Original German Pancake

The Original German Pancake has morphed into often being called a ‘Dutch Baby.’ This delicious thin pancake is neither Dutch or a baby but it is SO good!

German Pancake

This post was originally published several years ago and I was inspired to bring it out of the archives for two reasons. Google Maps Street View. Once I located my grandparents old home it brought back such wonderful memories. I started traveling down memory lane and had to make this original German pancake for breakfast and decided this recipe should be shared again; it’s too good to miss. Beyond that? I’m on a personal mission to acquaint everyone with a German pancake…and let them know there is nothing Dutch about it!

———-From 2011
I’ve got a problem and it’s called a Dutch Baby. Every single time I see someone extol the virtues of that breakfast treat I want to scream it to the mountains; they simple butchered a name, that’s all!! Why does this matter so much to me?? Well, I’ve got a lot of German blood thanks to my dad’s side of the family and I know when my Grandma Bathe first prepared one of these pancakes for me and shared their history, there were no tulips or clogs in sight; nope, none. So I’m here to right a wrong; to share why this is indeed a GERMAN pancake; join my mission won’t you? ๐Ÿ™‚

Story has it that the name โ€œDutch Babyโ€ was coined in a family-run restaurant in Seattle called Mancaโ€™s Cafe, owned by a gentleman named Victor Manca from about 1900 to the 1950s. A Manca descendant wrote that the name was coined because Victorโ€™s daughter could not pronounce ‘Deutsch,’ the German word for German; and out of her mouth came Dutch and the deed was done.

Originally served as three small German pancakes with powdered sugar and fresh squeezed lemon juice; the’ Dutch Baby’ moniker was born. Eventually a regular size serving, labeled the “Big Dutch Baby” gained popularity and is what is so often referred to today. So, let’s see. A mispronunciation leads to a new name which is furthered by making them little but eventually they get big again and yet the butchered name stays the same.

Itโ€™s really a giant pancake; an Americanized version of a German dish called Apfelpfannkuchen.  Although called a pancake, the end result actually reminds me more of a crepe. They puff up as evidenced in the photo above and without leavening the end result is a thin layer that is traditionally finished with butter, lemon juice and powdered sugar.


The house that was my grandparents home for more than 50 years on Hoffman Avenue in St. Louis.

How fitting that my grandparents, descendants of  Germany and Switzerland, lived in a south-side neighborhood of St. Louis populated by what was called the Scrubby Dutch; another example of the word Deutsch becoming generally known as Dutch. Germans, in general, realize they are preserving their land for the future. This results in a clean, pleasant countryside and relatively manicured streets, even in big cities.

If you wonder where the idea of โ€œSouth St. Louis Scrubby Dutchโ€ comes from, simply visit the central Rhine and points nearby. Germans in small villages take to the streets almost daily, to sweep small debris and keep their walkways looking attractive. This was so typical of my grandparents neighborhood, a quiet, conservative-Catholic neighborhood filled with Gingerbread bungalows. It was like going to a different world from our suburban neighborhood of new homes  without grown trees and I loved it there.

I found this picture using Google maps…it seemed so much larger when I was a little girl but no less precious and I remember many special nights staying in that bedroom on the upper right listening to the birds in the tree in the front yard. For me it was just this side of Heaven.

German Pancake served with Lemon, Almonds and Powdered Sugar

This is easy to prepare and quite a unique presentation…one reason my children liked me to make it when they had friends sleep over; this is not everyone’s Grandma’s pancake!

Although I love the traditional method of serving with lemon juice on top sprinkled with some powdered sugar, I’ve always made a couple of options so for our family it would not be the same without apple slices sauteed in butter and sugar or cinnamon and sugar with toasted almonds on top. I provide all of those choices so everyone can have their version of this GERMAN pancake that appeals to them most whatever name they insist upon using! ๐Ÿ™‚

PIN ‘German Pancake’

German Pancake served with a variety of toppings including lemon, almonds, and apples.

