Johnny Cakes or Hoe Cakes are a true Southern delicacy! This Johnny Cake recipe (also known as a fried cornbread) is so easy and perfect for breakfast or anytime of day.
A classic southern recipe, cornmeal hoecakes are little pan fried cornmeal medallions that are at home as breakfast, as much as they are as a side dish with a mess o’ greens, and just about anything else!
I have read that hoecakes likely started with Native Americans who apparently cooked these on hot rocks inside an open fire. The method was later adapted by cooking the bread on the blade of a hoe, and that is how it got its name, though some folks dispute that.
Johnny Cakes (or hoe cakes as they are called in A Real Southern Cook) are close kin to pancakes but from the south. You will often hear the term used in Southern kitchens all over Mississippi and Alabama. I like to think of this as just a fried cornbread recipe in pancake form.
These are light and crispy because they are fried in oil. With just a few ingredients, I could make these and see if the standard hoe cake was any match for good ole pancakes.
1 cup of self rising flour
1 cup of all purpose cornmeal
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar, optional
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup of cooking oil (vegetable, canola, melted bacon fat etc.)
1 tablespoon of fat, for frying, or oil combined with a bit of butter
Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and place a rack on top; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar. Measure out the buttermilk in a liquid measuring cup, and add to that the water and oil; blend well. Add eggs and mix well; combine with dry ingredients. Heat oil and butter in a cast iron skillet over medium to medium high and drop batter by about 1/8 cup measures into the hot skillet to form small medallions.
Fry until brown and crisp, turn and brown the other side. Remove and let drain on rack. Serve immediately with warm syrup for breakfast or as a snack, or dip ’em in a mess o’ greens to sop up that pot likker (juice from the greens)!
Variation: When corn is at peak and in-season, add about 1 cup of corn cut and scraped off the cob. You’ll need about 1 large ear of corn. Can also make this into a pan hoecake. Add only enough buttermilk to make a stiff batter. You may not need the additional water. Pour into a screaming hot, well greased 8-inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Reduce heat and let brown underneath about 10 – 15 minutes. Run a metal egg turner underneath and turn to brown the other side. Can also bake in a well preheated 425 degree F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes (no turning needed).
Tip: If you spray the measuring cup with a bit of non-stick spray before scooping, the batter will slip right out. If you don’t happen to have that 1/8 cup measure, just do about 2 tablespoons of batter in one pile and push it around to form a medallion.