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Coffee Cake Pancakes

Coffee Cake Pancakes

A good streusel topping is hard to resist. It’s one of the things that makes coffee cakes so popular, and can turn a good muffin into a great one – or at least turn it into one that looks a little more decadent. I’m sure that this is what IHOP was banking on when they introduced some “limited time only” Coffee Cake Pancakes to their menu. The pancakes look delicious on their posters, with layers of pancakes, streusel and whipped cream. As tempted as I was to pull my car over when I spotted a nearby IHOP, I decided to drive on home and put together a completely homemade batch of coffee cake pancakes.

I assumed that IHOP probably used their standard pancake batter for their pancakes, so I set out to base my recipe around the buttermilk pancakes that I usually make. The IHOP pancakes have streusel on top of the pancakes, as well as in the pancakes themselves, so I knew that I would have to make a batch of streusel and bake it off in advance. I modified a streusel that tops one of my favorite coffee cakes, crumbled it onto a baking sheet and baked it in the oven until it was crisp

To make the pancakes, I used a 1/3 cup measure to dollop large amounts of batter onto my griddle, spread the pancake batter (it is fairly thick) gently into circles, and sprinkled some of the pre-baked streusel topping onto the un-cooked side of the pancake. This allows the streusel the chance to cook into the pancake, not just slide off the top. I served these with maple syrup and more streusel topping, leaving the whipped cream to the IHOP version.

The pancakes were soft and fluffy, with a delicious buttermilk-vanilla flavor. The streusel added a fantastic texture and flavor to the pancakes: crunchy, sweet and buttery. It was almost like crumbling up shortbread cookies and sprinkling them into the batter, but probably better because of the spices in the streusel. The pancakes are quite filling – not to mention indulgent – so I would save these for a lazy weekend morning. The streusel can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container if you want to bake it ahead of time and have it on hand.

Coffee Cake Pancakes, in progress

Coffee Cake Pancakes
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and salt. Add butter to bowl and blend at low speed with a hand mixer until mixture resembles coarse, wet sand. Stir in pecans
Grab handfuls of the streusel mixture and press them together into clumps. Drop gently onto baking sheet. If clumps are too large (say, bigger than a golf ball) break up slightly.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until firm and light gold. Cool on baking sheet.
Before using, coarsely chop if pieces seem too large to easily use as a topping.
Store in an airtight container if not using right away.

Coffee Cake Streusel

Double this recipe to use up the full batch of streusel, or reserve the extra streusel for another batch
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Whisk until batter is well-combined and no streaks of flour remain. It’s ok if the batter is a little lumpy.
Preheat griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles on its surface. Grease lightly if not using a nonstick pan.
Using a 1/3 cup measure, dollop batter onto hot griddle. Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of streusel onto the pancake. Cook until bottom is browned, then flip and cook until streusel side is browned.
Serve pancakes with maple syrup and an extra sprinkling of streusel.

Serves 4, with enough streusel to top a double-batch of pancakes and serve 8.

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  • Elle
    November 5, 2008

    Wow, I want these right now. They look delicious! I don’t know that I’d be able to skimp on the whipped cream, though.

  • Lisa magicsprinkles
    November 5, 2008

    IHOP? No, you HOP and you rock. These look like a perfect lazy Sunday morning feast.

  • sharon
    November 5, 2008

    Ingenious. If I could put streusel topping on everything (and not gain 15lbs) I would! I’m sure these are so much better than anything IHOP could produce.

  • Monet
    November 5, 2008

    We don’t have an IHOP around here, and I always get mad because I see the commercials and can never get whatever their featured pancakes are. But I’m sure these are even better. πŸ™‚ I’ll have to give these a try next time I’m home from college for the weekend.

  • Lorrie
    November 5, 2008

    I’m not a big pancake eater and never go to IHOP, but my daughter was leaving to go to S. Korea for a year, my oldest daughter flew from L.A to S.F. so that she could say good bye and IHOP was the only place we found to have our family breakfast together. I order the coffee cake topped pancakes because I too love coffee cake. It was DELICIOUS, so go ahead, pull into the next IHOP you see and order them I don’t think you will regret it!!!!

  • Bridget
    November 6, 2008

    Oh my! Adding this to my “to make”, no…”must make,” list right now! πŸ™‚

  • Amy
    November 6, 2008

    I can’t wait to try these out! We love pancakes and all foods breakfast at our house!

  • confectionate
    November 6, 2008

    these sound sooo good!

  • Dani
    November 6, 2008

    I am drooling right now!!!!

  • CookiePie
    November 6, 2008

    What a great idea! Those sound fantastic!

  • Marian
    November 6, 2008

    These look good – I love streusel. Now will you do a pumpkin custard pie (NOT the recipe with sweetened condensed milk) with stresel topping?

  • Sarah
    November 6, 2008

    Oh! These look amazing. Sunday brunch, here I come! πŸ™‚

  • Nicole
    November 14, 2008

    Marian – Keep your eyes out. There will be a recipe for exactly that kind of pumpkin pie up very soon!

  • tellas
    November 15, 2008

    sounds delicious! one question; it says “1/4 sugar” in the pancakes, but 1/4 what; cup, tsp, tblsp? i gotta know!!

  • Sunshine
    November 18, 2008


    Nuff said.

  • Kristen
    January 7, 2009

    This looks like a great recipe, but it doesn’t sound that close to the IHOP version, if that was what you are going for. The IHOP version isn’t a typical buttermilk pancake. It’s is a more cake-like texture, which is what I really love. I’m going to keep searching for my ideal pancake recipe.

  • Mary Jo
    January 18, 2009

    I printed this recipe this morning to make it. Instead of following the recipe exactly I made my pancakes by following the recipe on Bisquick, adding the powdered sugar, vanilla, and baking powder they suggested for making supreme pancakes. I then mixed up the stuessel recipe you suggested (at the top) However, instead of cooking it in the oven I mixed it with my pancake mix. Added more milk and cooked like regular pancakes. The baking powder and sugar made my pancakes more like cake. I topped my pancake with a mixture of whipped cream and powdered sugar and a few more pecans. It was fabulous!!

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