Thursday, March 11, 2010

Carrot Cake Pancakes...

We leave tomorrow for the 20+ hour drive back home to Minneapolis - woo! I think Gus will be the happiest... he isn't used to being cooped up in a small hotel room for this long. Gus isn't the biggest car-ride fan either, but he loves to bury himself in heaps of blankets and just hang out in his bed right behind us.

It will be nice to be "home", but I am certainly going to miss the warmth down here! While it did start as a cold, snowy mess when we initially arrived, it quickly warmed up to the 60's and 70's, with brilliant blue skies that stretched as far as the eye can see - we will both be missing that! It will probably take us a couple days to get settled in and get the house stocked back up... for the first time in a long time, I think the refrigerator will be quite bare! In the mean time, I have a snazzy pancake recipe to share!

We probably don't have breakfast-for-dinner nights nearly as often as I (or Jeff) would like, but since I also don't want to ruin the treat factor by doing them too often, I spread them out as long as I can stand it. Being that we were about to leave for Charlotte, I didn't know when the next time we'd be able to dish up homemade pancakes, which was enough cause for me to try out these Carrot Cake Pancakes recently!

For a solid starting point to the batter, we used a combination all-purpose flour, lighter whole-wheat pastry flour and crunchy toasted walnuts. Cinnamon is the first spice that comes to mind when I think of carrot cake, which is certainly included in these pancakes, but we've also tried other cakes that had an appealing complexity to them, thanks to a variety of spices used. If that draws you in, you'll find that same robustness here by also tossing freshly grated nutmeg, cloves and ginger right in with the dry ingredients.

You'll find the usual suspects to moisten the above mixture - tangy buttermilk, brown sugar, a couple eggs, a splash of your best vanilla and to round the ingredients out, just a bit of canola oil. These wouldn't be carrot cake pancakes without the carrots, but how you prepare them, in my opinion, will be the key to how these turn out. Since the batter takes just minutes to cook through, the carrot pieces cannot be very large or you'll be left with uninviting raw carrot bits. I tried using the shredding blade of the food processor to make short work of them, but after doing half a carrot, I thought the pieces were still a bit too bulky.

I almost reached for the box grater, which probably would have worked, but then remembered I had a microplane-like hand grater in the drawer. Using that gave us shreds that were fine, yet not wet or mushy - the one I have is a bit coarser than one you'd use to zest a lemon with. Once the carrots were folded in, the batter was fairly thick and gooey - when you start spooning the batter onto the buttered griddle, be sure to give the mounts a gentle nudge to help them spread out a bit. Because there was only two of us eating, we served our portions directly from the final batch out from the pan. However, if you need to keep them warm until you can get all of the batter used, set the pancakes on a wire rack as they come off and place them in the oven, heated as low as it can go until you are ready to eat.

You could go all out and take these over-the-top by whipping up a lightly sweetened cream cheese spread to smear over each golden flapjack, but because I didn't want to go too crazy for dinner, a dollop of honey butter worked out to be an enticing compromise! I knew these were a winner for us when Jeff said "I can't believe there are carrots in these! I mean, I can taste the sweetness of them in there, but if I was a kid who didn't like carrots, I would still love these!". We did have a few leftover, but those were quickly devoured the next morning - a quick stint in the toaster oven was just enough to warm them back up.


  1. These look wonderful.
    Have a safe trip.

  2. I am all over these! Dinner for tomorrow is decided. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
    Gus has the sweetest face and those eyes! They're enough to melt this old woman's heart. You all have a safe trip.

  3. This will be my dinner tonight. My doxie loved crawling under any blanket he would find. When I called him all one could see was a shaking blanket in response.

  4. This sounds really good,i am doing carrot juice for my husband every day, so this is another way to use the pulp thats left from the carrot

  5. Carrot cake pancakes - who would have thought!!! Love the picture of Gus, and have a safe trip back!

  6. Those ice blue eyes just melt my heart :)

  7. Don't worry about leaving the warmth and coming back to is actually nice here! I know, hard to believe, right?! Certainly not as warm as NC, but it is supposed to be in the 50s next week! 50s in MN in March?!? Don't laugh--that is *amazing*!!

    Have a safe trip back--drive carefully!


  8. i have to tell you...the heck with the pancakes...that Gus is so darn cute I want to hug and kiss him to death...those beautiful eyes!

  9. The pancakes look delicious, but they don't stand a chance next to Gus's sweet face. I check in almost daily just hoping for a pic of those lovely blue eyes!!

  10. These look fab. I'd have them at any time of day, not just for dinner!

  11. Christina - The trip back went well! A little cruddy in the weather department though.

    PR - Enjoy!

    Anon - hee hee! He loves his blankets to pieces.

    Aandara - Interesting! I'd love to hear how it works with carrot pulp.

    Melissa - Hey you! Thanks for stopping by. Looking forward to the next outing!

    Leigh Ann - Yes, he knows how to work them too.

    Courtney - I'm waiting for the shoe to drop... isn't there always a winter storm during the basketball stuff?

    Diane He says "Woof!" (Thanks).

    Kathy - I can't get enough of them either.

    Katie - Yeah!

  12. I had to come back and say, glad you had a safe trip and that we tried the pancakes and they were heavenly! I can't wait to have them again!

  13. Glad you are home safe. And Gus is adorable! Regarding shredding carrots: When I want to shred carrots for cake I use the food processor, and then while they are still in the bowl, insert the regular blade and give them a few pulses to chop them up a bit. It's easier than grating, and I avoid shredding my fingers, which always seems to happen!

  14. Carrot cake pancakes sound fantastic! Have a fun road trip, hope you make it there safe.

  15. It looks wonderful. I wonder if I get my anti-carrot eating husband to eat it?