an organic cob of corn in our CSA, I decided to mix up these pancakes as an antidote to the overly greasy, heavy griddle cakes I ate a few weeks ago in New York City.  I’d been thinking about corn pancakes since then, and when I spied this recipe on Jess’s blog, I knew I had to give it a try.  Using her recipe as a template, I added two more types of corn (two corn “variables,” you might say) and was delighted with the results.  And while the pancakes themselves were delectable, they introduced a mathematical conundrum of their own: what to call them?  Are they “triple corn” pancakes?  Or, perhaps,  “corn cubed pancakes”?  Sadly, I never truly mastered exponents despite Mrs. Clown’s tutelage, so that’s one formula that shall remain unsolved.

Whatever you call them, they were fantastic.  The HH proclaimed these “the best pancakes you’ve made yet.” They’re incredibly fluffy, with a cakelike interior punctuated by a smattering of plump corn kernels (and do feel free to substitute blueberries if you prefer) and a subtle texture from the cornmeal.  I had never used corn flour before and found it imparted a lovely, delicate crumb and mild flavor.

Next time you’re in the mood for pancakes, go ahead and have a couple of these,  or three.  Okay, maybe not, since five is a lot of pancakes.  Oh, wait–SNAG–two PLUS three is five, not two OR three; I shouldn’t have added the numbers but rather divided the total batch of 12 into the single divisor of each serving instead (or was that “mulitply each serving”?). . .  . which would have ultimately made a total of 1746 calories per batch, which works out to how many per person?

Whatever.  The only equation you need to remember is:  pancakes + topping = delicious.


[Inside that corny goodness.]

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Last Year at this Time: Cheryl’s Cold Thai Rice Paper Rolls (ACD Stage 2; gluten free)

Two Years Ago: Flash in the Pan: Zucchini Bread Oatmeal (ACD Stage 2; gluten free)

Three Years Ago: Banana Daiquiri Ice Dream (from The Ice Dream Cookbook) (not ACD friendly)

© Ricki Heller

[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]



  1. I saw a version of sweet corn pancakes last year on Smitten Kitchen, I think it also had buttermilk. Your recipe with three kinds of corn sounds lovely! It further reminds me how much I want to try corn pancakes. 🙂

    • I used to eat cornmeal pancakes all the time when in my 20s. . . but haven’t had corn flour pancakes, ever! I really enjoyed them. 🙂

  2. These look amazing! But then, Your recipes usually are 😀

  3. Oh, yum, Ricki! I still haven’t tried corn flour yet, but will have to get some to make these pancakes! 🙂 Love the tale, too. I had a few teachers like that and we could get them going many times. 😉 BTW, I was all set to be a math major. Did calc as independent study as a senior (back in the dark ages when there was no regular calculus class at our local high school) and had calc us a freshman. But when I went to William & Mary and ended up in a lecture class of 300 and then could barely understand the professor (who I would not consider proficient in English), all my well-laid plans when out the window. I squeaked by with a C (the grading scale had no Ds) and decided to major in my second love, English. I transferred to the college near where I grew up and the rest is history. You and I really do have a lot in common!


    • Wow, that really is quite a coincidence! I also dropped Calculus because the teacher was so bad, I couldn’t really understand what we were supposed to do. . . and memorization didn’t work for me at that level! 😉

  4. We used to laugh in maths lessons but I remember laughing at teachers rather than with them! Oh dear, kids can be cruel. I love corn pancakes but am a little unsure exactly what you mean by corn flour. In Australia corn flour is common but it seems to be like what you call corn starch – so I am interested that your corn flour is obviously different.

    • I’ve had many a teacher like that, too! 😉 Corn flour is a light yellow, very fine flour that is not the same as cornstarch, a white squeaky starch that thickens puddings (what you call corn flour) or cornmeal, which is quite coarse and has a gritty texture. I think corn flour is sometimes called masa harina, if that helps.

  5. Einstein would love the idea of these pancakes even if ‘cubed’ is a bit more elementary than E=MC ‘squared’ 😉 They look so tender – and corn has that naturally sweet flavor – great recipe!

  6. Ooh, I’ve been at the edge of my seat waiting for this one ever since you posted a teaser photo on facebook. Mighty fine looking ‘cakes, can’t wait to taste them!

  7. They just look like mmmmmmmmmmmmm!

  8. wow, ricki these look incredible! i bet the texture is wonderful with that added cornmeal too! mmmm….

  9. I love corn pancakes so much! I am very impressed by how thick and fluffy these look.

  10. KellyBelly says

    Great casual dinner (translation: Time to eat,I have no dinner plans, quick whip these up) I ordered cornflour by mistake and now I have a great way to use it up.

  11. The pancakes look delectably fluffy, and more delicious than the sum deliciousness of their ingredients. I may be forced to get some corn flour and xanthan gum. Sigh.

  12. They look delicious! Hah, I always excelled at math but changed my college major from engineering to music because I didn’t want to take advanced chemistry.

  13. Oh wow those pancakes look fabulous, so light and fluffy. I’m going to have to buy some Taber corn just so I can make them this weekend.

  14. I’m completely addicted to the fluffy fruited pancakes (I think that’s what they’re called) in Sweet Freedom so I fully trust that these would be amazing! And I love corn mm.

    • Thanks, Ashley! These have a similar cake-like fluffiness, with the sweetness of corn. The HH loves the Fluffy Fruited ones, too, and he is now saying that these may be the best pancakes I’ve made. . . can’t wait to hear what you think. 🙂


  1. […] When we got home, Rob started the barbecue and began grilling the corn for dinner. I had a hankering for baked goods and used corn to make these corny pancakes from Ricki. […]

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