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Pancakes (or hot cakes, pancakes or pancakes) are flat cakes, usually thin and round, made from starch based batters, which may contain eggs, milk and butter, and cooked on a hot surface, such as pancakes or fryers, often fried with oil or butter. In the UK, pancakes are usually unfermented, similar to kori. In North America, bulking agents (usually baking powder) are used. American pancakes are similar to Scotch pancakes or scones. Archaeological evidence shows that pancakes may be the earliest and most widely distributed cereal food in prehistoric society.

Pancakes vary in shape and structure around the world. The crepe is a thin French origin Brittany pancake that is cooked on one or both sides of a special pan or crepe manufacturer to form a small bubble net similar to lace. A famous variety from southeastern Europe is Pala? Inke, a thin, moist pancake fried on both sides and filled with jam, cream of cheese, chocolate or walnut, but with many other fillings (sweet or salty). When potatoes are used as the main part of the batter, the result is potato pancakes. There are commercial pancake mixes in some countries.

Pancakes can be eaten at any time of the day with a variety of fillings or fillings, including jam, fruit, syrup, chocolate chips or meat, but in the United States they are generally considered breakfast food. Pancakes act like waffles. In the UK and the Commonwealth, they are associated with a second Sunday (often called "Pancake Day") and historically have to run out of perishable ingredients before Lent.