Sweet Home Café Cookbook: A Celebration of African American Cooking
“There are many kinds of johnnycakes, sometimes called journey cakes or hoecakes. In the South and up and down the Atlantic Seaboard, they are often a cornmeal flatbread. Native Americans originated these hearty cakes, and some food historians believe the word johnnycake comes from the colonial pronunciation of Shawnee cake.” — JBF Award nominee Albert G. Lukas and JBF Award winner Jessica B. Harris
- 2 cups stone-ground white cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup water
- Unsalted butter for serving
- Syrup for serving
Sift the cornmeal, salt, sugar, and baking powder together into a mixing bowl.
Combine the milk and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Once heated, immediately remove from the heat and whisk into the cornmeal mixture, stirring until the batter is smooth.
Grease a large cast iron skillet or hoecake pan with butter or bacon drippings and preheat over medium heat. Spoon the batter onto a hot skillet, forming 3-inch cakes and being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning once, until golden brown. Transfer to a platter and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter, greasing skillet as needed. Serve hot with butter and syrup.
Johnnycakes is excerpted from Sweet Home Café Cookbook © 2018 by NMAAHC, Albert Lukas, and Jessica B. Harris. Photography © 2018 by Scott Suchman. Reproduced by permission of Smithsonian Books. All rights reserved
4 to 6 servings