Friday, 7 June 2013

Batter-cake Batter-cake, Baker's Man

The lack of an established farmers' market in Stoke-on-Trent has long been a mystery to me. As I discuss in a recent article, I believe a market such as the monthly one in Stone, should be held in varying locations across the City to draw people in to our 6 Towns and keep them there.

This drive and desire to take locally produced food and drink around the area is mainly derived from my regular visits to Stone. The market there plays host to an amazing array of products and draws a huge amount of people from all across the county.

As is always the case, every stall had numerous punters gathered to sample their wares but one in particular grabbed my attention on my last visit.
Battercakes was founded in 2011 by husband and wife team Bob and Gill. Inspired by a passion to experiment with different forms of cooking and different foods, Gill made the move from selling Eco friendly products at the farmers' market to selling pancakes. However these were not your typical pancake. Gill explained' "I think I received some sort of catalogue which had this very peculiar pan for sale. I was intrigued and after trawling the net I discovered that this pan was of  Danish origin for a product called Aebelskiver – apple pancake."

Gill immediately recognised the potential for a varied and much more interesting range of fillings and following a great deal of research, ‘playing’ with the pan and tweaking recipes, Battercakes was born.

Gill at Stone Farmers' Market
Gill continued, "Our product is unique in the world of spherical pancakes in that the pancake is hollow and the steam chamber we create is perfect for melting the sweet or savoury fresh fillings we insist on." Battercakes (the name is based on the nursery rhyme - pat a cake pat a cake - baker's man) are totally gluten free as Bob and Gill didn't want to exclude some of their friends from their discovery and the gluten free also proved the most popular at a blind tasting.

"There is a huge void in street food for people who cannot tolerate wheat or gluten based products. Burgers, hotdogs, sausage rolls, wraps are all out of some people's diet, I wanted to provide something to fill that void", Gill added.

Many things combine to make these wonderous golden globes including the correct batter and the working temperature of the cast iron pan but the batter remains a secret recipe!

I stood absorbed as I watched Bob carry out the delicate cooking process. My description could never be as accurate as a previous customer however. "Once we had a little boy who spent a long time watching Bob cook the Battercakes while he was waiting for his Mum to arrive. Once she did he explained with such glee that she should watch the Battercakes cook 'as the man twists them 90 degrees and then 71 degrees and then finishes with a 30 degree twist!' Maybe he does – but we weren’t aware of the technicalities!!!!"

Bob and Gill have day jobs but as their popularity grows, they hope to take Battercakes to more markets and festivals and then move forward from there.

And their particular favourites? "The black cherry and dark chocolate, though strawberry and white chocolate comes close, and then maybe stem ginger and dark chocolate etc etc".

Battercakes are superb. I popped back to the stall several times, one to watch Bob and Gill at work but also to try the numerous flavour combinations available and I will definitely be going back for more.

Follow Battercakes on Twitter @BattercakeMan and like on Facebook: facebook.com/battercakes






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