Hot Cakes are Japanese pancakes that are thicker and sweeter than their American counterpart. They are more like a dessert or snack rather than breakfast as in the US. Butter and honey (or syrup) on top makes this sweet dish rich and satisfying.
It is said that Hot Cakes were first introduced to people in Japan almost 100 years ago at a restaurant in Tokyo. Ever since, Hot Cakes can be found at a lot of cafes, especially old fashioned ones called Kissaten. Kissaten serve light foods and desserts like Fruit Parfait and Cream Soda. However, Hot Cakes became wildly popular when a famous candy maker started selling instant Hot Cake mix which let anyone make Hot Cakes at home by just adding a few ingredients like eggs and milk to the mix. Because of that, Hot Cakes were one of the most well known desserts at restaurants or home in the Showa era (1926-89).
Hot Cakes were put into a category of old, nostalgic food for the last couple of decades though, since many newer, more interesting desserts are always coming to Japanese food culture. However, it made a big comeback in recent years. Sort of. Now it is often more like American pancakes plus a lot of toppings such as a mountain of whipped cream and fruits. There are many dessert pancake specialty restaurants all over the country today. Young people there love taking pictures of the decorative dish and put them up on SNS. The colorful pancakes may be more photogenic than old Hot Cakes.
Hot Cakes still have a place for people nonetheless. It’s just different from pancakes. Hot Cakes have a texture more like cake and are sweeter, but not overly so, therefore it is great for a lighter snack. It is also very easy to make at home even without the mix! The mix actually doesn’t cut the cooking steps or ingredients that much anyway. It is nothing more than the mixture of flour, leavening, sugar (which are kitchen staples anyway), and some artificial flavors and chemicals (who needs those?). You still need eggs, milk and oil when using the instant mix. So why not make from scratch? To make it even more authentic, use sweet Hot Cake syrup or honey instead of maple syrup. We didn’t use maple syrup for Hot Cakes until much later.
If you’re curious about the difference from American pancakes, try these sweet Hot Cakes. And it will become your favorite warm dessert!
- 150g cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 45g sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup (120ml) milk
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- honey or syrup
- In a bowl, whisk cake flour, baking powder and sugar together. In another bowl, mix egg, milk, oil and vanilla well. Pour egg mixture into dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
- Heat a frying pan at medium heat until hot, and oil lightly with paper towel. Then cool a pan resting on a wet towel for a couple of seconds, and put back on the stove. Or, if you have an electric griddle, set the temperature at 320F (160C). Either way, the pan needs to be hot all around (preheating) for the cake to rise well, but it will burn if it's too hot.
- Pour a ladle full of the batter onto the pan. Cook until bubbles come up and the surface dries a little, about 3 minutes. Turn over and cook for a couple of minutes. Cook until the batter is gone.
- Serve with butter and syrup.