Normally a classic breakfast item, pancakes are slowly becoming a go-to dessert choice, especially with the debut of the popular soufflé pancake. Over time, more and more restaurants and cafes have begun adding soufflé pancake options to their menus, also inspiring home cooks to make this dish at home. But what’s the difference between Japanese pancakes and soufflé pancakes?
Japanese Hot Cakes
Japanese pancakes (also known as hot cakes) are similar to American pancakes but fluffier and sweeter. In recent years, some chefs have opted to use ring molds to make a version of a pancake that rises higher. When comparing recipes for American pancakes against Japanese pancakes, one notable difference is the use of butter, which is absent in the latter. Additionally, Japanese pancakes use a bit more baking powder to achieve their signature light texture.
On the other hand, soufflé pancakes are extremely fluffy, cloud-like, and have an airy texture due to the large amount of egg whites that are used. To make batter for soufflé pancakes, egg whites are beaten until soft peaks form. Then, the rest of the ingredients are folded in gently so that the egg white mixture doesn’t deflate before making it into the pan. The key to cooking soufflé pancakes is low heat and patience. It’s best to eat them right away so the airy texture isn't lost.
Soufflé pancakes were popularized by the diner Eggs N’ Things, which was first established in Hawaii in 1974 before spreading to other locations in Japan. Though they can be eaten with savory ingredients, soufflé pancakes are most popular as a dessert topped with fruit, whipped cream, and powdered sugar. Some unique topping variations that have social media by storm include ube syrup, matcha syrup, and milk tea flavored cream and brown sugar boba.
About the author:
Samantha is currently a 5th-year JET in Okinawa, originally from Hawaii. She has been somewhat connected to Japanese culture her whole life despite being Chinese American. She's had the privilege of traveling to Japan and experiencing Japanese culture at a young age. She loves food and is always looking to try new places. When she is not working or out eating, she is an avid baker at home and has been known to feed her colleagues an excessive amount of baked goods.