Print Recipe
4.53 from 19 votes

German Pancake (Dutch Baby)

A baked pancake traditionally served with lemon and powdered sugar.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories:
Author: Creative Culinary

Ingredients

For the Pancake:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • ยฝ tsp salt
  • ยฝ cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter melted
  • 2 Tbsp butter softened

For the Apples:

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 apples sliced
  • 2 Tbsp sugar

Instructions

To Make the Pancake:

  • Using a wire whisk or fork, beat eggs until blended.
  • Measure flour and salt into a bowl and whisk to blend.
  • Add flour mixture to beaten eggs in 4 additions, beating slightly after each addition just until mixture is smooth.
  • Add milk in 2 additions, beating slightly after each.
  • Lightly beat in butter.
  • Melt remaining 2 Tbsp of butter on low heat in 9 or 10 inch heavy skillet.
  • Pour batter into skillet and bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • Slip onto a heated platter and serve immediately.
  • Traditionally served with melted butter, a squeeze of lemon juice and a dusting of powdered sugar.

To Make the Apples:

  • Melt butter in a small frying pan.
  • Add apples and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Slowly cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until slices are glazed and tender.
  • Spoon onto center of baked pancake or serve on the side.

Notes

Cut slices as you would a cake from the center to the outer edge.

Nutrition

Serving: 1grams

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81 Comments

  1. I made this last weekend in a 13โ€ Pyrex baking dish and it came out perfect but had tall edges on it. Tasted wonderful with my homegrown Meyer lemons and powdered sugar. Thank you for the recipe!!

    1. I can understand that Penny; it really wants to rise on the outside so it was actually doing the right thing! Glad you loved it…next time try it in a big skillet for grins. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I tried a different recipe first that called for only 1/2c of flour. It was WAY too eggy for me. I tried this one and it was much better. I left it in the oven a tad too long so it was pretty brown when I took it out. I did add a splash of vanilla extract, but that is the only deviation. Overall, I like this recipe much better.
    I do have a question about using the cast iron skillet. It’s a new purchase so I’ve only made German pancakes in it so far lol. When I’m preheating the oven, am I to leave the skillet in the oven to warm it up too? The first time I made this, I poured melted butter into the skillet, then the batter, then put it all in the oven. Therefore, the skillet was cold. It stuck SO BAD. That or I didn’t let it bake long enough. Not sure. I definitely didn’t have that problem with this recipe though…but I did leave skillet inside the oven while oven was preheating.

  3. I’m a second generation American, with my father’s paternal predecessors hailing from Canada and Sweden before that and his maternal from Canada and Norway. A couple are from Germany mixed in there somehow. I’ve never met any of them except my grandmother who died when I was about 1 or 2 and my great aunt who came from Canada with my grandfather in the mid to late 1910’s.

    I have a cookbook that goes back to Sweden and contains random historical documents and newspaper clippings, but my favorite part is the swedish pancakes. What I find fascinating(since I love food so much) is how similar dishes in the Germanic countries can be. France has a less sweet crepe, Sweden has the afore mentioned, and German pancakes are very similar but with an alternate method of cooking, and a thicker spread of batter.

    I’ve actually used my Swedish pancake recipe to make them into German pancakes by using the stove on low until the pancakes are formed and then taking the skillet with an oven glove and immediately shoving into a preheated oven. It’s not exactly the same but it puffs up just as much.

    What I’m wondering, is if there is a way to make gluten free German pancakes. I’ve found the only wheat free flour to use in Swedish pancakes is sweet(white) rice or (white) rice flour. The others seem to be like using whole wheat flour. It took a while to get the measurements right as the rice flour goes a long way thickness-wise, and I’ve cooked the normal(wheat flour) version for over 20 years now.

    If you have a conversion or way to adapt this recipe to gluten free(and actually taste the same or similar) please do tell! My fiancรฉe has an actual gluten allergy which makes her violently ill.

