1. Prepare the cinnamon filling: Before you start, keep in mind that you’re looking to get the cinnamon mixture to a thick, “toothpaste-like” consistency. Mix the cinnamon filling ingredients in a small pan over low heat, or heat in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl. Just melt the butter and mix in the sugar and spices. The mixture will be pretty liquidy at first, but the longer it sits at room temperature- it will begin to turn into that thick texture that you need for swirling. Prepare this first, and then scrape it into a zip baggie and let it sit on the counter. Squish the bag around once in a while to re-incorporate the butter.
2. Prepare the icing: Mix icing ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low until the butter and cream cheese are melted. Whisk the ingredients together until smooth. Set aside until your pancakes are ready to serve.
3. Prepare the pancake batter: In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, applesauce, coffee, molasses, water and egg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining (dry) ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until everything is combined.
4. Check on your cinnamon filling. If it has turned into that nice, thick consistency that you need (see photo above), you’re ready to make your pancakes! Preheat a large skillet or griddle to medium heat and spray it with nonstick spray. Scoop a 1/2 cup-full of batter into the skillet and use the bottom of the cup to spread it into a round shape. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the pancake cook while you cut a tiny piece off of the corner of your cinnamon swirl baggie, swish it around to combine the ingredients one last time and then squeeze the baggie to make a swirl on the pancake- starting in the center and swirling out. Cook the pancake 3 minutes or so, until the pancake begins to show popping bubbles toward the edges. Using a thin spatula, gently wiggle it under the pancake and carefully, but quickly flip it over. Some of the cinnamon swirl may spill out and mess up your pan a little bit, but don’t worry about that. Cook the pancake for a minute or two on the other side and then remove it to a plate, flipping it over so the cinnamon-swirl is on top.
5. Drizzle some of the icing on top of the pancake and serve immediately. Remember, each pancake is as decadent and delicious as eating a cinnamon roll… so one or two is plenty per serving! Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, then repeat making the pancakes with the remaining ingredients.