Johnny Cakes

In my quest to find old recipes and cook old fashioned foods I decided that I wanted to make Johnny Cakes. But I wasn’t sure what they were. A pancake? Cornbread? So I did a little research and found:

  • Johnny Cakes, also known as jonnycakes, journeycakes, or hoecakes, were a staple food of the early Americans on the east coast.
  • It is thought that the Native Americans first made these little unleavened cakes with cornmeal, salt and water, and then taught the early pilgrims how to make them.
  • The term hoecake came about from early farmers who did not have adequate cooking utensils and cooked their johnnycakes on their garden hoe.
  • Today, johnnycakes are cooked either in a skillet or griddle, or baked in the oven.

I ended up going with a recipe that uses milk instead of water, and has an egg too. These are incredibly easy and quick to make, and oh so yummy. Here’s the recipe:

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INGREDIENTS (Yield: 8 cakes)

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • butter for frying

Start by beating the egg a little bit with a fork in a medium mixing bowl.

Then add the cornmeal

and salt

and mix well. It will be crumbly. Then add the milk and mix well until there aren’t any lumps.

Heat some butter over medium heat in a skillet or griddle, and then drop batter by spoonfuls(about 3 tablespoons per cake) into hot butter.

Fry over medium/low heat to a golden brown on each side.

Stir batter occasionally to keep well mixed. Add more butter to skillet/griddle with each new batch.  Drain on paper towels and serve hot with butter.

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