Inside Hanabusa Cafe, a souffle pancake shop

Souffle pancakes are the newest treat to cross the Pacific and land in Toronto. Roll over, cheese tarts and matcha.


Souffle pancakes are the newest treat to cross the Pacific and land in Toronto. Roll over, cheese tarts and matcha soft serve.

A fluffy, jiggly flapjack cousin to the Japanese cheesecake popularized by shops like Uncle Tetsus, the souffle pancake is the staple menu item at new Kensington arrival Hanabusa Cafe (77 Kensington, at Baldwin, 647-350-8779).

Hanabusas founders, Hayley Wang and Alex Chen, married last year and decided they wanted to go into business together soon after.

Shes good at making bread and cakes. Im good at the finance stuff, so we collaborate, Chen says.

Shes a foodie, and shes always been following the Japanese pancake shops.

At home, Wang and Chen tried more than 100 times to perfect their pancakes. A breakthrough came when the couple travelled to Tokyo and checked out Flippers, the most popular souffle pancake spot in the country (and waited in line for two hours for the privilege).

Now, theres no difference between this and the Japanese one, Chen says.

The pancake is the product of a simple-looking but surprisingly painstaking process in some spots in Japan, you wait over an hour for your pancake to be made.

It seems very easy but if you try it, its not, Wang says.

Heres what goes into Hanabusas pancakes:

1. The batter begins with carefully measured amounts of egg yolks and whites, sugar, flour and oil. A dash of vanilla extract helps reduce the eggy flavour.

2. Wang whips the egg whites separately from the rest of the ingredients for one minute. Once the timer beeps, the yolk mix and egg white meringue are combined by hand with a spatula until fully incorporated. Wang takes care to not flatten the batter.

3. The batter is spooned with an ice cream scoop onto a griddle over low heat and covered, allowing the heat to penetrate to the centre of the thick batter.

4. After seven minutes, the pancakes get a flip (though its actually more of a roll).

5. The finished pancakes three to a plate are finished with toppings like sweetened whipped cream, matcha sauce (made from matcha specially imported from Kyoto), fresh fruit and even ham and hollandaise for a Benedict-style version.

nataliam@nowtoronto.com | @nataliamanzocco

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