Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Easy Like Sunday Morning" Vegan Carrot Cake Pancakes

There's kind of a funny story behind these pancakes. I was over at a friend's house, and she wanted a quick and easy dinner, so she decided to make pancakes. She sent her husband to the store for ingredients, and I begged him to pick up some carrots for me to snack on as well because I just didn't think I could take all that sugar. When he got back, my friend started joking around about how to use the carrots... and suddenly exclaimed, "can you make CARROT CAKE PANCAKES?"

As it turns out, I can.

That night, we looked in to plain vegan pancake recipes on line, and then I added spices, shredded carrot, and raisins, and what we came up with was pretty great. When I tried to recreate them at home, however, the incredible 6 tablespoons (!) of baking powder that the original recipe had required suddenly became a big problem. After several iterations, and a great deal of tweaking, here is my final recipe: perfected today, on one of the first sunny, temperate Sundays of the season, hence the name. A lot of the magic is in the technique; because the rising depends on the baking powder, so keeping those nice little bubbles intact is key. Read on...

"Easy Like Sunday Morning" Vegan Carrot Cake Pancakes

Dry Ingredients
     3 c. flour
     3/4 tsp. salt
     3 Tbsp. baking powder
     6 Tbsp. sugar
     3 tsp. cinnamon
     1 tsp. nutmeg

Wet Ingredients
     3 c. soymilk (plain, original, or vanilla, depending on how much extra sweetness you want. I work with plain, myself, but if you only had vanilla, you could decrease the granulated sugar a bit to adjust for it)
     6 Tbsp. oil
     2 tsp. vanilla
     1 c. golden raisins, rinsed to remove bits and stems, then soaked in hot water to soften them
     2 c. grated carrot, drained

Combine all the dry ingredients thoroughly with your hands, making sure to break up the little clumps that baking powder tends to form. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the vanilla into the soy milk, then do the same with the oil. When they're thoroughly mixed, fold in the carrot and raisins, combining well.

Preheat a pan to medium/medium high or a skillet to 375ish. If that seems too hot as you make your first pancake, go ahead and adjust to what you think is best.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour the wet ingredients into the well. Firmly and quickly fold the wet ingredients into the dry, using as few strokes as possible, but combining thoroughly. You should be able to do this rather quickly, and if there are a few little bumps, don't worry about it. Over-mixing will break up the bubbles formed by the baking powder and make your pancakes too dense and flat.

When your pan is preheated, spray with canola oil. The batter will be thick and a bit clumpy, so it will be tempting  to spread it to get it into a better pancake shape, but don't (I made this mistake a couple of times before I figured it out). Far better to try to control shape and thickness while pouring, again so you don't destroy the rise.

Cook until the edges are beginning to firm and the bubbles in the center of the pancake pop and the batter doesn't refill the hole (awkward to say; great way to judge pancake done-ness). Flip gently and cook for a couple of minutes until golden brown.

They will be a little more dense than normal because of the carrot and raisin, but they should have a good texture and rise. Cut open the first one and make sure it's done in the middle, and adjust your cooking time if needed. Serve with syrup, cashew cream, jam, agave nectar, or whatever strikes your fancy.


P.S. I think you're going to get a book review soon, because I went to McKay's today (locals, you know what I'm talkin' 'bout) and bought a cookbook and a bunch of memoirs and essay collections by food writers, including Ruth Reichl, Calvin Trillin, Judith Jones, and Edna Lewis. Am Super Excited.



  1. Being one of those present for the perfection of this recipe, I must say that I was apprehensive about the idea of mixing two things I love, but with the faith that I have gained in my sister's abilities, I was more than happy to be part of the test audience.

    These are the most fantastically hearty and well-spiced pancakes I've had in a long time and would highly recommend experimenting with this recipe!

  2. I love pancakes! I also love the idea of carrot cake pancakes. Sounds so good!