In a four cup liquid measuring cup, whisk together sugar, pumpkin, eggs and olive oil until well blended. Add enough buttermilk to bring the entire mixture to 4 cups. Whisk to thoroughly combine.
Pour buttermilk mixture into flour mixture and whisk to combine. Do not over mix at this stage or you'll risk tough pancakes. Lumps are okay. Just mix until the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
Drop batter by 1/4 cup scoopfuls onto preheated griddle or preheated pan sprayed with cooking spray. This is a thick batter, you may need to use the back of your spoon or scoop to help them spread. Cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until sides are set and you're beginning to see bubbles and the bottom is golden. Flip and finish cooking the other side.
In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, blend the cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla paste and spice until well combined. (See photos in blog post to see what this stage looks like.) It should only take a minute to mix it up.
While beating on low, slowly drizzle the heavy whipping cream down the side of the bowl (this helps prevent splashing) until the cream has been incorporated into the cream cheese mixture. As the mixture thickens, slowly increase the speed of the mixer and whip to soft or stiff peaks. Soft peaks will give you a nice texture to dollop, stiff peaks will allow you to pipe the topping, if you desire.
*All whisks are not created equal. Some have more wires and some have less. This is a thick pancake batter. I don't use a whisk to incorporate air, but I like how it breaks up the lumps while I'm stirring. If your whisk has lots of tines, the batter will get caught up in it. Feel free to stir with a spoon or spatula if you don't have a whisk with few wires.
*This is a thick batter and won't automatically spread on the griddle like a thinner batter would. After scooping it onto the griddle, I use the side of my scoop in a light bouncing motion on top of the batter to help it spread into a circle.
*The topping recipe makes enough for a generous dollop on stacks of pancakes. If you're looking to top every individual pancake, you should probably double the topping recipe.
*Leftovers of the topping can be stored overnight, covered, in the fridge. It will lose some of its body overnight, but you'll simply get softer dollops. If you decided to go for stiff peaks and put it into a piping bag, just place the whole piping bag with tip still attached into a tall mug, jar or glass (tip facing down) and cover with some plastic wrap. You'll still be able to pipe it the next morning, but the edges will be softer.
*Store leftover pancakes covered in the refrigerator or freeze for longer storage. Frozen pancakes reheat beautifully in the microwave. Just separate with waxed paper and freeze in zip top freezer storage bags. See post for more details.
*If you want more tips on how to make great pancakes, check out my Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes post.
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