Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cream Cheese Syrup

My partner-in-crime and food-taster-in-chief, Patrick, has a job that gives him Thursday and Friday off instead of the regular weekend. This makes Wednesday night great, of course. But he's often a little down on Friday, as he anticipates entering the work week before everyone else. The least I could do to start things off right was a surprise of homemade pancakes for breakfast.

One thing you gotta know about me is that I hate waste, especially relating to food and during this economic downturn. (It's probably got somethin' to do with my Chinese upbringing that emphasized not wasting even a single grain of rice. There's even a poem about this -- no joke.) So no surprise that I chose pumpkin pancakes to use up the pumpkin puree and cream cheese frosting left over from cupcakes I made earlier.

This recipe produces fluffy yet moist pancakes with a pumpkin flavor that really shines through. And cayenne powder (just a pinch or 2) has become a regular in my spicy sweets ever since I made those ginger cookies. But the kicker has got to be the syrup. The tanginess of cream cheese, milky richness of sweetened condensed milk, and decadent creaminess of both. My breakfasts don't usually sound so much like dessert, but with the colder weather upon us, I don't mind this indulgence one bit.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cream Cheese Syrup [Printable Recipe]
Adapted from Martha Stewart via Baking and Books
Makes about 8 4-inch pancakes

XIAOLU'S NOTE: To save time in the morning, you can separately mix the dry and wet ingredients the night before. The next morning, just let the wet mixture warm up for a bit. Then combine with the dry mixture and cook as directed below.

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon wheat germ
(I forgot to add this but I'm sure it adds great texture and nutty flavor)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of cayenne powder
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned)
1 cup buttermilk (I substituted 1% milk plus 1 teaspoon vinegar)
vegetable oil for the pan

Cream Cheese Syrup
3/4 cup cream cheese frosting (any kind but I used extra from this recipe)
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk, or more to taste

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, wheat germ, baking power, baking soda, and spices. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the egg until thoroughly combined, then add the oil, molasses, sugar, pumpkin, and buttermilk. (Cover and refrigerate the liquid mixture at this point if making ahead.) Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk gently until the batter is mostly mixed but still contains small lumps. Let batter rest while pan heats, at least 5 minutes.

XIAOLU'S NOTE: My gas stoves always run hot, so I never turn the heat above medium and more often than not, it's lower than that.

Heat non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add a few drops of oil and spread it over the bottom of the pan. Pour pancake batter onto hot griddle approximately 1/4 cup at a time. When the edges start to dry and bubbles appear on top, flip to cook the other side. Keep pancakes warm in an oven heated to 275 degrees as you repeat the process to cook the rest of the batter.

To make the syrup, simply mix all the ingredients together until smooth. You can play around with the proportions to get the perfect sweetness/thickness for you.


  1. This sounds absolutely delicious. I would never think of making pumpkin pancakes - with a cream cheese syrup. It's early breakfast time here now, and the tummy is rumbling....

  2. OMG - this looks way too good to be true! I have this bookmarked because pumpkin season is indeed on the way!

  3. Julia - Please do try the pancakes and frosting - they're a great pairing. I love your blog and all those gorgeous photos! Can't wait to see which theme wins and good luck with your wedding!

    Wandering Cayote - These were definitely a wonderful way to get into fall. ironically, most baked goods used canned pumpkin so we could really make them any time of year!

    Sook - Thanks as always =D

  4. I love love love pumpkin pancakes and make them as soon as I can get my hands on a pumpkin to roast and puree in the fall - the cream cheese frosting idea is inspired!

  5. Your killin me!! These pancakes look so decadent and rich. Fall is still far away in Texas but these pancakes would be a great reminder that Fall is on the way!

  6. Pumpkin pancakes are my fav!!!!!!! but these cream cheese syrup...oh my goodness!!

  7. My friends and I are planning on going pumpkin picking this fall, so I'm excited to try out some of your wonderful recipes!

  8. Oh I love pumpkin pancakes! I'm glad you put all those spices in there, I think that's actually what I really like about pumpkin...all the additional flavors that are so warm and fall-like. Cool idea adding a pinch of cayenne!

    Also, I'm totally with you on hating waste, especially in the kitchen.

  9. Pumpkin pancakes?!? Genius!!! I'm the biggest pancake-lover of all time! Thank for the recipe, will definitely try this out! Is that 1/2 cup pumpkin puree?

    Looks delicious!

  10. Thanks for your kind comments, everyone! And here I was thinkin that only cupcakes were attention-grabbing ;).

    M - I've never made my own puree before but I bet these would be even better with fresh pumpkin!

    Brittany - the cayenne really adds something extra that you can't quite put your finger on.

    Paris Pastry - yep, that's pumpkin puree and I've edited the post to say that. Thanks for pointing that out!

  11. Am I in heaven?? This is absolutely AWESOME. I cannot think of a better breakfast to have on a cool autumn morning. I am definately marking this under 'favourites'!

  12. Cream cheese syrup! Oh my, what an awesome invention.

  13. Do I heat the syrup after I mix the ingredients or serve it cold?

  14. I didn't heat mine but that actually sounds like a great idea to heat it too. Thanks for visiting!

  15. I think I just cried a little this sounds and looks so good. I bet a few oats tossed in would make these even more outrageous!

  16. Love the idea of the cream cheese syrup on these. Instead of the canned frosting maybe a combo of Cream Cheese, Maple and Milk......will experiment :)
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. Melissa - Thanks and oats sound like a great addition. I'd love to hear it goes if you try them.

    Marla - I think your alternative would work. My frosting recipe was just cheese, a little butter, sugar, and vanilla.


I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu