Forget about the saying “Flat as a pancake”. The Japanese have a pancake recipe that is incredibly light and fluffy and, most importantly, very easy to make – soufflé pancakes.
These hotcakes have been popularized by the Gram Café in Tokyo, a venue known for creating the famous raindrop cake and other Instagram-worthy delicacies.
It should be noted that these fluffy pancakes do take a bit more effort to make than the classic American flapjacks but they are certainly worth it!
So, what is the secret ingredient that makes them so incredibly tall and fluffy? The answer is – meringue.
There are two ways to make these pancakes – with and without the use of baking powder.
Making Soufflé Pancakes with Baking Powder
As you might know, baking powder is the ingredient that makes the batter rise and stabilizes its structure. That is why the recipe that involves baking powder is easier to make.
However, the use of baking powder produces pancakes that taste and look more like cakes and less like the original Japanese recipe. The original ones are so airy, that they literally wiggle. And that is actually one of their most interesting features. People actually make videos of these wiggly pancakes and post them on Instagram!
Making Soufflé Pancakes without Baking Powder
Soufflé recipes don’t call for any baking powder and that’s why the final product is much lighter. So will your soufflé flapjacks be if you discard baking powder.
In that case, the flapjacks will be somewhat eggier in taste, which is another characteristic that makes them closer to soufflés. However, once you add whipped cream and syrup on top, the egginess will be camouflaged. The original recipe is not so sweet, but feel free to add more sugar if you like.
Tips and Tricks to Making Perfect Soufflé Pancakes
Don’t start making this recipe if you hadn’t made meringues or soufflés before. It requires some experience to pull these pancakes off.
Flour. Make sure to sift the flour into the batter in order to avoid making the batter too heavy. Cake flour is the best option to use.
Eggs. Use cold egg whites to obtain a more stable meringue.
Water. Add just a bit of water to ‘steam’ the pancakes. This will help them rise better.
Make sure your electric mixer’s mixing bowl and whisk attachment are completely clean and dry. If there is any water or oil, the egg whites won’t turn into meringue.
Timing is crucial when flipping. If you flip them too soon, the pancakes will deflate.
To obtain more uniform, round shape and better height, use muffin rings to pour the batter in during cooking. Otherwise, the batter will spread. If you do decide to cook without rings, make the flapjacks smaller in diameter.
Consume the soufflé pancakes immediately after cooking. If they get cold, the texture will change and they won’t be so fluffy.
Japanese Soufflé Pancake Recipe
We offer the recipe that yields soufflé pancakes closest to the original, i.e. without the use of baking powder.
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
- 2 large eggs, egg whites and egg yolks separated
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, milk, butter, and vanilla. Sift in the flour, then whisk everything together until the batter is smooth.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar (Cream of tartar is the secret ingredient that stabilizes the egg whites and makes sure the soufflé doesn’t deflate).
Whip on the highest speed for about 2-3 minutes until stiff peaks form. To check if the meringue is good, turn the mixing bowl upside down. If the mixture doesn’t slide out, you’re good to go.
Scoop out one third of the meringue with a spatula and transfer to the egg yolk batter. Gently fold the meringue into the batter, starting from the bottom, until there are no white streaks. Make sure you don’t mix too hard because the meringue will lose its structure.
Add in another third of the meringue and fold in. Repeat with the last third.
Place two muffin ring molds onto a large skillet. Spray their insides with cooking spray.
Heat the skillet at low heat. Once the oil and skillet are hot, fill each ring with batter. The rings should be halfway full because the batter will rise.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of water to each side of the skillet. Close the lid and cook for about 4 minutes.
When the surface looks completely cooked, your flapjacks are ready to flip. If properly made, they will rise very high but will slightly collapse after you remove the lid.
Use a spatula to flip the hotcakes while still in the rings. If you see batter spilling out, they’re not ready to turn. Let them cook for one more minute and try again.
After you’ve flipped the hotcakes, cover and cook for another 3 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer the pancakes onto a plate and gently remove the ring molds.
Serve warm with syrup, whipped cream, powdered sugar, fruit, or whatever your heart desires!
I believe that food should not only taste good, but make you feel good as well and that is why I am so interested in exploring ingredients, preparing meals, and finding ways to make the whole cooking experience fun and exciting! Being a blogger for MyGreatRecipes unites my two passions – food and writing, and I am enjoying every second of it!