Recipe by David Burtka
Start to Finish: 40 minutes
- 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tbsp. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tbsp. butter, melted, plus more for cooking the pancakes
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. red food coloring (if using gel food coloring, you may need as much as 4 tsp.)
- 1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
- Pure maple syrup, for drizzling
- 1 package (8 oz.) fresh strawberries, cut into hearts (see the I Love Fruit Plate recipe for directions)
- 1 package (6 oz.) fresh raspberries (optional)
1. Set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Preheat the oven to 200°. In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese, sour cream, confectioners' sugar, and milk until the topping is smooth. If the mixture is lumpy, microwave it for 15 seconds, then whisk until smooth.
2. For the pancakes, in a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In another large bowl, whisk the buttermilk, sugar, eggs, melted butter, vanilla, food coloring, and vinegar until blended. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just a few small lumps remain. Transfer the pancake batter to a large squeeze bottle, if using.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high. If using a squeeze bottle, draw the outline of a heart with batter, then fill in the center with batter. If using a large, heart-shaped cookie cutter with 1-inch-high sides, grease the cutter, place it in the skillet, and add enough batter to reach halfway up the sides.
4. Cook the pancakes until bubbles begin to pop on the surface, 3 to 4 minutes. For the squeeze-bottle method, flip the pancakes and cook until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more. For the cookie-cutter method, using oven mitts, remove the cutter, flip the pancakes, and cook until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer to the rack in the oven.
5. Top the pancakes with the cream cheese topping and a drizzle of maple syrup. Garnish with the strawberries and raspberries, if using.
Tip: There are two ways to make these cute pancakes. Either transfer the batter to a squeeze bottle and draw the heart shapes directly onto the griddle, or grease large metal heart-shaped cookie cutters with 1-inch-high sides, place on the griddle, then spoon in the batter.