What is a Johnny Cake? Though they look almost exactly like a pancake, Johnny Cakes are essentially a flatbread version of cornbread. These wonderful cornbread cakes can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Enjoy them with maple syrup or as you would cornbread, with a good bowl of chili. There’s no wrong way to enjoy the Johnny Cake!
What Are Johnny Cakes?
Johnny Cakes are essentially pancakes made mostly from cornmeal. Think of them as flat cornbread. And though they look like a pancake, and are made in similar fashion, they’re really more than just a breakfast item.
Johnny Cakes (consisting of mostly cornmeal) have a history which dates back to the early Native Americans who treasured corn as one of their main staples. In fact, it’s believed that the name “Johnny Cakes” is actually a slip of the tongue for its true name “Shawnee Cakes,” named after the Shawnee tribe in the northeaster parts of the United States. Some historians even believe that the Johnny Cake was on the menu during the first Thanksgiving dinner. They were also consumed by our early settlers who called them “Journey Cakes” because they were tucked into saddlebags as a remedy for groaning stomaches during arduous travels. Finally, they were called the “Hoe Cake” by slaves who fried the corn batter upon sun-baked garden hoes.
Whatever the nomenclature or peoples surrounding this corn-fried delight, one thread ties them all together: humble people using little means to create not just life sustaining remedies, but reaching beyond to do one better, to create joy, to make the mundane become delightful.
Why I Love This Recipe
While I love pancakes, they have their place in my life only occasionally. That’s because they’e so darned heavy they make me want to climb into a sarcophagus and sleep for a century. Not so with Johnny Cakes; because they’re made with only a half measure of flour, I don’t feel as full when I eat them. They’re also a multipurpose food item; they can be eaten like cornbread with lunches and dinner and then back to pancake status during breakfast. Kind of a jack-of-all-trades, if you will. I’ll make up a large batch for breakfast and have leftovers for the hours to come. Finally, they’re extremely easy to make; minimal household staples being put to good use in under 15 minutes.
Johnny Cakes Recipe
My recipe for Johnny Cakes doesn’t strictly follow traditional recipes wherein only cornmeal is used. I enjoy this version of the recipe much better because the corn flavor is more subtle when mixed with flour. Additionally, most recipes call for the cakes to be fried in bacon grease; I’m using vegan butter and a little olive oil.
- All purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Vegan butter
- Oat milk
- Olive oil
How To Make Johnny Cakes
- Mix dry ingredients. Whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
- Mix wet ingredients. Whisk together melted vegan butter, oat milk, water, and vanilla.
- Mix dry and wet ingredients together. Place mixed dry ingredient and mixed wet ingredients into one bowl and whisk to combine.
- Fry cakes. Heat a little olive oil and vegan butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter, per cake, into the skillet and cook, flipping cakes when bubbles begin to rise to the surface and edges become darker in color. Flip cakes again and cook the other side.
Don’t rely on the bubbles. Keep in mind that the batter for this recipe will cook differently than that of traditional pancake batter. Namely, you won’t get as many little heat bubbles rising to the surface; at least not enough to sufficiently serve as notice that you need to flip the cake. However, pay attention to the edges of the cake; you will notice that they begin to change color and darken. You will also want to slide your spatula under the cakes occasionally and lift the bottoms to see if they are golden brown and ready to flip.
As mentioned, one of the best things about Johnny Cakes is their versatility. Think of them as a pancake during breakfast, to be enjoyed with maple syrup or Strawberry Chia Jam. But then, when dinner rolls around, break out some Johnny Cakes to wipe clean your bowl of Vegan Chili or Shipwreck Stew.
Johnny Cakes are best consumed hot off the skillet. However, they will keep for up to 3 days if zipped up in an airtight baggie and kept in a cool place.
More Vegan Breakfast Recipes
- Easy Vegan Crepes
- Vegan French Toast
- Blueberry Toast
- Chia Seed Oatmeal
- Quinoa Oatmeal
- Avocado Toast With Sprouts
- Vegan Cream Cheese
- Roasted Breakfast Potatoes
What is a Johnny Cake? Though they look almost exactly like a pancake, Johnny Cakes are essentially a flatbread version of cornbread. These wonderful cornbread cakes can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Enjoy them with maple syrup or as you would cornbread, with a good bowl of chili. There's no wrong way to enjoy the Johnny Cake!
- 1 Cup all purpose flour
- 1 Cup cornmeal
- 2 Teaspoons baking powder
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon salt
- 1/4 Cup vegan butter, melted
- 3/4 Cup oat milk
- 1/2 Cup water
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla
- Olive oil for frying
- Pour cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a medium-sized bowl and whisk together until fully combined.
- Using a separate bowl, whisk together the melted vegan butter, oat milk, water, and vanilla.
- Combine mixed wet ingredient and dry ingredients into one bowl and whisk to combine.
- Heat a little vegan butter and olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter, per cake, into the skillet.
- Cook each cake until a few bubbles begin to show at the top and the edges begin to darken in color. Then flip cakes and cook the other side, using a spatula to lift the edge of the cakes to check if they're golden brown.
The batter for this recipe doesn't cook exactly the same as that of traditional pancake batter. You will notice that, during the cooking process, very few heat bubbles break the surface of these cakes. Be careful not to use the heat bubble as the only means by which you determine the need to flip them. Instead, look at the edges of the cakes which will become darker in color (indicating time to flip). Additionally, use a spatula to gently lift the edges of the cakes to see if they are golden brown on the bottom and ready to flip.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 204Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 307mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 3g
The Vegan Plate attempts to provide accurate information. However, this nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. The nutritional information provided comes from online sources and calculations. https://theveganplate.com/privacy-policy-2/
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