I don’t like to go out for weekend brunch. When I’m craving a big Belgian waffle or a few pancakes I mix up a quick batter at home, still in my pajamas and away from the crowds. When I’m feeling particularly festive, I’ll forgo the whole wheat flour and pour a box of cake mix into a bowl and make a thick, sprinkle-flecked batter. Cake mix waffles are possibly the easiest way to have dessert for breakfast, with cake batter pancakes a close second. Whether it’s your birthday brunch or you’re simply celebrating the weekend with breakfast in bed, you can’t go wrong with a Devil’s food waffle or tall stack of Funfetti pancakes.
Cake batter waffles are simple: just powdery mix, some fat, and a binding agent. Their simplicity is yet another reason for my firm commitment to #teamwaffle. Whisk together a box of your favorite flavor of cake mix with 1 cup of water or milk, ⅓ cup safflower oil, and 3 eggs. Heat up a waffle iron and spritz with cooking spray. Ladle in a spoonful or two of the batter and cook until the waffle is crisp. Stash the waffle in a 300ºF oven to stay warm while you make more.
Smear chocolate waffles with Greek yogurt and blueberry jam; drizzle French vanilla waffles with maple or chocolate syrup; serve Funfetti waffles with a plop of whipped cream and a shower of sprinkles. Or top your waffles with whatever you want. Delight yourself.
Cake-pancake batter needs a little more attention. The pancakes have to stand on their own in the pan, so naturally the mixture is a bit needier. Dump a box of cake mix into a bowl and whisk in 1¼ cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and a couple pinches of kosher salt. Mix in three eggs, ¼ cup safflower oil, and 2 cups milk. Heat a nonstick pan or griddle over medium high and grease with a few teaspoons of oil or butter. Just before frying the pancakes, add a few good splashes of very bubbly club soda—this helps make even fluffier pancakes.
Flick a few drops of water into the pan to test that it’s hot enough; if the water drops dance and sizzle, you’re good to go. Scoop batter out with a ¼ cup measuring cup and pour into the pan. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, flip, and cook for another few minutes. As with any pancake recipe, cooking time will vary depending on your stove’s power, specific pan choice, phase of the moon, and other such important factors. If you happen to burn the first pancake, just adjust the heat and go on with your life.
Layer a stack of red velvet pancakes with cream cheese; drizzle lemon pancakes with a powdered sugar and water glaze; and try spiced or gingerbread pancakes spread with melted almond butter mixed with maple syrup.