    1. I wish I could help you Ryan, I’m just a resource for recipes that don’t contain gluten. I know a couple of GF bloggers; if I can locate someone who does have that information I’ll be sure to get back to you.

      Loved your story btw, thanks for sharing.

    2. I work for an organic, natural food distributor, please send me a message an I can help you. Also, look for this brand, Bobs Red Mill. Ww.bobsredmill.com

  4. I’m half German. Born and lived there half my life. Mom full German. Half my family is German. Went back two year’s ago for a visit. None of my family has heard of these oven baked pancakes. We make our pancakes on the stove in a pan. Thinner and more crepe – like. We do use apples though. Maybe these oven baked pastries are from a different region or transformed over time in the U.S. Not sure. Not trying to disrespect the blogger. Just saying If you go to Germany today don’t be surprised if you don’t get this high rimmed version. My Oma calls them the breakfast version ‘German Chocolate cake ‘.

    1. If my grandmother were alive today she would be 131 years old. She was a 2nd generation immigrant who married my grandfather, also a 2nd generation immigrant from Germany. Who knows how or why each family tradition originally starts but this is the one that she had. I hope you didn’t mean any disrespect because this is our story.

  5. I’m trying to remember what we called it here in Minnesota. It’s something like krupska – LOTS of Germans here, I’m almost full. My great grandmother used to make it. Then years later up at the Soudan Mine village tour they showed how the German women made it, and had the recipe (which I can’t find but I don’t need it, it’s so easy to remember). My son loves it with just powdered sugar, lemon and maple syrup. Wish I could remember the old German word they used for it tho!

    1. Oh I wish you could too! My grandparents were not first generation immigrants so by the time she was sharing them with her grandkids they were just German pancakes!

  6. I absolutely LOVE these German Pancakes! They are soooo easy to make and come out perfect every time. My whole life I’ve heard them called Dutch babies, so being German I love knowing the truth ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing!!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that..they are the one thing that friends of my kids always clamored for when they spent the night. Here’s to GERMAN pancakes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I am Dutch. We call it pannekoek. Sorry you get so offended by the name Dutch Baby. Whatever you call it, the recipe is one of the most delicious things the world has to offer. We vary the fruit and even make savory meat versions similar to soufflรฉ.

    1. Oh not really offended…sort of in jest but there is truth to the story and why it got that name here. It is delicious; I would not doubt that my girls had some overnight guests that came just for the breakfast because all the kids loved them so much. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Thank you for your family recipe. The first time I had ‘German Apple Pancake” was many years ago at a Village Inn in Jacksonville, FL. I loved it! Then a couple of years back, my husband and I traveled to Germany where I ordered the pancake for lunch. Your method of presentation was what I experienced there and greatly enjoyed! Now I can “do it all over again” in Georgia, USA!

    I would love to locate an authentic German cookbook with simple recipes in English. Got any suggestions?

    Thanks again,
    Pat, in Colbert, GA

  9. Help! I just made this and it didn’t puff up at all? I used a whisk, didn’t mix much, and baked it in an 11 3/4″ le creuset skillet. I used large eggs and 1% milk. What went wrong?

    By the way, it was golden brown, thin, a little heavy, but delicious. We ate the whole thing.

    1. Jen, I wonder if your skillet might have been so large that it made a difference because it sounds like your technique was good and the result was normal. As big and puffy as it looks, it really is a sort of thin, almost like a crepe, pancake. At least it tasted good!

    2. I think the recipe should just use ยฝ a cup of flour. I was looking for German Pancakes for Two but the bigger recipes use 6 eggs and 1 cup of flour.

      1. Then certainly use 1/2 cup of flour; your call, however THIS recipe is what we’ve always used and been very happy with!

      2. After making this recipe today. I’m going to 1000% agreed with you cynthia fite. It was way to heavy. This was my 3rd time making it and its too much flower. Too think and heavy instead of fluffy and soft.

