Hotcakes vs Pancakes: What’s the Difference?

Tulip Chocolate

While the baking world is filled with the joy of creating delicious desserts, it has its heated debates as well. One of the ever-polarizing topics is related to these two delights: pancakes and hotcakes. It could get ugly. 

Just kidding, but polarizing nonetheless. Many believe these two are the same, just aliases of the same product, whereas some others think hotcakes vs pancakes have significant differences to be named differently. Let’s have a walkthrough of both sides’ perspectives.

Pancakes are hotcakes, no but!

Those who believe that hotcakes vs pancakes are the same usually come from Northern America, where a pancake can also be called hotcake or even flapjacks. In Britain, however, while the terms pancake and hotcake are interchangeable, flapjack is reserved for those pancake-like cakes made from rolled oats and brown sugar then tray-baked instead of cooked in a frying pan. All of them can be made with chocolate batter, by mixing chocolate powder in the batter. They can also be topped with chocolate syrup. Some stores even offer chocolate pancake with chocolate syrup. Double the chocolate, double the goodness.

Pancakes are not hotcakes, period!

Those who believe these delights should be identified differently mention the specific difference in cooking method, where hotcake is a type of griddle cake cooked for a longer time, thus having a browner surface. Some would also say that pancakes are rather thin, while hotcakes are significantly thicker. Therefore, imagine having “griddle cake” as the family name, whereas pancake and hotcake are siblings.

As you might have guessed, Pancake Griddlecake and Hotcake Griddlecake also have another sibling: Flapjack Griddlecake, that is.

The Japanese further strengthen the hotcakes’ difference from pancakes by introducing the mandatory step of continuously beating the batter of eggs and milk until they become foamy, like in meringue-making. That’s the reason why Japanese hotcakes have a significant thickness and fluffiness compared to American and British pancakes.

So what’s your verdict?

Fortunately, you won’t be kicked out of any establishment if you order a pancake in a cafe that sells hotcakes, or vice versa. They will just politely correct you, despite their stands on the hotcakes vs pancakes debate. It’s more like “football” in some parts of the world and “soccer” in the others. 

Therefore, it’s a safe choice to decide whether you think they’re the same or different, only that now you have a better understanding of why some people think they are the same and some think they are different. 

But what should you do if you’re eating out and specifically want the significantly different version of griddle cake called hotcakes? Well, in most establishments outside Japan, you’ll almost surely be disappointed as they don’t differentiate between hotcakes vs pancakes. The best that you can do is to ask the restaurant to make your pancake “significantly thicker”. In Japan, you might get a wonderful surprise upon discovering that a Japanese hotcake is actually a better version of the regular American pancake.

Elsewhere, be cautious with the term “pancake” on the menu, as it could be just the loanword that represents something uniquely local. 

Crêpes in French, for example, is the super thin version of American pancakes that can be served with either sweet or savory toppings. Drop Scones are Scottish pancakes that include cream of tartar in their batter.

Serabi is the Indonesian version of pancake that’s only cooked on one side with lightly burn marks from the clay pan usage. Poffertjes are Dutch desserts resembling miniature American pancakes, perhaps the idea behind Indonesian serabi

So, which hotcakes (or pancakes) do you like most? Share with us in the comments. 

You can also enhance your hotcakes and/or pancakes with other chocolate ingredients from Tulip Chocolate to get that tasty creamy chocolate flavor. Be sure to check out our products and services for more chocolate-y goodness and ideas.

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