Batter up: how to create “soufflé-for-one” pancakes

by Alysa Suleiman, Sports Reporter

Fluffy, airy and with a slight jiggle. 

Soufflé pancakes originate from Japan, where videos of these wobbly stacked mounds, covered in toppings such as whipped cream and fresh fruits, quickly attracted the attention of people all over the world. #Soufflepancake has over 90,000 posts on Instagram, where users post their own re-creations as well as which places sell them. 

Although the trend has quieted in the past year, these silken, cloud-like mounds are still a sweet bite, perfect for breakfast or as a snack. Follow along Harker Aquila’s tutorial to recreate your own soufflé pancake.

Alysa Suleiman

The ingredients may be commonplace pantry items, such as a singular egg or a tablespoon of milk, but the magic of the transformation lies in the process of achieving the pancake’s delicate rise. Follow the next key reminders in order to perfect a “pancake-for-one” soufflé. 

1. Creating the two separate mixtures. 

Separating the yolk from the egg may seem like a daunting task, such as breaking the yolk or finding shards of eggshells in your bowl. The simplest and most foolproof way is to use your hands! Carefully lift the egg yolk from the whites and let the miniature golden sphere slowly and gently slide between your two hands until all excess egg whites fall back into the bowl. Place the yolk in a separate bowl, add in one teaspoon of oil, one tablespoon of milk (vegan options such as oat or almond work as well) and one-eighth teaspoon of vanilla (optional, for flavoring), and mix until slightly frothy. Then sift in two tablespoons of flour, and mix again until the thick yellow liquid flows in ribbons when you lift your whisk. 

2. The meringue (a fancy word for whipped egg whites).  

The stiffer the egg whites, the more aerated the batter, the higher the rise, the fluffier the pancakes. For every egg white, add in one-eighth teaspoon of cream of tartar, or one-fourth teaspoon of lemon juice, before whipping together with either an electric or stand mixer at high speed. The acid helps to stabilize this wobbly clear liquid into a sea of frothy white bubbles. 

Once the whites actually turn white, slowly add in one-fourth teaspoon of sugar, repeating four times at every 30 second interval.  Adding in all the sugar at once will result in a sticky, liquidy mess. The slower you add in the sugar, the less you crush the inflating whites. After all the sugar is added, keep whipping until the whites form a glossy sheen and lifting the whisk(s) results in a stiff peak that folds over just slightly at the tip. You should be able to flip the bowl upside down over your head without any whites out. If so, your meringue is ready! Gently fold the meringue with the pre-made yolk mixture until just mixed. 

3. The cook.

Ensure that the pan is heated for at least one minute on a low heat before adding the batter. Cooking the pancakes on a low flame will evenly distribute the heat throughout the pancake and create a longer-lasting rise. 

After spooning in the batter, pour a small amount of water into the pan to create steam and add the lid of the pan immediately after. The trapped steam will help the pancakes rise and stay moist. Cook the pancakes on one side for three to four minutes, or until the bottom edges are just slightly golden-brown. After flipping the pancakes, add a bit more water to the pan to create more steam. It’s a pancake sauna! 

Don’t worry if the pancakes begin to deflate, a rather sad comparison to its glorious rise when cooking on the stove. Think of a hot air balloon. The balloon fills and rises when the air inside it is heated, causing the gas to expand and rise. When the air is cooled, it shrinks, and the balloon deflates. The air bubbles from the meringue cause your pancakes to rise while cooking, but they will eventually deflate after being taken off of the heat. 

Therefore, quickly decorate with some strawberries and cream, snap some pics for the ‘gram, and savor the heavenly feeling of biting into the fluffy cloud of a fresh-off-the-griddle soufflé pancake.