Whatever happened to carrot cake? Is it too 80s? Too 90s? Too orange? It definitely still has a huge fan base- I know very few people who don’t love it. But I never see it anywhere- it’s relatively absent from restaurants and food blogs. Is it poised for a comeback, like neon colors were this year? Or will it suffer the same fate as Jello molds? (Please, God, don’t let my fruit jiggle. Or my thighs.)
Well, I’m bringing it back. For breakfast. YES!
When I say I am completely obsessed with carrot cake, I speaks da truth. It was my wedding cake. I care about food with every fiber of my being, and that was the dessert I chose for the Booze Hound to feed to me (lovingly- no smashing) the day we committed our lives to one another seven years ago. Carrot cake (with thicker-than-appropriate layers of decadent cream cheese frosting) is my jam, baby.
So why not just make a carrot cake and eat it right off the plate while wearing fat pants and watching reruns of Pregnant in Heels? Ummmm, actually that’s a great idea! #newsaturdayplans But how can you pass up an opportunity to eat carrot cake in pancake form, therefore eliminating any shred of guilt you might have for desiring carrot cake before the morning news has finished?
These are fun. These are really, really fun. They totally taste like a bite of carrot cake, with a sweetness more appropriate for breakfast than dessert. And with the maple cream cheese, no need to wring your hands at the thought of eating pancakes without maple syrup or eating carrot cake without the cream cheese frosting. You can have your (pan)cake, ice it, and eat it, too! The nuts on top are optional, but let’s face it- they’re really not.
Now that I’ve smelled the sweet aroma of carrot cake pancakes sizzling on my griddle, my appetite has been whetted for the real deal: a big slice of carrot cake enveloped by an inappropriate amount of cream cheese frosting. Mmmmm. Might not be able to wait for our next anniversary. Might not be able to wait for this weekend. BUT, in the meantime, I have a stack of these pancakes in the freezer + a tub of leftover maple cream cheese to slather on as inappropriately as I want. Whenever I want. For breakfast. Sweet!
- 1½ c AP flour
- 4 T sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp pumpkin or apple pie spice
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 eggs
- 1½ c buttermilk
- 3 T coconut oil or melted (and cooled) butter
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup packed finely grated peeled carrots, patted dry on paper towels (about 3 medium carrots)
- ½ c raisins
- 1 tsp finely grated orange zest, optional
- ¼ cup finely chopped toasted pecans or walnuts, optional, plus more for garnish
- Maple Cream Cheese:
- 8 oz softened cream cheese
- ½ c pure maple syrup
- 4 T butter, softened
- For the pancakes: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin/apple pie spice, baking soda and sea salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coconut oil or melted butter and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the carrots, raisins, and orange zest, if using, and mix until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Fold in the walnuts or pecans, if using, and mix until just combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Spoon ¼ cup mounds of the batter onto the skillet, spreading with a spatula. Cook until the tops are covered with bubbles and the edges look cooked, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip the pancakes over and cook until the bottoms are lightly browned, about 1 minute. Repeat with the remaining batter. Keep the cooked pancakes warm in the oven on a baking sheet, if desired.
- For the maple-cream cheese: Combine the cream cheese, maple syrup and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment until combined, about 2 minutes.
- To serve: Stack the pancakes on a plate and slather with the maple cream cheese. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts or pecans, if using.