Ah, the sweet and fluffy morning treat that are flapjacks—or are they pancakes?
If you are from the US, you may look at these two as one and the same.
However, our friends from the UK know just how different flapjacks and pancakes are.
Pancakes are round and flat cakes made from a thin batter mixture of eggs, milk, flour, oil or butter, and a leavening agent (such as baking powder).
In comparison, flapjacks are baked bars made of oats, butter, brown sugar, and golden syrup.
Already sweet in nature, you won’t need toppings or fillings to accompany a British flapjack. On the other hand, we love putting all kinds of things on top of pancakes, including fruits, nuts, and maybe even a handful of chocolate chips.
Still confused? Let’s take a closer look at each one.
ARE FLAPJACKS AND PANCAKES THE SAME THING?
As mentioned, whether flapjacks and pancakes are the same depends mainly on where you are in the world and where you’re from.
They are very different if you are British but are practically the same thing if you are an American.
Before we give them an even more in-depth look, let us first define each.
WHAT IS A FLAPJACK?
A flapjack is a type of dense, oat-based bar that is made sweet using brown sugar and golden syrup.
You can have them in the morning to pair with a cup of coffee or tea, giving you a burst of energy.
If that’s not your thing, you can also eat flapjacks as a dessert to end a nice meal.
These sweet and filling oven-baked treats are easy to prepare and take just a couple of minutes to whip up.
While it is called pancake in the US, the Brits call flapjacks muesli bars, granola bars, cereals bars, or oat bars.
WHAT IS A PANCAKE?
A mainstay in most tables during breakfasts, pancakes are thin, flat cakes fried on both sides.
This is done in a flat pan to give the cake a slightly crispy edge.
Then, they are stacked on top of each other and drizzled with honey or maple syrup.
To add more flavor and a variety of textures, they are also often paired with jam and fruits like banana or strawberry.
Pancakes are also known for their other names, which are hotcakes and griddlecakes.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FLAPJACK VS PANCAKE
As among the oldest recipes prepared and cooked by early society, many are curious to know more about pancakes.
For one, we’ve learned that they are not the same as flapjacks and actually differ in a couple of things, including:
Cakes made from pan-fried batter have a long and interesting history, which is why different versions exist worldwide.
From the West to the East and the North to the South, almost every country has its own version of these round flat cakes.
The recipe is found in ancient Roman and Greek history, where flat cakes were made sweet and eaten with a drizzle of honey.
On the contrary, the Elizabethans enjoyed these starch-based cakes with apples, rosewater, sherry, and a mix of several spices.
Like pancakes, flapjacks have also been around for hundreds of years.
Some claims even say that they have been a favorite treat as early as 1600’s England.
Both pancakes and flapjacks are easy treats you can prepare in a snap.
There are also no special ingredients used, so you won’t need to search long and hard for ingredients.
Basically, to make pancakes, you only need eggs, flour, milk, a kind of leavening agent, and butter.
More modern versions also include vanilla extract and sugar to achieve a sweeter taste.
For the final touch, many prefer a drizzling of honey or maple syrup or even a swirl or two of whipped cream.
In making flapjacks, you would need butter, oats, sugar, and golden syrup to hold everything together.
Some even personalize it and add chocolate chips, chia seeds, peanut butter, nuts, or dried fruits.
METHOD OF COOKING
The cooking method is yet another aspect where flapjacks and pancakes differ.
Cooking pancakes requires the use of a stove and a flat pan, while flapjacks are cooked in the oven.
You can use either a conventional or convection oven to bake flapjacks or even try baking them in an air fryer.
Just remember to adjust the baking time and temperature so as not to dry them out and ruin the entire batch.
Since pancakes are made of a thin batter cooked in a flat pan, they will naturally take on a circular shape.
It can be any size you want, but make sure it will be easy to flip and that every inch is cooked properly.
In the same way, flapjacks can also be any size and shape you want as long as the mixture fits in your baking tray.
Once baked and cooled down, you simply cut it into squares as you would when making brownies.
Perfectly cooked pancakes are fluffy and tender on the inside and have a crispy, golden-brown exterior.
To achieve this texture, make sure not to overbeat the batter.
Doing so activates the gluten in the mixture too much that the end-results become rather chewy and dry.
It should be just the right thinness that you can pour it easily but not so much that it’s almost liquid-y.
What about flapjacks?
Sweet and compact, flapjacks are cookie-like treats that are almost the exact opposite of fluffy pancakes when it comes to texture.
Rather, they are the same size and thickness as brownies and have a chewy texture ideal for pairing with tea or coffee.
British flapjacks and American pancakes may satisfy your sweet cravings, but don’t confuse one with the other.
Technically speaking, flapjacks are the old-school rolled oats bars we enjoy and love eating as a quick snack.
These are baked and have a chewy texture. They are also known for their other names, which are oats bars, muesli bars, or granola bars.
On the other hand, pancakes are round, thin, flat cakes cooked in fry pans and fried on both sides.
They are best eaten stacked on top of each other.
You then drizzle them with your choice of syrup and top them off with anything from fruits and nuts to whipped cream.