By Dana Spandet

The mission of positivity and inclusiveness is walked and talked by Dana Spandet. She seems at ease as a role model, both as a woman entrepreneur and a proud member of the Milwaukee LGBTQ community. As Spandet describes it, the native Chicagoan came to Milwaukee for a Pride weekend a couple decades ago, and “quite literally never left.” Milwaukee “felt like ‘Cheers’” – where everyone knows your name – a complete contrast to her hometown, where “you feel kind of faceless and anonymous.” The first recipe here – the Dutch baby (or German pancake) – connects her to a certain time in her life and a special person. “In my 20s, brunch was the gay thing. You just did your Saturday, Sunday morning gay brunches. It’s always held a really strong place in my heart as just ‘community,’ and we’ve translated those now to our home,” says Spandet, who is married and raising two children. The pancake is also a powerful reminder of Spandet’s grandmother – it’s her recipe. “Whenever I come home [to her parents], [the dish] I ask my mom to make is Grandma’s Dutch baby. So we have it pretty, pretty frequently there, and my kids are really into it. And it’s just become a family staple,” she says. The finished creation – which has a cavernous, custardy middle and a crisp, airy rim that rises inches above the pan – makes it look more complicated than it is. It also lends itself to so many serving guises. “My mother has never deviated ever from just Dutch baby, powdered sugar, maple syrup.” In Spandet’s hands, the baby is paired with things like grilled stone fruit with basil. The memories are as sweet as the toppings. “It’s such a childhood thing… we would line up in front of the oven at my grandma’s house. She had this big wood-burning cast-iron oven, and we would get to watch it rise.” When it slowly puffs up, “that’s the magical moment.” Any oven-safe skillet will do, but cast-iron is a natural for this baby.


4-6 servings

2 tablespoons oil of choice (olive, avocado, sunflower)

1 cup chopped yellow onion, diced small

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced small

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 medium garlic cloves OR 2 teaspoons crushed garlic

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Optional pinch of cayenne pepper

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons harissa paste (comes in hot or mild, you do you)

3-5 eggs

1/3 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese

1/4 cup fresh cilantro or parsley leaves

1 avocado

Microgreens for garnish (optional)

Toasted bread or naan for serving


Heat the oil in a large, enamel-coated cast-iron skillet (10-12 inches) or a stainless-steel pan over medium heat. Add the onion, red pepper, salt and several grinds of freshly ground pepper, and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about six to eight minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic, paprika, cumin and (if using) cayenne. Stir and let cook for about 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and harissa paste. Simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Make three to five wells in the sauce with the back of a large spoon, and carefully crack the eggs into the holes. Cover and cook until the eggs are set, about five to eight minutes. The timing will depend on how runny you like your egg yolks. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and dress with your cheese of choice, parsley, cilantro, avocado and (if using) microgreens.

Pro Tips


This shakshuka recipe is “extremely adaptable, so feel free to have fun with it! We’ve had it with lentils, chickpeas, lamb sausage merguez, chorizo, pickled red onions on the side, edible flowers, anything for a “wow” factor. Have the best brunch everrrrrr!”


Dana Spandet is the owner and founder of Flour Girl & Flame. She has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, honing her craft and focusing heavily on local sourcing, sustainability, and supporting diverse, small businesses along the way. Spandet is an activist for the LGBTQ+ community and is a board member for Out Families. When not in the kitchen, she’s tending to her urban rooftop apiary or exploring Milwaukee with her wife and two children.

Dana Spandet

Flour Girl & Flame

Dana Spandet

Flour Girl & Flame

About Flour Girl & Flame