Faith Kramer
Past President, Hadassah Oakland Ruach Chapter

Celebrate Mother’s Day or Shavuot with Pretty-in-Pink Pancake Cake

Photo courtesy of the author.
Photo courtesy of the author.

Every year, I try to come up with a recipe that works for both Mother’s Day and Shavuot. Pretty-in-Pink Pancake Cake Slathered with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting makes a great Mother’s Day brunch entrée or a dessert for either occasion. Fluffy, tangy yogurt pancakes are stacked with a creamy, slightly sweet strawberry cream cheese filling and lots of fresh berries. Use my recipe, below, or defrost store-bought frozen pancakes for an even easier treat.

Shavuot, an ancient wheat-harvest holiday, celebrates the giving of the Torah. The cake allows us to fulfill the tradition of eating wheat and dairy on the holiday. This year, Shavuot is observed from the evening of May 25 through the evening of May 26, in Israel, and through the evening of May 27, outside of Israel.

Photo courtesy of the author.

In the US, this year’s Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14. This no-oven-needed, easy-to-make-ahead-of-time recipe is a tasty celebration for mothers and anyone else who deserves recognition for her caring and nurturing.

It’s through my involvement with Hadassah that Mother’s Day has come to mean more to me than flowers, cards and cake. I have seen the work the Hadassah Medical Organization, Hadassah’s medical center in Jerusalem, does for mothers and children. My local Hadassah group, the Oakland Ruach Chapter, and the Hadassah Central Pacific Coast Region of which it is part, have sponsored programs supporting women’s health in Israel and here at home. We also support Hadassah’s Youth Aliyah villages in Israel, which provide wraparound services for children without stable home environments or who are at risk in other ways.

Pretty-in-Pink Pancake Cake
Serves 4-6

Yogurt pancakes, room temperature (see below)
Strawberry cream cheese frosting, room temperature (see below)
2 cups thinly sliced strawberries
6 large, whole strawberries
1 tbsp. minced fresh mint

Place pancake on a serving plate. Spread ½ cup of frosting on top, almost to the edge of the pancake. Top with one third of the sliced strawberries. Repeat with the next two layers. Place the fourth pancake on top. Spread with remaining frosting.

Slice each whole strawberry into two long halves. Then arrange on top of cake. Scatter mint on top. Cut with a long, serrated knife to serve.

To make in advance, omit strawberry garnish and mint. Store in refrigerator on a plate with large bowl flipped upside down to enclose cake (or use a cake keeper). Refrigerate for up to one day. Remove from the refrigerator 45 minutes to 1 hour before serving. Garnish with halved strawberries and mint.

Yogurt Pancakes
Makes 4 pancakes|
2 cups flour
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
3 large eggs
2 cups plain yogurt (not Greek style)
4 tbsp. melted butter, divided
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. grated lemon zest, optional

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl until well combined.

Separate eggs, putting yolks in a large bowl and whites in a small one. Beat yolks, then add yogurt, 2 tbsp. butter, vanilla extract and zest. Mix well. Stir flour into the wet ingredients mixing until just combined. Do not over mix; lumpy is okay.

Whisk the egg whites until very foamy. Fold into the batter and stir gently to combine.

Lightly brush a skillet with melted butter. Heat over medium heat. Pour 1 cup batter into the middle of pan. Use a spoon to scrape out all the batter from the measuring cup and to shape the pancake into a 6- to 7-inch round.

Cook about 3 to 4 minutes until bottom is browned, top is set and small bubbles are beginning to appear (adjust heat as needed). Use two spatulas to carefully flip pancake. Use a spatula to push any batter splats or drips back into the pancake. Cook about 1 to 2 minutes until the bottom is brown. Move the pancake to a cooling rack. Repeat 3 more times, adding more butter to pan as needed.

Use or wrap once cooled. To store, wrap airtight between layers of wax paper. Refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before using.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 2 cups
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature (see note)
2 tbsp. strawberry jam
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Put cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Beat on high with electric mixer until very smooth (about 1 to 2 minutes). Add jam and mix on medium until incorporated. Add sugar. Mix on medium until frosting is smooth and fluffy (about 1 to 2 minutes). Use or refrigerate sealed airtight for up to 1 day. Return to room temperature. Stir well before using.

Note: Use brick-style, foil-wrapped cream cheese.

About the Author
Faith Kramer, a former president and current board member of the Hadassah Oakland Ruach Chapter, is a member of the Hadassah Writers' Circle. The California-based food writer is the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” (The Collective Book Studio). She writes a twice-a-month recipe column for the J, Northern California’s Jewish News Source. See more about her cookbook, other writing, and recipes at She can be reached at
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