How to Make Buckwheat Cakes

Old-fashioned buckwheat cakes like those that are made in Preston County, West Virginia, home of the Buckwheat Festival. A true buckwheat cake is more like a crepe than a pancake with a nutty flavor. Making a good cake is part science, part luck.


  • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) warm milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp. (1 packet) yeast
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cups (90 grams) buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp. (6 grams) salt
  • 2 tbsp. (30 grams) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. (5 grams) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. (2.3 grams) baking soda
  • 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water (may not use all the water)


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    Start the night before by combining the warm milk, yeast, honey, and buckwheat flour in large, non-reactive bowl (pottery works best).
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    Mix well, cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave in warm place overnight. You may want to place the bowl on a cookie sheet because if your starter is especially active, it could overflow the bowl.
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    Continue the next day by adding the rest of the ingredients. You want to add only enough water to make a very thin batter (anywhere from 1/2 to 1 cup); what you are looking for is the consistency of a crepe batter.
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    Reserve 1 cup of the batter for starter for future cakes; refrigerate in a covered jar.
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    Pour ladle of batter onto a hot, well-seasoned griddle; as soon as you pour, take the bottom of the ladle and spread the batter into a thin circle. If done properly, the cakes should very quickly form tiny holes on the surface. Turn once the top is dry.
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  • You can hold the starter in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks before reusing. The longer you keep the starter going, the more sour the cakes get. If they begin to get too sour or the starter doesn’t seem to be active enough, add about a tablespoon of brown sugar and about a teaspoon of yeast (which has been dissolved in a small amount of warm water).
  • Can hold in a 200 degree oven until all the cakes are cooked. Goes especially well with country sausage and applesauce. Serve with lots of butter and maple syrup.
  • The next time you want cakes: Repeat the steps, mixing in the first four ingredients to the reserved starter (milk, yeast, honey and buckwheat flour). Let raise overnight and then proceed with the recipe as before.


  • The starter will separate when stored, with the liquid rising to the top. When that liquid gets a pinkish color, it is time to discard the starter.

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Categories: Pancakes