Johnny cakes have been a staple of American cuisine for hundreds of years. It was a recipe learned from the Native Americans who cooked these small cornmeal cakes baked over hot ashes.
Their Native American name was ''noekhick'' but that evolved to "journey cakes", as these breads were easy to carry in the saddlebags of American pioneers. Eventually, they became known as Johnny cakes but they are also known as ''hoe cakes'' in some parts of Southern United States.
Johnny Cake Ingredients
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What was once a humble recipe featuring just cornmeal, salt, and water has expanded to include add-ins like milk, butter, sugar, eggs, and even bacon fat.
How To Make Johnny Cakes
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Johnny cakes may be baked, fried or cooked on a griddle. The method of preparation depends on the region of influence. For instance, some Caribbean versions of Johnny cakes call for frying the batter while in the Northeastern United States they are cooked on a griddle. Some recipes don't feature corn at all, just wheat flour.
Old Fashioned Johnny Cake Recipe
Old-fashioned johnny cakes were made by gradually adding boiling water to the cornmeal and salt mixture. These were then molded and baked, or cooked on a griddle similar to a pancake.
Caribbean Johnny Cake Recipes
Johnny cakes are beloved in the Caribbean but they don't have contain corn. Instead, many recipes call for wheat flour instead. Some Johnny cakes are baked while others are fried in a skillet. It really boils down to the preference of locals.
Bermuda-Style Johnny Bread
For instance, in this video you will see a typical recipe for Bermuda Johnny bread made on the stove top. The batter contains wheat flour, butter, milk, sugar, and salt.
Bahamian Johnny Cake
In the Bahamas, you'll spot Johnny bread which is more similar to cornbread than a pancake. The Johnny bread is baked in a casserole dish and sliced into squares.
Belizean Johnny Cake Recipe
In Belize, Johnny cakes are commonly enjoyed for breakfast. They made from wheat flour instead of corn meal. The dough is moistened with coconut milk and formed into small patties and poked with a fork. The patties are then baked until golden.
Jamaican Johnny Cake Recipe
In Jamaica, Johnny cakes are actually sweet fried dumplings which don't look like a ''cake'' at all. They are commonly enjoyed with saltfish (salted codfish).