The Magnet 34: Another attempt to make an ultra-fluffy Japanese soufflé pancake

Carla and I first tried ultra-fluffy Japanese soufflé pancakes in 2017. We were in Tokyo and saw people waiting in line outside a cafe called Flipper’s. It was about nine at night and we’d already eaten dinner, but we decided to take a look at the menu anyway. The menu had photos of the thickest pancakes we ever saw. We decided they’d be a good dessert, so we got in line. We were seated in about 20 minutes and we ordered one plate of pancakes with whipped cream and another with whipped cream and strawberries. We loved the creaminess and delicate flavor.

When we returned to Japan in 2018 for five weeks, we had fluffy pancakes about twice a week. We also had them in 2019 in Singapore a couple of times. There are a few different Japanese soufflé pancake chains. The second most popular one is called Gram Cafe, and they use a cylindrical mold to make extra-thick pancakes that jiggle on the plate when the server sets them down. Here’s a video I took of Gram pancakes in Singapore:

A while back, Carla made Flipper’s style pancakes. They were delicious but not quite as fluffy as Flipper’s. The problem is that they collapse if you disturb them while they’re cooking.

This week, I found a recipe to make Gram-style pancakes and decided to give it a go. The recipe called for folding in whipped egg whites. I didn’t know what “folding in” meant, so I watched this video to learn. (Side note: watch this hilarious “fold in the cheese” clip from Schitt’s Creek.) Folding in the whipped egg whites is what makes soufflé pancakes so fluffy. I may have been overly timid while folding in the egg whites because they weren’t thoroughly mixed in, as you can see in the photo below.

One of the hardest things to deal with was flipping the pancakes over in the stainless steel cylindrical molds. I had to wear a mitt and slightly tip the cylindrical mold to get a spatula under it. Then I took the pan off the burner, flipped it upside down, lowered it onto the top of the mold, and then flipped the whole thing over. And even though I greased the inside of the mold with butter, I still had to use a sharp knife to unstick the pancake. All of this handling caused the pancake to collapse a little bit. (I ordered a silicone pancake mold which is supposed to be easier to manipulate.)

The other problem was that the pancakes were slightly burned on the top and bottom, and one of them was pretty raw in the middle. So I have to experiment with the timing and the burner intensity.

However, even though the pancake looks kind of funny, it jiggled when I put it on the plate and it tasted pretty good, though still not as good as Gram. I’ll keep trying and reporting my failures and victories here.

In the meantime, if you had success making pancakes as good as Flipper’s or Gram, let me know in the comments.


The Magnet Mascot Shirts

I’m selling Magnet mascot shirts in various styles. To keep the shirts mysterious, there are no other markings on them other than the mascot image.

Thanks for reading! The Magnet is written by Mark Frauenfelder and edited by Carla Sinclair.