As Pancake Day has creped up on us, we thought now was the perfect time to try a new skill. We recently discovered the incredible edible pancake art of Keisuke Inagaki on Instagram and knew we had to try giving it a go for ourselves and teach you how you can make your very own pancake pet paw-trait too!
A pancake portrait of a dog made by Keisuke Inagaki at his restaurant La Ricetta.
Keisuke Inagaki has been a chef at his restaurant La Ricetta in Zama City, Japan, for the last 18 years. He rose to Instagram fame from his Pokemon and anime pancake art, but we especially love his life-like animal series of treats. The talented chef began making pancakes in 2011 to raise peoples spirits after the devastating nuclear disaster in Fukushima. He said: “After Fukushima I participated in a camp for children to comfort them. I wanted to think of some activities that mothers and children could do together. Then I discovered pancake art. I saw it for the first time on TV, an American named Nathan Shields making it and thought it was interesting. Whilst children were playing, the mothers and I wanted to surprise them.”
A pancake portrait of a cat made by Keisuke Inagaki at his restaurant La Ricetta.
Depending on the detail, the pancakes take around 5 to 10 minutes to draw, and another 5 to 10 minutes to cook. Keisuke Inagaki is hoping to be able to exhibit his pancake artwork in the future, but for now we highly suggest following him on Instagram so you can admire all of his fantastic creations. Now, whilst you may not be able to get results quite as professional as Keisuke's, we think making your own pancake pet portrait is super fun, and we're going to teach you how!
A cat pancake by Linnea Covington via MyRecipes
To start with, you need a good, non-stick pan, a wide spatula with a thin lip, one or two squeeze bottles and your furry friend nearby to model for you. The pancake batter can be any recipe you like, though you want to keep it on the thin side so it pours from the bottle smoothly and is easy to draw with. A good technique for beginners to pancake art is to make two different coloured batters. Do this either by making one with darker flour, adding cocoa powder to the batter or even food colouring. This means you can add an outline to your design so that it stands out more, as well as using the darker colour for details like your pets eyes, nose and any markings they have.
We love this shiba inu pancake by KCLee - we think it looks just like Hiro! via BoredPanda
As you have to be fairly quick when making your pancake portrait, we suggest sketching out the image of your pet before you start. You could do this by tracing a photo of your pet or just roughly drawing it out freehand. Once you have your sketch, heat the pan to a medium-low heat and start by making the simple shape of your pet to practise. From there you can see how the batter works, how long you need to leave it on and how your batter browns. Then you can play with adding stripes, eyes, whiskers, and other details. You know the pancake is ready to flip once bubbles appear over the surface. Gently turn your pancake and let the other side cook for about a minute. And voila! You have made a pancake portrait of your pet. Most pancake recipes are also pet friendly (as long as they don't contain too much sugar or salt) so you could even share your masterpiece with the muse themselves.