Japanese-Style Souffle Pancakes

Fluffy beyond belief, these pancakes are somewhat particular about how they like to be cooked. All suggestions are intended to maximize the light, airy texture and ensure even and complete cooking. Perfect for Mother’s Day or any special occasion! 


  • 4 large eggs 
  • 3 Tbsp whole milk 
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract 
  • ½ cup cake flour (4.2 oz) 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 4-6 Tbsp sugar 
  • 2 Tbsp avocado or rice-bran oil (neutral flavor) 
  • 6+ Tbsp water (for steaming) 
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar 
  • 1 pint fresh berries 
  • Mint sprigs 


  1. To measure flour, fluff it up in bag/container. With a spoon, sprinkle flour into measuring cup, gently piling until it forms a heap above measuring cup rim. Scrape knife across top of measuring cup to level the flour. Do not pack flour down at any point. 
  2. Gather other ingredients and a 12-inch nonstick frying pan with a lid (should be large enough to cook 3 pancakes at once). 
  3. Separate egg whites and yolks into two different bowls. Put bowl with egg whites in freezer for 15 minutes to partially freeze. Meanwhile, add milk and vanilla to egg yolks and whisk with a hand whisk until thick and frothy. Sift baking powder and cake flour into the bowl. Whisk to combine thoroughly, not over-mixing. Set aside while making meringue. 
  4. After 15 minutes, take egg whites from freezer; should be half-frozen. Using balloon whisk, stand mixer or hand mixer, beat egg whites. Once frothy/opaque, gradually add sugar about 1/3 at a time. Then, increase mixing speed until stiff peaks form, about two minutes if using stand mixer. Stop mixer and gently mix looser egg whites at bowl’s edge with stiffer whites near the center, so all has the same texture. Meringue should hold a tip straight up, or slightly folding over a bit, and have a glossy texture. Do not overbeat. 
  5. Heat the large nonstick frying pan to 300° over lowest heat. Brush with cooking oil and remove any excess (so pancakes won’t be spotty). Keep pan on low heat, as this will ensure the insides cook properly and the pancakes won’t collapse. 
  6. Take one-third of egg whites and add to egg yolk mixture. Whisk together by hand. Take half of remaining meringue and add to egg yolk mixture, gently folding in with a whisk without breaking bubbles in egg whites. 
  7. Transfer egg yolk mixture back into bowl with remaining meringue. Very gently fold two mixtures together, without deflating air bubbles. Mix batter very gently until evenly mixed. 
  8. For the first pancake, place one small scoop of batter and make a tall mound in the frying pan using a small ladle or serving spoon. Stack one more scoop of batter onto the first scoop already in the pan. Repeat for next two pancakes, giving each pancake two scoops of batter. Once all three pancakes have two scoops, you can mound one more small scoop on top of each pancake, keeping batter piled high.  
  9. Set a timer for 6-7 minutes, add 1 Tbsp water in each of the three empty spaces inside the pan. Cover with lid. The steam from the water will keep pancakes moist while cooking. The time is just a guideline; cooking time is based on temperature of frying pan. 
  10. After pancakes have cooked for two minutes, open lid and add one final scoop to each pancake. Stack batter high and not wide. Add a little more water if all has evaporated. Cover with lid and continue to cook. 
  11. After 6-7 minutes have passed, lift each pancake very gently using an offset spatula. If the pancake is stuck, wait until it’s firmed up a little to touch it. When the pancake is ready, it should move easily and not crack in the middle. Add more water to empty spaces in pan and cover. Set timer for 4-5 minutes to cook on the other side. 
  12. Once nicely browned, transfer pancakes to serving plates. Dust pancakes with powdered sugar and serve with berries and mint sprigs. 
  13. Best when made just before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container and store in fridge for up to two days.