Carrot Cake Pancakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

But first: coffee!  I, like many others, can't start my day without a cup of coffee. I'm a creature of habit and have a love for fresh brewed caffeine. While I love our little French press I will say that with our now 'busier' life juggling the newest addition, summer with three kids, and deadlines; waiting around for a cup to steep first thing in the morning isn't on the top of my list. Neither is manually foaming my milk for a cafe au lait. I want instant gratification. So when Delonghi asked if I wanted to try their Lattissma Pro Nespresso System I was 100% on board. Have you seen this thing? And who doesn't love Nespresso? At first glance I thought, oh cool it's an espresso machine and that it was probably going to be a little tricky to navigate. Nope, it is literally the most easy machine I've ever used. Fill up the water, add the milk to the carafe, add your pod, and boom! a fresh latte macchiato in under a minute. The touch screen is super intuitive, just one touch for ristretto, espresso, lungo, cappuccino, and my personal favorite, latte macchiato. All drinks can be easily personalized and memorized with the customizable settings by varying the quantity of milk and coffee. I can't rave enough about the one-touch system for milk based espresso drinks, no waiting for milk to warm up or adding it afterwards. Not feeling coffee or want a quick cup of tea, just push the hot water button. You can even make hot chocolate by the cup with the hot/foamed milk button!

Bye French press, bye. 

Clean up is a breeze and you don't have to worry about grounds getting all over the place. After using each capsule the machine stores them in a removable container until you're ready to recycle them (Nespresso has their own recycling system which is excellent!). The detachable milk carafe doesn't hurt the situation either, no need to dump extra milk. Just remove the carafe and store in the fridge until it's time to make your next cup. 

I honestly don't know how I went so many years without it and now have zero desire to hit up the coffee shops on the way out. I'll take my latte at home, in my robe on the couch, with no judgement. 
Over the last month I've gotten to try out the different capsule options and I'm definitely playing favorites with some of the blends, like the Fortissio Lungo and the Roma capsules. I think I've made enough trips to the Nespresso store in Bloomingdales to get capsules over the last couple of weeks they probably know me by name by now and I'm totally ok with that. 

Now with all this drinking creating, I'm starting to feel like a barista of sorts so I figured nothing quite goes better with coffee like some food. So I whipped up a recipe for a cozy little brunch at home that goes perfectly with the spicy, gingerbread notes of the Envivo Lungo. 

Meet my Carrot Cake Pancakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. They are heavenly and go hand in hand with my latte macchiato. If you love carrot cake like me, you're going to love this. It's basically carrot cake for breakfast with less sugar and maybe a little more carrots. Once you eat one stack of these you're never going to want anything else to start off your day again...

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting 
(Serves 4; 12 Medium Sized Pancakes)

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/4 Cup all purpose flour
1/4 Cup chopped toasted walnuts (additional 1/4 Cup for garnish)
2 Tsp. baking powder
1 Tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 Tsp. allspice
1/8 Tsp. ground ginger
1/4 Tsp. salt

Wet Ingredients:
1/4 brown sugar
3/4 Cup Buttermilk (or 3/4 Cup whole milk with a tsp. of white vinegar)
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil (or vegetable oil of your choice)
1 1/2 Tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Cups shredded carrots

Butter or non-stick cooking spray for griddle/pan (I recommend
butter 1-2 Tbsp.)

1 8oz. Pkg cream cheese, softened. 
2-3 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

For the pancakes:
In a large bowl combine dry ingredients and set aside. 

In a medium bowl add wet ingredients and mix by hand until smooth. 

Stir in the wet ingredients into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Fold in carrots. 

With a 1/4 measuring cup, drop batter into the pan and cook pancakes on medium heat until each side is lightly browned (about 1-2 minutes each side).

For the frosting: 
Cream the softened cream cheese with a hand mixer on medium/high. 

Add maple syrup and brown sugar and whip until smooth on medium to high. Set aside. 

After your pancakes have lightly cooled, frost each layer with about a teaspoon of cream cheese frosting mixture and top with a light drizzle of maple syrup, shredded carrots and toasted walnuts. 
Enjoy with Evivo Lungo Latte Macchiato. 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of De'Longhi. The opinions and text are all mine.