Look at that! Is your mouth watering? Mine is. These pancakes were a big indulgence and may have cost me a few calories, but it was so worth it. These tasted amazing; they were extra soft, fluffy, spongy, thick, and so delicious!
As you might have noticed, us Japanese people can get a little bit OTT and come up with some very weird inventions. But these pancakes are one of those times that this over-the-top attitude and innovation has really paid off! Traditional pancakes are often a lot thinner and flatter, whereas Japanese people have taken them to the next level and made them (clearly) way thicker and taller, which means they are a lot more dense and flavourful.
To get this incredible thickness is very simple. All you need is an old milk carton or a thin sheet or cardboard, some baking paper, and a stapler. Cut the milk carton/cardboard and the baking paper into long strips about 4cm wide and 31 cm long. Then all you do is staple the baking paper onto the cardboard then form it into a circle shape and staple it close (with the baking paper on the inside). Done! Now, although the thickness is due to it being cooked in a mould, the super fluffy, spongy, soft texture actually comes from two ingredients. One is simply buttermilk, but the other is a super special, secret Japanese ingredient…mayonnaise! I know you’re probably thinking ‘WHAT eeeewwww!” But hear me out. Mayonnaise is essentially just egg and oil, the reason for its slightly funky smell is the vinegar that is also added. But when mayonnaise is baked, the vinegar evaporates, thereby completely eliminating any taste or smell of mayo and just leaving the egg and oil. Trust me, you won’t taste any mayo, the pancakes are so moist and delicious! I usually the Kewpie brand Japanese mayonnaise but you can use any Japanese mayonnaise.
There are also countless toppings you can add and flavour adaptations you can try to make these pancakes even more amazing! I decided to go for vanilla ice-cream with fresh strawberries and mint and also vanilla ice-cream with banana and walnut topped with honey. They were both incredibly delicious! You could also make them choc-chip flavoured, or top them with some caramel sauce and crushed nuts, or you could make them really tasty by adding some nutella to them!
Most people in Japan use pre-made pancake (hotcake) mix but I have created this recipe so everyone can make it easily at home if you don’t have access to these pre-made mixes. I personally think it tastes a lot better when it’s fresh and made from scratch, but if you do want to save a bit of time you can use a mix in place of the self-raising flour.
I had these pancakes as a big treat breakfast but you could have them for afternoon or morning tea…or lunch…or dinner. You could even make them into some kind of cake because they sort of are big, fluffy cakes. You could cut them in half and add some cream and strawberries and make mini layer cakes. Or could expand the size of them and make one big cake. Basically any adaptation of these will taste amazing.
- 1 cup self raising flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- ¾ Butter milk( to make up 1 cup with the egg)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
- Butter, maple syrup, ice-cream, etc. for toppings
- Sift all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and combine.
- In another bowl (or jug) add the egg, butter milk and vanilla extract and whisk a little to combine.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid mixture in.
- Mix together then add the mayonnaise and mix well to combine. (Ignore the mayo smell, it will disappear after it's cooked).
- Place two homemade pancake forms (instructions in the blog post) onto a frying pan over low heat and pour half the mixture into each form.
- Place a lid on the frying pan and leave it for 20 minutes.
- Once the pancakes have little bubbles and the edge is slightly cooked, flip them over with your hands (wear gloves to handle them because they will be hot).
- Place the lid over the top again and cook for another 20 minutes on the other side.
- Remove the pancakes from the heat, remove the staples from the forms and take the pancakes out of the form.
- Serve the pancakes with your favourite toppings (e.g butter, syrup, ice-cream, etc.).