One luxury in the kitchen, to my mind, is owning hyper-specific cookware and tools—a tamagoyaki pan, say, or a cast-iron fish pan, or a humble but elegant mushroom brush. For the flapjack fanatic, there’s the pancake pan, designed to make perfectly golden and uniform cakes. Now you can buy one designed by Takashi Murakami that turns batter into edible art: specifically, one of the famous smiling flowers that populate his anime- and manga-influenced works.
Sold via the NTWRK app, a livestream video shopping platform, the pan features a pixelated flower based on what was supposed to be Murakami’s first NFT. While that venture has been put on hold, the pans dropped as scheduled in mid December, with 275 units for sale at $40 a pop. Each features a sturdy, lightweight cast-iron base (induction cooktop–friendly!) that can make a pancake about five and a half inches in diameter, and a pale-turquoise handle graced by five cheery flower figures.
I put one of these babies to the test on a recent weekend, particularly excited to try a sourdough discard recipe that a friend had recommended. But as the batter began bubbling, I realized the pan’s inherent flaw: Its jagged border that outlines a dozen angular “petals.” Because my spatula wouldn’t fit under the bronzing edges, I resorted to using a butter knife to lift up one corner before executing the flip. This bit of gymnastics can be tricky enough with a circular pan; attempting to land your pancake exactly within the pan’s angular contours is a grueling task no one should have to face before breakfast. (To the credit of Murakami’s team, they did release an edition of this flower pan that is perfectly round.)
That said, I had no problem with batter sticking (I’d pre-slicked the pan) and managed to achieve pretty good definition on my second attempt—though don’t expect to get a perfect imprint on both sides of your pancake. The flowers certainly looked cute on my plate, but personally, I don’t love breakfast pancakes enough to bother with such painstaking effort. Given the pan’s pleasantly compact size, I’ll probably use it one day for my pancake of choice, okonomiyaki—though the 8-bit pattern is unlikely to transfer to a loaded egg.