        1. This pancake is not at all like a regular pancake, it’s more like a crepe. Although not heavy, it does not rise and it is not meant to be fluffy and soft. If you want one that is, do a search for pancakes and the buttermilk one might be more to your liking.

  10. I found an old recipe with a delicious variation.
    Brown the apples in butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in 12 inch oven proof pan…
    Make the pancake mixture separately….THEN add mixture to apples,
    place in 425 degree oven….20 minutes
    Even good warmed over the next day.
    L.G.

  11. I just made a German/Dutch/now American pancake. I followed your directions to a tee. I pulled it out of a preheated 450 degree oven after 20 minutes. The pancake itself was too thick. What’s up with that and how do I correct? Thank you so much.

    1. So many things can contribute to a different end result and it’s difficult for me to know exactly what from my perspective but I am guessing you used large or extra eggs? Regular AP flour? If using the same exact ingredients, then I would suggest you add a bit more liquid the next time; the mixture is not thick when it goes into the pan and in all the years I’ve made them I’ve not had that issue. Or another thought…how large is your skillet? It would have to be a minimum of 9-10 inches; anything smaller would obviously result in a thicker pancake. Hope that helps Glen!

      1. I used regular large eggs, all purpose flour, and a 10.25 inch cast iron skillet from cracker barrel. I did sift the four and salt. Also I used weight of 4 1/4 oz to equal one cup of flour. The elevation where I live is 3,780 feet. Could that impact the thickness? I will add more milk next time to see what happens.

        1. Those all sound fine Glen. I’m at 5280 feet and I know sometimes we need a bit extra liquid because the dry air impacts the moisture content in flour. I don’t indicate those details because my site is not geared towards high altitude even if I live there. I’m going to weigh some flour in a bit; curious now. I will say I’ve only made this at altitude since I’ve lived in Denver for so long. Hope you do give it another try; we love them.

        2. Oh Glen…I seriously laughed out loud when I saw your comment; so glad you took a leap of faith and tried again and evidently liked it! Thanks for the chuckle and congrats!

  12. I started reading your article and had to let you know that Dutch is from Pennsylvania Dutch. They were of German decent.

    We are the sons and daughters of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Some were Brethren, Reformed, Lutheran, Mennonite, Amish, Catholic or of other faiths. They came to America from Switzerland, Germany, and the eastern parts of France or wherever the German language was spoken before 1800. They came to Pennsylvania first.

    I just googled it. There is additional history if you want to look it up.

    1. Interesting Jan because I did not write this article without seeking information…on the Dutch Baby, on why the area in St. Louis was so named and more. I’m sure they are all inter-related but for my article it was about the word Deutsch being mangled…maybe the same happened in Pennsylvania, you don’t mention any of them being from Holland!

  13. I still have the original article Sunset Magazine did with the recipe of the “Dutch Bsby” from the Seattle restaurant. 3 generations of my family have usedthat article to make this treat for MANY breakfasts….both special occasion and Jay because. Thank you for the history lesson of where it originated and how the name “Dutch Baby” came about.

    1. Wow…how very cool is that? We do the same; it’s a tradition for holidays but also so easy it sneaks in for just regular days too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. You can do it in a blender but you don’t want to incorporate too much air, there is a more a chance that it might puff up before it’s cooked through and then fall. Just blend until mixed well.

  14. Thanks for the post. I appreciate the history behind the recipe. We’ll call them German Pancakes from now on!

  15. Hi,
    I just sent you an email about helping me with my food blog, and decided to stroll around your web site. I found your adorable picture of your grandparent’s house. I have my grandparent’s house in my cookbook and plan to put it on my blog. I love your picture and the darling story that goes with it about the scrubby Dutch. So cute. Now you have won me because you are also sentimental about your family and memories and I can’t wait for you to contact me and help me with my blog.

