Johnny Cakes with Jimmy Kennedy

By Justin Brouillard, & Jimmy Kennedy
Cook Ambassadors

Johnny cakes go by many names — hoecakes, johnnycakes, Shawnee cakes, journey cakes, cornpones, batter cakes and corn cakes. They are, very simply, a cornmeal pancake, and the name variations are based on what region of the country you happen to be in when cooking and talking about these tasty, historically interesting and versatile “cakes.” They are probably most popular in New England, especially Rhode Island, for some reason. They are also one of the first, if not the first, camping foods. All that was needed to make them was to carry some flour and a pan, and you could make a version of the johnny cake. Once made, they could be carried for days in a bag, pocket, sack or saddlebag.

Whatever you call them, and no matter what part of the country you are in, they are one of the simplest recipes and are very versatile for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Think of them as a tortilla, flatbread, toast, English muffin or even a biscuit. 

Now, go make some johnny cakes and Go Out{side}

  1. Place cornmeal and salt in a large bowl. While stirring, slowly add boiling water and blend. 
  2. Add milk and continue to blend until batter is smooth. 
  3. Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter in a large, heavy skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. When butter just begins to bubble, but not brown, spoon or ladle batter into the pan to make 10 3 to 4-inch rounds. (Note: The pan should not be crowded, so make two batches if necessary.)
  4. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until cakes are lightly browned on underside and edges are just starting to crisp. Turn and cook until browned on second side, 3 to 4 minutes longer.
  5. Transfer to plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with any remaining batter until all of your johnny cakes are done.

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