Daddy Cakes Bakery is holding a Father's Day Pancake Brunch this Saturday, June 20th, from 10:00am-12:00noon at the Whole Foods in the Tustin District. Dads dine for free! Everyone else pays only $5. All proceeds go to a local food bank. See you guys there!
Disclosure: Daddy Cakes Bakery generously sent Chubbypanda.com samples of their pancake mixes to review. However, it was agreed that a review was not required. Daddy Cakes exercised no editorial control or content approval over this article. The following is my unvarnished opinion of their products.)
I've never been fond of commercial pancake mixes. Call it either a distrust of processed foods or simple food snobbery, but I've never been able to convince myself that a powder from a bag can produce a pancake equal to the ones I make from scratch. It might just be bad childhood memories of my mom's attempts with Bisquick Pancake Mix. I don't know if it was the mix or the fact that pancakes weren't something she grew up with in Taiwan, but the final product always had a gluey, gummy texture and bitter aftertaste that left much to be desired.
For the past ten years, I've muddled along happily with a recipe of my own devising, using both the Joy of Cooking and Alton Brown's instructions on making your own pancake mix. However, I was captivated by the story of a local pancake mix business made good. Daddy Cakes Bakery, a Newport Beach company founded in 2007, is the brainchild of two brothers who are also fathers. They started out with the goal of making a healthy pancake mix for their kids, but decided to try selling the final product to the general public. Two years later, their line of amusingly named mixes is being carried by gourmet markets throughout Orange County, including Whole Foods in Tustin, Sprouts in Irvine, and several Mother's Markets. As a staunch supporter of local businesses, I had to give them a shot.
(Quirky sense of humor.)
Dan Byers, one of the founders, generously sent Chubbypanda.com a crate of their products to review. Cat and I expected to get one or two sample packs. What arrived was nearly their entire line of pancake/waffle mixes - Better Batter Buttermilk, Sensuous Strawberry Sensations, Sinful Cinnamon, Criminal Chocolate, Glamorous Gingerbread, Vivacous Vanilla, and Bountiful Buckwheat. Most of Daddy Cakes' mixes are vegan; a few are vegetarian.
Our initial impressions were favorable. The mixes seemed uniform, with little separation between heavier and lighter elements. By following the instructions on the packaging, we able to able to create airy batters with good cohesion. We found that 90g of mix and 71mL of water produced nine 2-inch (5.1cm) pancakes, a nice portion for 1-2 people. We incorporated the water and pancake mix using the standard method of aerating the mix, adding the water on top, and then stirring gently for just enough time to bring the two together. To minimize gluten formation, we allowed for somewhat lumpy batter. We also allowed each batch of batter to rest for five minutes before cooking. All of the test batches were cooked in a lightly oiled, 18-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Cooking time was approximately 3 minutes for the first side and 1 minute for the second, although times will vary based on batter thickness, stove strength, and cooking vessel.
By far the best Daddy Cakes mix we tried was the Vivacious Vanilla. The pancakes made from this mix were very fluffy, with a soothing vanilla flavor and no bitter aftertaste. Cat was enthralled. To date, we've purchased and used five additional packages of Vivacious Vanilla from the Tustin Whole Foods.
The Better Batter Buttermilk came in a close second. It was very similar to the Vivacious Vanilla, although without the extra flavoring. This is Daddy Cakes' core product. I found it superior for a number of additional culinary applications, including crepes, waffles, frying batter, and beignets. I'm ashamed to admit that this batter produces a better pancake than my own from-scratch recipe. It's also noticeable better than other pancake mixes I've tried in the past.
The Bountiful Buckwheat Buttermilk is less sweet than the others, with a pleasantly nutty aroma. Using the 90g:71mL ratio, this mix produced thinner, crispier pancakes.
On the other hand, the Criminal Chocolate Chip made much heftier cakes using the same 90g:71mL ratio. Streaked with chocolate and with a good chew, this mix is sure to please the munchkins while remaining relatively healthy.
The Sensuous Strawberry Sensations mix is another surefire kid pleaser. It's lighter than the Criminal Chocolate Chip, but packed with even more strawberry flavor. It might be too intense and sweet for adults, though. I found myself oddly reminded of strawberry Froot Loops cereal.
Even punchier is the Sinful Cinnamon, which Cat commented was perfect for those in love with that tropical spice. However, if you're only in like with cinnamon, or even indifferent, it's a bit much.
The Glamorous Gingerbread was intriguing. Dotted with small pieces of ginger spice caramel, these cakes emit a heady bouquet. However, like the Sinful cinnamon, it might be too extreme from anyone who isn't absolutely in love with gingerbread. Like all of Daddy Cakes' mixes, it remains a quality product.
Daddy Cakes Bakery - Excellent products for parents or professionals who need to be able to put together a healthy meal quickly. Just add some fresh fruit, maybe a little turkey sausage, and you've got a nutritious breakfast low on additives. As for me, I'm not about to retire my own recipe just yet. But, Daddy Cakes has raised the bar. Until I can make a pancake better than theirs, I'll probably be buying many more packs of Vivacious Vanilla to keep up with Cat's growing appetite for them.
Daddy Cakes® International, LLC
517 Superior Avenue
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Toll Free 1-800-315-1928
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