    1. I sure loved my Grandma Joan…you don’t read much about my mom on these pages though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. these are one of the things that can give me heart palpitations at the thought of making. don’t get me wrong when I do, they are delish, but I can’t count on them raising properly every time. they will be a success one time and the next I’ll make them the same way, in the same pan, in the same oven and I’ll get a flat, somewhat dense “cake”. still tastes good but not what I intended. I’ve baked them in a heavy skillet. I’ve even dragged out the old rusty cast iron from the camping box. they’ve been baked in expensive calphalon, in pie pans, in disposable pie pans. they’ve come out both high and light and flat. never know which way they’ll turn out. I’ve even contacted local restaurants that serve them to ask if they have any clues as to this phenomenon. none. do you have any advice?

    1. It’s hard to say Mel but I can only guess it’s the eggs since there is no leavening. While you want to blend them well, beating them too much before it goes in the oven might see it deflate after it starts cooking since. I also typically use extra large or at least large eggs; make sure yours aren’t too small. I’ve never had a problem so it’s very hard to discern what is exactly going on so hoping a bit more trial and error will help.

    2. Mel,

      I can almost guarantee what is happening to your Babies! My daughter had
      The same problem with hers until we watched her make them.
      After you have warmed the pans or skillets up in the oven, what do you do with the
      butter? 1. Do you drop the pats in and allow them to melt, or 2. Do you swish the
      butter around and up thr sides? If your answer was 2. You will continue to
      get lovely, cake like Dutch Babies.
      Leave the butter to melt, and pour in yout batter. You will soon have your hearts desire,
      a tall pouffy golden brown Dutch Baby to eat alone or share with a loved one!

  17. Heavenly indeed! My mom is German and made German pancakes for us quite often while growing up. They were always a favorite and I remember watching them puff up through the oven window. I haven’t one in way too long. When I left home I was confused by the name Dutch babies (and Dutch friends of mine didn’t like this at all!). I appreciate you clarifying where this originated. Hooray for German pancakes!

    1. My kids loved that too; it was the absolute ‘must have’ if they had friends sleep over! Yes Hannah…Hooray is right! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Few know but as someone with German ancestry I have to get the word out, right? Nothing Dutch about them! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Barbara, a beautiful recipe and informative story. I blogged a blueberry and white chocolate ‘Dutch baby’ inspired by another blog I had visited… I had not heard of these prior to that… not as German pancakes nor Dutch babies. (I have a little German background mixed in with Magyar and Czech too) : ).

    1. I’m sure that no one making something like this and calling it a Dutch Baby has a clue; being part German and knowing the story I want to educate where I can…of course with a recipe too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. What a delightful read this is. Thank you for a wonderful post and your grandparents’ home was charming.

    I will soon be trying this when the teen’s friends come home. This many not be her grand mom’s recipe, but she will say this is Aunt Barb’s recipe with a lot of pride.

    1. I loved their home so much. I remember the big, warm kitchen, the stairs we used to loved to bump down on our rear and the beautiful stained glass window on that stairwell. It seemed so big and you know what’s funny, I never noticed the shape like I did when I found it online…I just remember the big front porch!

  20. I loved this post and as I had never heard of Dutch Babies or German Pancakes I truly enjoyed the history lesson. Your grandparent’s house is so charming! How wonderful that you have this picture of it.

    I recall my Mother telling us how the German People were obsessive about keeping their home and properties spotless all the time. She came to know this from visiting Germany when we lived overseas from 1955 to 1960. I don’t remember our visits there but I do remember her speaking of them. My husband has visited Germany as well and loved it.

  21. I remember when I first heard about Dutch Babies, and thought it must be some exotic treat. Then I had my first one — and found out it was a German pancake! Really good, of course, but something I was very familiar with. Super recipe, and totally fun read. Really enjoyable post — glad you brought this back.

  22. Loved hearing about your grandmother, St. Louis and the history of this German pancake. I’ll have to try making this and serving it in a more traditional way. It sounds like simple perfection with butter, powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Lovely!

