Cloudcakes are pancakes made from a soufflé type batter that gets its lift from whipped egg whites. This luscious dish has no baking powder or biscuitty tasting leavening, just flavorful crusty goodness on the outside and feather light flavor on the inside.
I learned this recipe years ago from Bettylou DeMarco. She was a great mom, a nurse, and a gifted Italian cook. I remember her telling me that since two pancakes had an entire egg and some whole milk cheese in them . . . so she counted them as a protein, half a dairy, and a grain serving–so add some fruit and a little more milk and they are a whole meal.
The painting on this page belongs to my daughter. It looks exactly like her favorite Cloudcakes with bananas, blueberries, and lemon syrup. Vic Vicini is a very talented American artist. His paintings are mesmerizing . . . and appetizing.
These Cloudcakes have it all. They are very nutritious and yet they are a real treat–light as a feather and yet satisfying, They are also easy to make.
I’ll also include the recipe for the Lemon Windowpane Syrup, which is just a light lemony simple syrup that is useful for all sorts of things.
• measuring cups/spoons (1 c, 1/3 c, 1 tsp)
• 3+ quart bowl to whip egg whites, should be steel, copper, or glass (no plastic), must be scrupulously free of any oils or soap . . . wipe it out with a little white vinegar.
• balloon whisk or electric mixer (mixer highly recommended)
• citrus zester (I prefer a microplane grater / zester)
• large mixing bowl for batter
• large mixing spatula (for folding in egg whites)
• ladle or disher
• griddle, electric skillet, or a couple of flat bottomed skillets on the stove (need infrared thermometer for the top of the stove ones)
• pancake turning spatula
Wipe the inside of your egg whipping bowl with a spoon full of white vinegar dry it well with a small piece of paper towel. This will make sure that your egg whites will achieve maximum volume.
12 medium or 11 large eggs
putting the whites in the whipping bowl and the yolks in the batter bowl.
Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.
To the batter bowl, add
1 1/3 cups sifted all purpose flour (Can replace half of it with fine ground whole wheat).
14-15 ounces of ricotta cheese (cottage cheese is OK, mascarpone is ok too but they will be more tender.
1/3 cup melted butter
1 scant teaspoon of salt
1/3 cup sugar (superfine is best)
Zest of 2 medium lemons or 1 teaspoon Adam’s Best vanilla
Use a mixer and beat for about 1-2 minutes on medium until smooth.
1/3 of the egg whites
into the batter with a large flat spatula. You don’t have to be super gentle, the idea is to lighten the batter so the later addition of egg whites won’t deflate.
rest of the whipped egg whites
on top of the batter and carefully cut them in.
Use the spatula to carve a line right down the middle to the bottom of the bowl, then scrape to one side and lift up and fold over the batter onto the whites.
Turn the bowl a quarter turn.
When the egg whites are just incorporated stop . . . don’t over mix. It’s okay if you still see some pea sized lumps of egg white.
Heat your griddle to “pancake temperature” of about 375 f, then lower it to 350-360 for the actual cooking. (I use an infrared thermometer, got it on Amazon and it’s my new favorite tool.)
If your griddle is a new really good non stick one (mine is T-fal and nothing sticks) then I find no oil is necessary. If not, or if you choose, you give your cooking surface a misting of neutral oil or cooking spray. For this kind of thing I use an oil mister with canola oil or I mix half butter and half canola oil to paint on the surface with a brush.
Use a ladle to spoon the thick batter onto the griddle in equal amounts. This recipe will make about 22-26 pancakes with a 4 ounce ladle/disher.
Let the pancakes cook until the first side is light brown . . . you will see them grow, but they don’t produce popping bubbles like baking powder pancakes. Turn them and cook the other side. On my griddle set at 360, they take about 3.5 – 4 minutes on the first side and about 3 minutes on the second side.
Serve with fruit. We like them with bananas and blueberries most, but strawberries are nice too. I’ve also added toasted pecans–they do tend to sink to the bottom, but they taste great.
Lemon Windowpane Syrup
Squeeze two lemons into a small non-reactive pan. It should be about
3/4 cup of lemon juice
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/4 cup water
1 small pinch of salt
to the pan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
Raise heat and allow it to boil for about 4 minutes, until it coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Let it cool a bit and you will have a thin lemony syrup that is almost clear as a windowpane.
Another option, if you like a less intense syrup with a little more body, then , you can add just mix in little water and thickener.
In a small cup mix
1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch
1/4 cup of water
add it to the syrup and let it cook a little more. This will both thicken the syrup and give it less of a sour whang.
Note: the small pinch of salt counteracts any bitterness in the lemon.
This syrup is wonderful on pancakes, waffles, or over a well-poked pound cake. (Just poke the cake with a skewer or long meat fork many times, then the syrup will soak into the cake).