You know it’s obsession when you’re crouching on your stone-cold cement balcony at 6:50 a.m. trying to convince your frigid fingers to arrange a drip of cream cheese frosting just so while trying to balance, focus and shoot with your camera in the other hand.
It’s cold for Houston. We’re talking some 40 degree temperatures. Daylight savings means no more photographing after work, so hello early morning photoshoots!
I’ll only do it for pancakes.
I didn’t want to put the source of the food coloring in the title since it might turn some people off. But I want everyone to give them a chance. They’re soo.good. And HEALTHY. Guys. These pancakes are red because they have…
Beets. Yup. And they make these pancakes incredibly luscious and tender without a lick of oil. Or butter. Or coconut oil. No fat 4eva!
There is a little more sugar in this recipe than what I usually put in. But you can always dial it back, or swap in a little less honey or agave if you desire.
Although I’m totally a fan of rainbow-studded baked goods, a large part of why I make stuff from scratch is to NOT ingest all the funky preservatives and crazy ingredients that are in a lot of processed foods. Food coloring included. And it turns out when you put grated vegetables into pancakes, they turn magically tender and fluffy instead of gummy, like most no-fat baked goods. WHY IS THIS?? I have no idea, but I’ll take it.
So once you have these super healthy pancakes, you must then, um, obviously smother them in cream cheese frosting.*
And cocoa powder–the cocoa powder is a MUST. I sprinkled it on for aesthetic purposes and ended up scraping the plate for every dusty, bittersweet crumb. It’s the perfect balancing act to an incredibly rich frosting.
I don’t usually eat my photoshoots after I shoot my food. (Correction: I don’t usually eat ALL of my photoshoots.) But I had to hide these in the fridge to keep myself from demolishing the entire stack before work.
Conclusion: these are fabulous. Though I’m usually all about the pancake and ambivalent towards toppings, I have to demand that you make these with the frosting. These pancakes are a little plain, underlined by a subtle chocolatiness and punched up with earthy, rustic beet sweetness. They are phenomenal when you add frosting and cocoa powder. If you use a judicious hand with the frosting, these can still be considered a fairly wholesome breakfast, unlike these jokesters.
PS. These were prompted by a tupperware of frozen leftover cream cheese frosting from a certain batch of cinnamon rolls. I figured red velvet pancakes were the perfect vehicle to use it up which was FALSE! I still have tons left. Any suggestions for what to do with it?
I adapted this from Smitten Kitchen’s carrot cake pancakes by adding a dash of cocoa powder, upping the sugar and swapping in a lower amount of beets for carrots. If you are topping this with cream cheese frosting or some kind of sweet topping (please, please do!), I think you could stand to decrease the sugar by a tablespoon. I’m in the habit of snacking on some plain, and so wanted them on the sweeter side.
My beets were extremely juicy after grating. I tossed them into the batter, juice and all. No need to drain or attempt to pat dry.
Beet Red Velvet Pancakes
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 14 small pancakes
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, plus more for sprinkling
1 large egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon vinegar)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup finely grated beets (about 1 large)
Cream cheese topping
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, buttermilk and vanilla. Stir in beets. Stir beet mixture into dry ingredients, stirring until just incorporated. Let rest for five minutes while you make the cream cheese topping and heat a lightly greased pan over medium heat.
To make the cream cheese topping: In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy and lump-free. Whisk in powdered sugar, two tablespoons milk and vanilla. If you’d like the mixture thinner, add the remaining tablespoon of milk.
If you have not already done so, grease the pan with a thin layer of oil (I like using a paper towel to spread the oil around). Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of batter into the pan per pancake. Flip when the surface begins to look dry, taut and the mottled with bubbles. Cook until pancakes are crisped on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.
Transfer finished pancakes to a serving dish or tray in a 200 degree oven, to keep warm while you repeat the process with the remaining batter, re-greasing the pan as needed.
Serve warm with cream cheese topping and extra cocoa powder.
Nutrition facts (per pancake, or 1/14 recipe): 60 cal, 1g fat, 1.4g fiber, 5g sugar, 2g protein)
Check out my other Pancake Fridays!
Pancake Fridays: Cornbread Pancakes
Pancake Fridays: Lemon Bar Pancakes
Pancake Fridays: Peanut Butter Carrot Pancakes
Pancake Fridays: Pumpkin Pancakes
Pancake Fridays: Tarte Tatin Pancakes
Pancake Fridays: Tres Leches Pancakes
Pancake Fridays: Whole Wheat Pear and Chocolate Pancakes