Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Place a nonstick or parchment-lined baking tray on the middle oven rack.
Making the zesty orange-infused maple syrup: Add the maple syrup, orange juice and zest, and star anise to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and lower the heat immediately. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, and strain through a fine mesh sieve.
Making the cornmeal pancake batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. To a medium bowl, add buttermilk, whipping cream and canola oil, and whisk vigorously to blend. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just blended.
Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 teaspoon of the canola oil to the pan. With a small ice cream scoop, add the batter to the pan, and cook until its sides begin to set, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the pancake and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove the pancake to the oven tray, to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter. Do not stack the pancakes until serving, as it compacts them and they lose their "fluffiness."
Serve the pancakes with whipped butter. Smother with the zesty orange-infused maple syrup.
Recipe courtesy of Nadia G.