Hummingbird Pancakes

By Maria “Majo” Acosta Robayo ’20

Growing up with a Chinese Jamaican family of 8, cinnamon apple pancakes were a Saturday morning staple. I used to gather around the older boys as they chopped apples into thin wedges and poured cinnamon sugar swirls on buttermilk batter. This typical breakfast delicacy has been a family tradition for years so I was surprised to hear earlier this month that a new pancake recipe was being introduced: Jamaican Hummingbird Pancakes. Here is the recipe, just as my family makes them. Enjoy!


Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable oil or butter, for frying
  • Banana, pecans and maple syrup for topping (optional)


  1. Heat a large skillet or griddle on medium heat
  2. In a medium bowl, combine pineapple, banana, eggs and milk, whisking until combined. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together.
  3. Incorporate dry ingredients into wet, stirring only until combined.
  4. Once your griddle is hot, liberally grease with oil/butter. Pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto surface. Cook on one side until holes form around edges (about two minutes) then flip and cook on other side for additional 1-2 minutes. Don’t let the pan get too hot — you want a nice even heat.
  5. Serve with banana slices, pecans and a healthy drizzle of maple syrup!


The Friendly Toast: A Perfect Place for Pancake-Lovers

by Caroline Gentile ’17

Whenever I talk to strangers about food (which happens more often than you’d think), my favorite question to ask is, “Where’s your favorite place to have brunch?” Brunch is, after all, the most important meal of the day—nay, week. Over the past year and a half I’ve been in Boston, the most frequent answer to my question has been the Friendly Toast.


Located in the heart of Kendall square—a 30-minute walk from campus, or a 5-minute walk from the Kendall/MIT T-stop—this old-timey-but-still-modern diner is a gem.   Most of the decorations are typical of a classic diner (think old ads for Dr. Scholls and figurines of Barbie from the 60s), but the bright green walls give the place a more modern feel. Overall, the Friendly toast has a very fun and lively atmosphere, especially on a dreary Sunday morning.


Now, for the reason we came: the food. The menu offers both breakfast and lunch options, and many stood out. The oatmeal raisin pancakes with berries and homemade whipped cream and the Rob Roy, a burrito stuffed with chicken, corn salsa, black olives, brown rice, jalapeno jack cheese drizzled with chipotle and Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, both looked tempting. However, my friend and I ultimately settled for the King Cakes—creamy peanut butter sauce sandwiched between two banana chocolate chip pancakes and topped with bacon and homemade whipped cream—and the smoked salmon eggs benedict. I also opted to try the coconut-flavored hot cocoas, and my friend ordered orange juice.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

The orange juice was not fresh-squeezed, the cocoa was obviously made with syrup, and my friend described the eggs benedict as “good but not great”; the toast was too thick and the hollandaise sauce not creamy enough.

However, we both agreed that the pancakes were out of this world. The sinfully rich peanut butter sauce soaked into the fluffy pancakes, giving them the perfect consistency. The pancakes themselves were stuffed with perfectly ripe bananas and chocolate chips, but their sweetness was offset by the crispy bacon. Elvis would be proud to have these pancakes named for him.

King Cakes
King Cakes

If for no other reason, make the trek to Kendall Square to try these pancakes, but be sure to beat the morning rush. We got there at about 9am and barely had to wait, but by 11am, it was packed! That said, those pancakes are worth the wait.