Don't settle for plain old pancakes – unleash your artistic potential with our smart suggestions and top tips this Pancake Day. Get the kids in the kitchen to mix the batter for buzzing bumble bees and let them decorate thin crêpes with fresh fruit.


1. Bumble bee pancakes

These adorable bumble bees are delicious drizzled with honey. Start by making a batch of batter – we used the recipe for Emily's plate-sized pancakes and added an extra 50ml of milk to the mixture. Divide the mixture into two bowls and stir one tablespoon of cocoa powder through one batch. Next, transfer the mixes to two disposable piping bags, and snip off the ends to create a small nozzle.

In a frying pan over a low heat, pipe the outline of a bumblebee, flower or any design you like using the chocolate flavoured batter over a low heat. Fill in the stripes of the bee or petals with the plain batter. Increase the heat slightly, then leave to cook in the pan until both batters have set. Using a spatula, flip each pancake over carefully.

Artfully arrange your bees and flowers onto serving plates, then drizzle over runny honey to finish.

2. Unicorn pancakes

Unicorn-shaped pancake with funfetti sprinkles

The number one pancake choice for lovers of rainbows and sparkles. As with the bumble bee pancakes you will need to begin by making one quantity of this pancake batter. Divide the mixture into three bowls. Stir in one tablespoon of cocoa powder through one batch and put it into a disposable piping bag. Now dip a skewer or clean paint brush into some gel food colouring and paint a line on the inside of another disposable piping bag from the bottom to the top. Repeat a few times with different gel colours. We used pink, blue, green and yellow. Then fill with some of the plain pancake mix – when piped, the pancake mix will feature flecks of rainbow colour. Put the remaining mix into a third piping bag and snip the ends of each bag to create a small nozzle.

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Brush a little bit of sunflower oil over the base of a non-stick frying pan over a low heat and wipe off any excess with kitchen paper. Pipe the outline of a unicorn head into the pan using the cocoa mixture. Fill in the horn and curly hair with the multicoloured batter then cover the rest of the gaps in the plain batter. Increase the heat slightly, then leave to cook in the pan until everything has just set, then very carefully turn over with a palette knife or thin spatula and cook for another minute or so until the batter is cooked through.

Scatter sprinkles like hundreds and thousands and white chocolate stars over a plate and top with your unicorn pancakes. Great with ice cream, fresh berries and maple syrup on the side.

3. Fruity lion pancakes

Lion-shaped pancake surrounded by fruit

Kids will love to transform these delicate, thin crêpes into kings of the jungle with a magnificent mane made of fresh fruit. Follow our recipe for easy pancakes, then pile on the toppings, making him as fearsome or friendly as you like. We decorated our pancakes with sliced figs, strawberries and plums to make the mane, banana slices and blueberries for the eyes, and a mango and plum nose. We then used small strips of fig skin for the mouth and added a bunch of mint leaves for the lion to hide behind!

4. Funfetti pancakes

Stacked funfetti pancakes with fruit

It couldn't be easier to make these multicoloured marvels. Simply add one-two teaspoons of hundreds and thousands to an American-style pancake recipe – we used this one – and fry according to the method. Serve with sliced fresh fruit and vanilla ice cream, and if that's not colourful enough, add a sprinkle of hundreds and thousands as a final flourish.

5. Fluffy llama pancakes

Llama-shaped pancakes on plate

Surely everyone loves a llama? Will they be the new unicorns? Discuss. Again we used the recipe for Emily's plate-sized pancakes for our latest creation. Divide the mixture into two bowls and stir 1-2 tablespoons of cocoa powder through one batch. Next, transfer the cocoa powder batch to a disposable piping bag, and snip off the end. In a lightly greased non-stick frying pan – on the hob but with the heat off – pipe the outline of a llama. Start with the head, making it the shape of a small cloud, adding ears, a bigger cloud shape for the body, then legs, tail, eyes and nose. Turn the heat on and cook gently for a few seconds to set the design. Fill in the llama outline with the plain batter then leave to cook until set. Carefully flip the pancake over with a spatula and cook for another minute or two on the other.

6. Personalised initial pancakes

Pancake with letter J on plate

Give everyone their own initialled pancake. Simply pipe cocoa-flavoured pancake batter into the shape of the first letter of their name on the lightly greased surface of a non-stick pan. Turn on the heat, allow to cook for a few moments then completely cover with plain pancake batter. When bubbles rise to the surface flip the pancake over to cook on the other side. Don't forget that you'll have to write backwards, so it is the right way around when the pancake is flipped. You may find it helps to create a guide to copy, by writing the right way around on a piece of tracing paper then turning it over.

Still after inspiration?

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Have you got any tips or tricks for creating pancake art? Leave a comment below...

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