Skillet Red Velvet Pancakes
My long-standing attitude towards red velvet cake is that its only actual purpose is to be a vehicle for cream cheese frosting. This sentiment says a lot about the cream cheese frosting and very little about red velvet cake. As a dessert, I’ve always found red velvet cake to be wishy-washy—Google “red velvet cake” and one of the related searches that comes up is, “is red velvet cake chocolate?” Give me a dessert with some certainty please. As a breakfast in the form of red velvet pancakes, however, red velvet has me ready to join its hoards of fervent fans.
The red velvet cake craze will likely always remain a mystery to me. Why eat a cake only for the frosting? How can a cake with just a few tablespoons of cocoa powder purport itself as chocolate? You want me to add how many bottles of red food coloring?
At the same time I wonder at its dessert popularity, however, I’ve found that red velvet’s subtle flavors and signature ingredients—buttermilk, cocoa powder, and everlasting cream cheese frosting—work nicely at other times of day, namely breakfast. Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls were my gateway to red velvet, and I’m continuing my journey with today’s easy red velvet pancakes, or rather pancake (singular), because the last thing that I want you doing this Valentine’s Day is standing at the stove, flipping dozens of red velvet pancakes.
Since buttermilk is an essential red velvet cake ingredient, it translates well into pancakes. I used one of my favorite ingredients, white whole wheat flour, to make these healthy pancakes (or at least healthier pancakes). I promise you can’t taste it, and it gives the red velvet pancakes a fiber boost, a quality I likely negated by dumping in a generous handful of chocolate chips. Oops. I suppose I needed some commitment in the red velvet chocolate department after all.
If you love the subtleness of red velvet flavor as is, you can omit the chocolate chips, and you will have a lovely, more classic red velvet pancake. Or, you can live dangerously and use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to eat chocolate at every meal. I think you know where I stand.
Since red velvet in any form, even pancakes, feels incomplete without its signature topping, I whipped together a lightly sweet Greek yogurt cream cheese glaze to drizzle over the top. It’s heavenly and you should absolutely add it, but I’m happy to say that this fluffy great big Red Velvet Pancake is worth eating for just as much for the pancake as it is for the frosting.
Tools I used to make this recipe:
Skillet Red Velvet Pancakes
If you love red velvet, you will flip for this red velvet pancake, baked in a skillet! Easy to make and topped with chocolate chips and cream cheese glaze.
Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
For the Red Velvet Pancake:
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (I prefer aluminum free)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups low fat buttermilk
- 1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup melted, cool coconut oil or canola oil
- 2 teaspoons red food color or food coloring paste*
- 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- Optional for serving: sliced berries, additional chocolate chips
For the Cream Cheese Topping:
- 6 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a large 10-inch cast iron or oven-safe skillet. (You can use a skillet that is up to 12 inches in diameter; note that the pancake will be thinner, and thus cooking time should be reduced.)
- In a large bowl, stir together the white whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, Greek yogurt, oil, and food coloring until smooth and well blended. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour in the wet ingredients. Stir gently by hand, just until combined. The batter will be lumpy. Fold in the chocolate chips, reserving a few to sprinkle on top.
- Pour the batter into the prepared skillet, sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top, then bake for 35-40 minutes, until the pancake is cooked through at the center and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The cooking time may vary considerably depending upon your skillet type and size, so watch the pancake carefully.
- While the pancake cooks, prepare the cream cheese topping: In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed for 2 minutes, until very smooth, light, and creamy. Beat in the Greek yogurt, vanilla, and salt for 1 additional minute. With the mixer on low, slowly add the powdered sugar. Beat in 1 tablespoon milk. Taste and add additional powdered sugar if a sweeter topping is desired and an additional tablespoon milk if a thinner topping is desired.
- To serve: Slice into wedges. Serve warm with cream cheese topping, sliced berries, and additional chocolate chips as desired.
2 teaspoons red food coloring is more than you think! If you purchase the typical food coloring variety pack (.25 fluid ounces each), it is an entire bottle, so make sure you have enough on hand if you want a pancake as red as the one pictured here, or purchase a larger bottle that is red-only. Food coloring paste will have a more intense color and less risk of a bitter aftertaste, which can sometimes occur when using large amounts of food dye (especially the red). I didn’t notice a bad aftertaste with these pancakes, but it’s something to keep in mind when making anything red velvet.
Serving Size: 1 (of 6) with 3 tablespoons cream cheese topping
- Amount Per Serving:
- Calories: 481
- Total Fat: 25g
- Saturated Fat: 17g
- Cholesterol: 59mg
- Sodium: 781mg
- Carbohydrates: 57g
- Sugar: 36g
- Fiber: 5g
- Protein: 13g