  23. I’ve had a taste of a variety of pancakes as my children just love them but, I never had the chance to make German pancakes or what you call the Dutch Baby ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for providing the options to serve it up as per an individual’s taste; mine would be served with butter (melted), powdered sugar and roasted almonds. I’m sure my kids are going to love them as much as I enjoy making them. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Your kids will love it I’m sure; sort of a crepe like final product. Now…just to be clear; I don’t call them Dutch Babies. I’m German…that’s sort of an mixed up name made by people who didn’t want to go to the trouble to pronounce Deutsch (German)! Seems silly doesn’t it because in using the incorrect word they’re now often associated with the wrong country entirely! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. This looks delicious. I am definitely going to try this recipe.

    By the way, there is a lot of mixing up the words Dutch and Deutsch, but they aren’t the same. Dutch refers to origins from The Netherlands, Deutsch refers to something originated from Germany. They have some similarities, since the two countries are neighbours, but are still very different at the same time.

    Hmm, I wonder if I still have time to make this for lunch. It sure looks yummilicious!

  25. Dutch babies are wonderful! In college, one of my favorite traditions was to visit Plums Cafe in Costa Mesa, CA. They had the BEST Dutch Babies, made to order. Back in the day, you could also get with it bottomless mimosas… for $4.95. Wonderful for Sunday brunch.

    Dutch babies are so easy to make, but for some reason, we hardly ever do it. Have to remedy that soon.

    Agree they’re more like crepes. ๐Ÿ™‚

    [K]

  26. oh my gah. i love this. the pancakes look thin enough to enjoy like a stack of 10! i love it. and the little lemons are so cute! and i love the name scrubby dutch.

  27. I have always wondered where the term “dutch baby” came from and now I have the answer!! Started making these a few years ago and they are now a family favorite/staple!! My kids love them with maple syrup or blueberry compote but for me I’d be all over those beautiful apples!!
    Are the houses in the photo where your grandparents lived?? They are so cute and so different from what I grew up with – definitely jealous!!!

    P.S. – Your photography just gets better and better!!!

  28. I love making the Dutch Baby. It’s so easy and yummy and it always looks so amazing when it comes out of the oven. My hubs hates the name though, so I’ve started calling it the giant oven-baked pancake, but that’s just when he’s around.

  29. Oh, yes. You are in for big trouble in Germany if you forget to sweep the street in front of your house on Saturday! You will be the talk of the whole village and you really don’t want that to happen, ever.
    My Apfelpfannkuchen look different. They are very big, but don’t have this high rim. I have never seen anybody in Germany baking them with this high rim, but I have seen this in many American recipes for their German style pancakes. Do you know why, Barb? My family also puts the thin sliced apple pieces directly in the batter. We sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the top and eat them with soup for lunch. Thanks for the reminder. I will have to bake some for my family soon. You made me hungry for pancakes now.

    1. This one went a bit nuts Kirsten, even I have to admit. I’ve done them both ways, with apples in the dough and without…and my girls just always loved the big puffy pancake without! This time around…the back half actually got sort of hung up on the rack above, I was very lucky that I easily got it unstuck!

      I actually used a 12″ cast iron skillet so I upped the ingredients a bit…next time think I will stick to the same amount of ingredients and just shorten the cooking time; this was literally 4 inches high on one side (they do settle a bit once out of the oven thankfully).

  30. Oh this is too funny! Great minds think alike ๐Ÿ™‚ Yours came out so much better than mine though. Yum! I can’t wait to make this nest weekend. XOXO

  31. I can definitely use the word . . . this looks “delicious”. I am so glad to know that this recipe works at high altiitude. This definitely looks like a spring break treat for my kids.

  32. My mom’s family is German, and it was so nice getting to be reminded of my Oma and her appfelkuchen this morning. Thanks so much for posting.

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