These Southern Johnny Cakes aka Hoe Cakes would be a great alternative to your everyday pancake. Made with cornmeal and a touch of sugar and nutmeg. Light and fluffy with a delicious crisp edge.
Hoecakes are cornmeal flatbreads with exceptional texture and flavor. They’re sort of a minimalist approach to cornbread.
This is made with leavening agents which makes it moist and fluffy, somewhat comparable to pancakes but not quite.
Aside from keeping the ingredients list simple, what you fry the cakes in, matters. Along with the texture and subtly sweet flavor, hoecakes need some fat. It seeps into every inch as it fries for additional flavor. Butter or good ol’ bacon fat is the way to go. Butter will yield light, crispy hoecakes and promote that golden brown color only butter provides, while bacon fat will add some of its signature pork and smokey flavor.
For the health conscious go easy on the butter.
My version of hoe cakes has a hint of sweetness and spice from the addition of nutmeg. ‘Course I love it so much AND it pairs well with the flavor of the cornmeal while still yielding versatile rounds of corny goodness. If it’s tradition you are after then leave out the nutmeg. We’ll still be friends, no worries!
Johnny cakes are a cinch. You mix the incredibly simple batter in a large bowl, heat your selected fat, spoon batter into the hot skillet and cook until golden and firm. Once done, serve them quickly because hoecakes are best when warm. Upon taking a bite, you’ll be greeted by their crisp and dense yet soft texture. As for flavor, the hint of fat is the first thing that hits your tongue followed by the expected corn flavor. The sweetness from the touch of sugar comes soon after and the nutmeg brings a faint hint of its signature aroma and complexity.
Something special happens when the aromatic spice melds with sugar. The duo enhances the hoecakes resulting in a perfect bite every time.
Don’t forget to drizzle with honey or syrup or save as an accompaniment to a savory meal.
Watch How to Make It
Southern Johnny Cakes (Hoe Cakes)
- 1 cup or (128 grams) flour
- 1 cup or (120 grams) cornmeal
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/2 teaspoon or (10 grams) baking powder
- 2 tablespoon or (28.12 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon or (5.69 grams) salt
- 3/4 cup or (177 ml) milk
- 1/2 cup or (118 ml ) water
- 1/3 cup or (75 grams) melted butter
- 1 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon or (0.011 grams) nutmeg
- butter or oil for frying
- In a large bowl, mix cornmeal , flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg , and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in milk, water, egg, vanilla and melted butter . Through mix until pancake mixture is smooth
- Heat a lightly oiled cast iron or frying pan over medium high heat. Scoop about 2 tablespoons each of the batter onto the cast.
- Fry each Johnny cake until brown and crisp; turn with a spatula, and then brown the other side.
- Remove and serve immediately with syrup and/or butter .
Tips & Notes:
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.
How To Make Johnny Cakes