Thick soft vanilla pancakes. These popular pancakes are also known as Japanese hotcakes. The pancakes can be eaten as-is with maple syrup and butter, but can also be served with a variety of sweet toppings.
In Shibuya, we came across these marvelous thick pancakes topped with all kinds of sweet goodness (we had matcha and vanilla custard). Just looking at the picture on the menu, I knew I had to make my own version at home. I mean, who doesn’t want thick, carby pancakes at the comfort of home? I do. So inspired by my trip to Japan, I wrote a recipe for Japanese Pancakes a.k.a. Hotcakes. These pancakes are thick and very fluffy. I made mine a tad smaller than the ones I had in Japan for two reasons:
- Vacation is over and I really should indulge a little bit less (but still indulge ofcourse). And yes, let’s pretend I actually stopped eating after 1 small hotcake.
- I didn’t have a mold the size of the pancakes I had in Tokyo.
If above reasons don’t apply to you, by all means make bigger pancakes. I can only be jealous.
To make the pancakes thick and fluffy, I tested a couple of different leaveners: baking powder, baking soda and a combination of the two. I also tried to combine each option with sour cream or vinegar, because the acidity of these ingredients help the baking powder to create extra airbubbles (read: extra fluffyness) in your pancakes. Results?
- The sour cream batter was very light, but was so thick that it took ages to properly cook the pancakes without burning the bottom.
- Baking soda didn’t give the tall pancakes I wanted.
Baking powder with vinegar resulted in the same fluffy pancakes as the sour cream batter but these took only 8 min per side to cook. Succes!
- 110 mL skim milk
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100 g cake flour (or all-purpose flour)
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 40 g granulated sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Line a stainless steel cooking ring with baking paper (or multiple if you have them). Set aside.
- In a cup or small bowl, mix the milk, vinegar and vanilla. Set aside. It should look curdled after a while.
- In a bowl, sift the flour and baking powder.
- Add the salt and sugar. Mix.
- Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the egg and milk mixture.
- Mix until you get a batter. The batter might be slightly lumpy.
- Heat a non-stick pan on medium-low heat and place the prepared cooking ring(s) in the pan.
- Fill the cooking ring about ¾ with the batter and cover the pan with a lid.
- Cook the pancake about 8 minutes* or until the batter is well bubbled on the surface.
- Flip the pancake over and cook for another 8 minutes. It's okay if you spill a bit of batter.
- Remove pancake from cooking ring (WATCH OUT! HOT!) and repeat steps for remaining batter.
- Serve pancakes hot with desired toppings.
- *Time might vary depending on size of cooking ring/pancake.