Johnny Cakes

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Up until about a week ago my entire knowledge of Johnny Cakes came from that one episode of Soprano’s.  When I found this recipe in the antique recipe collection, I knew I wanted to try it and do more research on Johnny cakes.  I discovered there are many different kind of Johnny Cakes with many different names depending on what part of the country you are in.  Most sources seem to agree they were a creation of Native Americans and passed onto colonists in New England.  They are always made with ground corn and similar to pancakes.

The recipe is not dated or signed.  I had to google what “sweet milk” was in the recipe (apparently it is just whole milk).  One thing that stood out to me in this recipe was it included flour in the ingredients, not just corn meal like most recipes I found while researching.

Like her father, Norah has her fair share of brilliant ideas.   Her greatest idea thus far has been the creation of Sunday Pancake Night!  What better place to try an antique pancake like recipe for Johnny Cakes.

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This recipe was amazingly simple.  It was so simple I have no idea why they aren’t more widely made these days.  To start of I just put flour, corn meal, sugar,  cream of tarter, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl and stirred together.

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Then I added the cup of whole milk and egg.  I mixed them into dry ingredients and let the batter sit about 10 minutes while I preheated a large saute pan with butter in it.

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They cooked just like pancakes, 3-4 minutes on each side.  When they were done I put a little butter on top of each one and made another batch.  This made about 10 Johnny Cakes which was just enough for us to have none leftover.  They were a huge hit with the kids who gobbled them up.  I was really excited eating these thinking about all the people who enjoyed this recipe before.  I served them with maple syrup and a history lesson for the kids about the infamous Johnny Cakes.  One thing is for sure, this recipe will find its way into our Sunday Pancake Night rotation!

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Johnny Cakes
Recipe Type: Dinner
Author: Blogging with Apples
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 10
An old time recipe for Johnny Cakes
  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine corn meal, flour, sugar, tarter, soda and salt.
  2. Mix milk and egg in with dry ingredients.
  3. In a large saute pan melt butter on med high heat.
  4. Scoop spoonfuls of batter into pan and cook 3-4 minutes until bubbling and flip.
  5. Cook on other side 2-3 more minutes.
  6. Remove from pan top with a dab of butter and serve with maple syrup!


Jeff McIntosh

About Jeff McIntosh

Jeff's family lives in his childhood home on a 1/4 acre in town lot. Despite the small space to work with, they have challenged ourselves to produce as much of our own food as possible — and cook it! They document their journey at Blogging with Apples.