Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Pancakes
Pumpkin pancakes with a cinnamon swirl that melts in your mouth. Good morning!!
I have a serious love-hate relationship with cinnamon roll pancakes.
They were suuuuuuuuper popular about a year ago. And it’s no wonder why– the pictures were absolutely drool-worthy. And the concept: totally genius. I mean, who doesn’t want cinnamon roll filling swirled in their pancakes smothered in cinnamon roll frosting? Everyone does.
But have you ever tried to make them?
Ohmygosh. I tried about a bazillion times last year before I just finally gave up. Every time I tried, my cinnamon swirl leaked out of the pancake all over the place, filling my kitchen with the semi-permanent smell of burning sugar. And, uh, burning sugar is HOT. So there were definitely more than a few finger blisters involved. It was messy, smelly, and painful. It’s idiotic that I tried to make them as many times as I did.
But those pictures!!!! I mean… they just look so perfect! So why weren’t mine turning out like I thought they should?
This idea for cinnamon roll pumpkin pancakes has been nagging at me for a few weeks, and I kept pushing it away– not wanting to look a-fool in my kitchen again (not to mention wanting to spare my hands the burns!). But, in the end, this recipe was just too tempting not to try.
So I gave it some careful thought and drew up a game plan for making painless, mostly mess-free cinnamon roll (pumpkin) pancakes. And it worked!
Although, in full disclosure: one of the improvements I made to this recipe was simply to lower my expectations. I just realized that no matter how hard I tried, some of the cinnamon swirl was going to leak out of the pancakes. Once I came to terms with that, the rest was a breeze!
Be sure to read these tips before heading to the kitchen!
I added cornstarch to my cinnamon swirl mixture. It helped hold “things” together a bit and keep it from leaking out of the pancakes any more than it did.
Be SURE to insert the tip of your piping bag or bottle into the pancake batter a bit when piping on the cinnamon swirl. DO NOT simply pipe the swirl on top. It needs to be in the batter a little bit.
Pipe the swirl IMMEDIATELY after scooping the batter onto the griddle (just to ensure that you can pipe into the batter and not on top).
Let the pancake cook really, really well on the first side. You don’t risk drying out the pancake, thanks to the pumpkin (which keeps things extra moist). And by allowing the majority of the pancake to be cooked before flipping, you won’t lose quite as much cinnamon swirl on the “flip side.” The edges of the pancakes should be dry, and the top of the pancake should look a little dry as well with bubbles that don’t pop and fill in.
Clean the griddle with a paper towel in between batches. It’s not as much work as it sounds if you do it in between each one. Getting the extra sugar off the griddle will prevent burning, and it will make things A LOT easier to clean in the end.
If you have an electric griddle, USE IT. Electric griddles are awesome for cooking evenly and preventing burned food. I’m not so sure how these would have gone over on the stove-top to be honest.
For the Pancake Batter:
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons baking powder
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 1/4 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 eggs
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 tablespoon molasses
For the Cinnamon Swirl:
- 4 tbsp melted butter
- 6 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
For the Cinnamon Roll Frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3 tbsp milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla
For the pancakes:
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice.
- Add the milk, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, melted butter, and molasses. Whisk together until smooth batter forms.
For the cinnamon swirl:
- In a small bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar, corn starch, and cinnamon. Transfer to a small zip top bag (will be snipping the corner) or squirt bottle for piping.
- Preheat a griddle to 350º (medium-high) and grease with non-stick cooking spray.
- Scoop 1/3 cup batter onto griddle. Use bag or squirt bottle to pipe a swirl of the cinnamon swirl mixture into the pancake batter, making sure to keep away from the edges.
- Let cook for 2-3 minutes, until edges are dry and the top of the pancake is bubbling. Flip and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes. *See notes in the post for tips on keeping the griddle clean to prevent burning sugar in between batches.
- Repeat with all remaining batter.
Cinnamon Roll frosting:
- Using an electric mixer or food processor, beat together the cream cheese, milk, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. (The sugar will dissolve after a few minutes and won't be granular). Spread or pipe frosting on top of pancakes.