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Mini Pancakes on a Tin Can Stove

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Adjust Servings:
100g Plain White Flour
2 Eggs
200-300ml Semi-skimmed Milk Add slowly, you might need a bit less depending on your flour
1 Tbsp + extra for cooking Olive Oil Veg oil works well too
Pinch Salt
1 Tsp Sugar
To serve
Lemon Juice

Mini Pancakes on a Tin Can Stove

Are you doing Pancake Tuesday wrong?


    A great Cub Scout activity for Pancake Tuesday

    • Serves 6
    • Easy


    • To serve



    This week, Cub Scouts all around the country will be tucking into some delicious pancakes for Shrove Tuesday. I just wanted to take a moment to challenge you to think about why. Sure it’s Pancake or Shrove Tuesday and it’s tradition but is this a missed learning opportunity for your young people? I’ve spoken to a few Cub Scout Scouters and other adults who will be celebrating on Tuesday and most will admit, that their young people don’t get much out of it. The adults will do the cooking, the children do the eating.

    So what’s the point?

    I’ve spoken before about learning intentions and in almost every activity you do, there should be some clear learning taking place. This might be a “hard skill” such as, how to put up an Icelandic patrol tent. Skills can also be “soft”; teamwork and communication would be examples of soft skills. If the young people are aware of the learning intention behind an activity, they can assess and review their learning more effectively afterwards. So what is the learning intention for eating pancakes?

    Mini pancakes dusted with sugar

    That’s up to you, the Scouter, to work out. Make this Pancake Tuesday fit your overall plans. Don’t let it be a standalone activity that has little to no point. Most of you will do this without thinking about it, so all I’m asking is you put a bit of thought into the value of these sorts of activities.

    So if you’re cooking up pancakes this Shrove Tuesday, here are some ways you can integrate a valuable learning intention into this crowd pleasing calendar staple.

    Camping – Regardless of your theme, you should get your cubs to measure and mix up the pancake batter. Don’t buy the ready-mix jobs. For the amount you’re making, it’ll be way cheaper and tastier and healthier and more natural, if you make your own. I’ve put a basic recipe on this post which should make 6-8 “normal” sized crepes.

    Hillwalking – Use this as an opportunity to teach Cubs about your gas stoves, get them to connect them up, turn the gas on and fired up. You could also talk about the dangers of carbon monoxide (one time Doyle and I had the Fire Brigade at our Cub den after we set the alarm off).

    Backwoods – Use this as opportunity to get the children to light the fires you’ll be cooking over. Introduce a different fire lay. Use tools safely to prepare the firewood. There’s loads here!

    I thought I’d share a Scouting activity that young people have been doing all over the world for years.

    Mini Pancakes on Tin Can Stoves This Pancake Tuesday

    The drink can wasn’t as effective

    If you’re looking at recycling or some other environmental topic (maybe you’re doing the new Eco Badge?)  you might consider these tin can stoves this Pancake Tuesday as a repurposing project. First off, make sure the can you use isn’t lined on the inside with plastic. Give the cans a really good wash at home. Have an adult Scouter poke a load of holes in the can. You’ll need more holes than you think to let the required amount of oxygen in. If you’re doing this activity outside, keep all the holes on one side, this will allow you to turn it away from the wind.

    I raised the candle a little with another candle

    If you’re inside, a tealight when generate enough heat to cook your pancakes. Outside, because of induction, wind will cool everything down. You can still use a tealight but raise it up a bit so that it’s closer to the upturned base. Or you can use a bigger candles! I found the bean can worked better than the drink can. The drink can ones just wouldn’t seem to crisp up. These aren’t the prettiest pancakes I’ve ever made but I was starting to get the hang of it. They tasted good too, I shared my recipe below.

    A Note on Safety

    An adult should probably make the stoves as part of a tool demo or have them made in advance. The sharp edges of cut metal cans are dangerous so be aware of that. I was able to cut the heavier bean can with a pair of good scissors, the drinks can I used a penknife. I also used a pair of pliers to fold the sharp edges back inside the can. Tell cubs to keep fingers out of the inside. Even where you poke the holes will have sharp edges inside.

    These cans also get hot. I was easily able to hold the bottom of the can but it was hot at the top. Be aware of hot, melted wax too when you’re cleaning up. Cubs should be able to cook their own pancakes on these stoves with a bit of supervision. I’d try to get one or two stoves going per Six.


    This is a Cub Scout activity and to be honest, it’s a bit of a gimmick older ones will see through. If you want to try something a bit more functional with your older sections this Pancake Tuesday, you could try this Banana Pancake recipe which also makes a great camp brunch!

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    In a mixing bowl, add the flour, salt and sugar. Crack in the two eggs and whisk up with a fork. When it starts to get too dry, add a splash of the milk. Keep whisking. You're looking a pouring cream consistency add the milk in little bits until you're happy with it. Don't just bung in the milk, depending on the age and dryness of your flour, it'll need a different amount - even air humidity affects this! Set aside to rest for at least half an hour. Use this time to make your stoves! I poured mine into a squeezy bottle.


    Light the candles under or in your stoves and let them heat up. Add a dribble of oil to the tops and spread around with a piece of kitchen roll. When the stovetops are hot, pour in a little of the pancake batter and let it sizzle away! When wee bubbles start to appear, flip them over and cook on the other side. I found a butter knife to be an effective flipper for these mini pancakes.


    If you're letting your cubs to do, and I definitely recommend you do if you can put appropriate supervision in place, let them eat them as they come off the stove when they're hot. Sprinkle with a little sugar and drizzle with lemon juice.

    Mark T

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