Red Velvet Pancakes–A New Vegan Valentine’s Breakfast Tradition

Yield: 8 pancakes

I love Red Velvet everything. Ever since childhood and the first taste of my Aunt Bessie’s signature cake of crimson layers swathed in fluffy white frosting with a Jackson Pollock-style drizzle of bittersweet chocolate, it has been my favorite. As beautiful as it is delicious, I chose it as the groom’s cake for Joe’s and my wedding, and I made an especially baroque one as the wedding cake for our good friends Donna and Art. Plus no one who saw “Steel Magnolias” could forget the Armadillo cake.

Over the years, I’ve created Red Velvet versions of anything I could think of from cookies to shortcakes. I even won a prize in a Better Homes & Gardens recipe contest with one version of the cookies.

Presuming I would create a menu and recipes for a romantic dinner for two for February’s “Veggie Table” column in the Virginian-Pilot, I immediately changed my mind when I learned that Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday. Instead, I started thinking of family-friendly breakfasts, conceiving of and rejecting several ideas in favor of Red Velvet Pancakes. (But my Vegan “Sausage” and Red Bell Pepper Puff Pastry Heart Tarts would be a delicious savory accompaniment.)

First I conducted a little on-line research and, not surprisingly, there were a number of non-vegan iterations, including some from a couple of California restaurant that folks raved about, but none were right. Either they were pink, were too thin, or had an odd-looking texture. Quite honestly, only one that I found appealed: a very romantic and lovely photo with a recipe on someone’s blog, but they were not vegan. Still, it was the look I was after and I knew it could be done dairyless.

So, I turned to the go-to pancake formula that I developed, complete with some whole grain goodness, and then added the key Red Velvet ingredients. After a couple of adjustments, they were ready to cook and boy-oh-boy, can I just tell you: I ate all four from my photo shoot for breakfast. They are the exact shade of deep red that any self-respecting thing calling itself “Red Velvet” ought to be. And they have the characteristic flavor profile of a slight tanginess and an almost imperceptible, yet undeniable, hint of cocoa. Granted, there is more sugar in this recipe than in most of my pancakes, but it is needed to balance the tartness of the vegan “buttermilk” and the appealing bitterness of the cocoa powder.

I hope you and your loved ones, young or old, enjoy them just as much as I did. Happy Valentine’s Day!

1 ½ cups unsweetened soy milk less 1 ½ tablespoons (plain or vanilla soy milk or lite soy milk would also be good)
1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
½ cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup self-rising flour
½-3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1-1 ounce bottle (2 tablespoons) red food coloring
Vegan butter and/or vegetable oil for frying
Vegan Sour Cream-Maple Syrup (recipe follows)
Optional Garnish: additional vegan sour cream, orange zest, vegan chocolate chips
Optional Sidecar: fresh or frozen thawed fruit

Preheat oven to warm. In a small bowl, whisk together soy milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle. In a medium mixing bowl, place next 6 ingredients. Make a well in the center and pour in soy milk and food coloring. Stir together with a fork until well combined. In a large cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the vegan butter, oil or a combination. Using a 1/3 cup measure, make pancakes, one at a time if using a skillet, as this batter tends to spread, but it rises nicely. Cook a couple of minutes on the first side until quite a few bubbles appear and the edges appear set. Gently flip and cook another couple of minutes on the reverse. Add butter and/or oil to keep skillet greased as needed. If pancakes are cooking too quickly, lower heat to medium, especially for second side. When cooked through, remove pancakes to plates or a serving platter, keep warm, and repeat with remaining vegan butter and pancake batter. Note: for smaller pancakes that allow you to cook two at a time in a skillet and more on a griddle, use a ¼ cup measure. Serve warm with Vegan Sour Cream-Maple Syrup, an extra dollop of vegan sour cream, and a garnish of a little orange zest and/or a very few vegan chocolate chips, along with a sidecar of fresh or frozen thawed fruit.

Vegan Sour Cream Maple Syrup:
4-6 tablespoon vegan sour cream
4-6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
a squirt of lemon juice (optional)

Whisk together and, if desired, heat gently in microwave for a few seconds. Note: you can make as much syrup as you like; just whisk together equal parts vegan sour cream and syrup and adjust lemon juice accordingly.

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  1. These look absolutely amazing.

  2. Truly, if I do say so myself, they are incredible and "sexy." Please enjoy!

  3. Thank you. My wife loved these.

  4. Doug, thank you so much for taking the time to let me know. And you are such a good husband! Happy Valentine's Day to you both!

  5. These look so yummy, Mrs. D! I sent your site to my friend Reeves, and we're going to have a vegan feast with our significant others 🙂
    I've always wanted to try going vegan, but I never can get past how bland I thought the food would be. Your stuff has totally blown my mind. If you're ever in Richmond, give me a call and we'll go to the Chinese food place up the street that is 100% vegan!

  6. What a nice surprise to hear from you! Your vegan feast will be a smash hit! I'm with you: I would have become a vegan long before now if I had realized I could bake and no one would be able to tell the difference (I should have done it anyway) and that I wouldn't die from a lack of cheese. 🙂 At any rate, the only real difference I've found is that the vegan "meats" aren't as juicy as their animal counterparts. That seems to be what people object to more than the taste. What do I do? Add sauce!

    I would love to share a 100% vegan Chinese meal with you in R-mond. Are you in the phone book? If not, email me your cell number. What fun! Happy V-Day! oxo

  7. i just discovered your site a few days ago and i love it – i've already made crispy kale, your chicken seitan, blue cheese, and a few other recipes! great job.
    just a quick question. i've noticed you used self-rising flour in a lot of recipes. is there a way to compensate if i only have regular flour? thanks!

  8. Hi Meghan! I'm so glad you discovered The Platter. You've been busy cooking! Thank you so much for your interest. There is a very simple substitute for self-rising four: 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (NOT baking soda) and 1/2 teaspoon salt. I use self-rising flour because I'm usually moving fast in the kitchen, and it saves me the measuring of two additional ingredients. (I wish I could find self-rising whole wheat flour.) But the substitution works great–enjoy!

  9. I thought you'd like to know that the content of this post has been appropriated by an other site. Unfortunately I can't seem to post the URL in this comment window. The blog is called Hipster Heartattack and it is on wordpress. Stand up against intellectual property theft. It hurts us all.

  10. Hi there~
    I'm so glad to know someone's got my back! 🙂 I went to Hipster Heart Attack and s/he says in the post that she "found" the recipe "here" with a link that takes you here to The Blooming Platter. (I just tried it.) So all is well and those external links are great for generating traffic. But, again, I really appreciate you looking out for me. I'm going to go post a comment there now. 🙂

  11. By the way, Anonymous, someone named Jack Smith alerted "Hipster" to his/her omission of a credit or link in a comment and she quickly replied with an apology and the addition of a link to my site. What a great community of bloggers and readers!

  12. […] Vegan Red Velvet Pancakes (adapted from here) 1.5 cups unsweetened soy milk, less 1.5 TB 1.5 TB apple cider vinegar 0.5 cup whole wheat flour […]

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