Tipper's Jig
Spring of the Year

Corn Fritters - Hoe Cakes - Johnny Cakes = YUM!

Johnny cakes

Some folks call them corn fritters while others call them Johnny Cakes or Hoe Cakes. Whatever you call them the little pancake like things are good! Especially with a glass of sweet tea to wash it down.

Johnny cake recipe

To make corn fritters you only need cornmeal and hot water mixed into a batter and fried in oil. The fancier recipe below has egg and flour which gives the fritter more substance.

Corn Fritters - Johnny Cakes - Hoe Cakes

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 cup hot water or milk (I use hot water)
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Are johnny cakes pancakes

Mix all the dry ingredients; stir in the egg, milk or water, and oil; fry like a pancake.

In the cookbook More Than Moonshine, Sidney Saylor Farr shares a story about asking her Grandmother how Johnny Cakes got their name. The gist of her Grandmother's explanation was: A pioneer lady made her hungry boy, named Johnny, a cake and told him it was Johnny's cake. I've also heard the cakes were originally called Journey Cakes because of the ease with which they could be made as one traveled on their journey. 

Eating johnny cakes

Corn fritters or whatever you call them are good with syrup and especially good with a smear of pepper jelly. But my favorite way to eat them is plain. There's something about the texture and nuttiness of the cornmeal that make them so tasty straight out of the pan.


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I will add some Blueberries. I could live on these.
Chuck Howell

Thank you for sharing this! I've pinned it for later.

Corn fritters, pinto beans with ham hock, and young onions, now that's a meal that would satifiy any southern King.

I have always wanted to make these...now I will. Thanks for the lesson and recipe!

My mama made all of these, and I do too! We call them Hoe Cakes if we make the batter thin, and Cornpone or Johnny Cake if we make it thick (the batter for these is meal, water, salt, and a bit of butter or bacon drippings). The cakes using a batter with eggs , baking powder, and buttermilk we call Corn Dodgers. All of those are cooked on a griddle or cast iron skillet that is barely greased. If we fry any of that in butter or oil, we call it Corn Fritters. Hush Puppies are a thicker batter with grated onion shaped into balls and fried in the deep fat where we fry fish. All are delicious! I like the Fritters with honey and the Dodgers with maple syrup and butter.

I've heard the story about Journey Cakes, not the one about Johnny. Here we call them Corn Cakes which is a combination of the names shared. They're great with homemade chili or soup. I like mine with honey. Yum!!!
God bless.

Tipper, I have heard about all of these but the ones my Mama made while I was growing up she called Hoe Cakes and they were made from flour, milk or buttermilk and some hot grease. Stirred together and made in a cast iron pan like pancakes. She also would use the same ingredients and pour the whole amount in the hot black skillet and bake in the oven. Which ever way they were so good. I don't ever remember her making them with cornmeal.

OK, 2nd post today but .....

Are these the same as Rooster Cogburn's corn dodgers that he used for trail rations and target practice?

About 'neck of the woods' - 'neck' is a common geographic term on the coast for the land between two streams. Such terms can get translocated into areas that they don't fit. Terms associated with streams in particular seem to migrate upstream over time. An example may be the name 'Chattahoochee' in the Chattahoochee River of Georgia being said to mean 'flowered stone' but variously related to the shoal lily growing among river rocks at the Fall Line and the wildflowers of the mountain coves in the Blue Ridge Mountains. So I think maybe the "neck" of the Tidewater just migrated with the folks as they moved.

My Mom and Gram used to make these, only they would usually add some corn to it either cut off the cob or leftover from a different meal. They were always one of my favorites. They even made them without cornmeal if we were out, used regular flour and then added lots of corn to them. LOL When I was growing up it was always make do or do without. Sort of the same when my kids were growing up. They never seemed to realize they were "without" like when I used leftover mashed potatoes, a hamburger and some leftover veggies in the fridge to make "potato surprise" as they wanted to know what it was...turned out to be one of their favorite foods...potato pancakes with whatever leftover meat and veggies we had...to this day my daughter likes it. LOL

They are corn fritters where I grew up. I like the crustiness; that is the proportion of crust to insides. I especially like them with homemade soup, with milk, plain and sometimes with butter. They are go well with plain or infused olive oil as a dipping sauce.

I love corn bread flitters fried and Pork 'n Beans. I've been craving that for about a week now, and I intend to have it sometime today. Only thing, I don't use Sugar at all in flitters.

One time my Michigan friend and neighbor ate dinner with me. He was from the thumb part of Michigan, but as I took out the cornbread from the oven, he said "Oh, Journey Cake, I use to have that as a boy." His name was Millard Hurlburt. ...Ken

Mostly call it fried cornbread, but we never add egg or sugar. If we use buttermilk we put in a pinch of sodee. My wife fixes this, when it's baked I have to fix it. I like it with just about anything especially milk and bread with onion and salt.

There's nothing like cornbread! My mother-in-law is alone now and makes these for herself instead of a pan of cornbread. I always try to have cornbread, biscuits or rolls when she eats with us and the things it's hard to make a small amount of. I don't remember Mama ever making fried cornbread--guess there were too many to feed so she just made a big skillet.

Have you tried honey on cornbread? So good!! I'll have to try the pepper jelly too.

I guess I ain't never had Hoe Cakes or Corn Fritters or Johnny Cakes. My mother used to make pancakes to keep it from going to waste when she made too much cornbread batter. She would water the excess down just enough to pour it then fry it like flour pancakes. I loved them things 'cause they're all crust and I am a crust connoisseur.
I would never put jelly, syrup or even butter on cornbread or fried cornbread but that's just me. I like it with something like mustard, ketchup or hot salsa. I sometimes eat it with chopped onion and chili spooned over it.
Do you use plain cornmeal or a cornmeal mix?

b.Ruth's comment got me to thinking (LOOK OUT!!). She said something about her "neck of the woods". I was wondering about that phrase. I use it often but hadn't thought much about it until she mentioned it. If the woods has a neck, does it also have a head and shoulders?

My mama made these when I was growning up and she called them corn pancakes. They were so good with fried fish! The cast iron frying pan she used made them crispy.These pictures brought back a lot of memories. I can taste one now!

We usually call this fried bread. We all love them. I'll make them pretty big - almost, but not quite the size of the skillet. When finished, we just tear a piece off and spread some butter on it.

The blacksmith's favorite breakfast is when I take a box of jiffy cornbread and mix it up with a little extra milk and make pancakes from it. Give him that and molasses and he's happy.

Hoe cakes to us were self rising flour and water. Cook in a skillet with grease and eat with sorghum syrup mixed with lots of butter. I cook them and the dog and I enjoy. My wife won't touch. growing up we thought these were great and now realize that they were poor folks food. I'll take it any day over restaurant food. Last time home my older brother had me cook him hoe cakes.

This is very similar to the breads cooked in India and served in the restaurant to eat the food with. Everyone takes a piece and gathers meat mixture out of the bowl. No silverware used.

I was always told that they could be cooked on the wide hoes used to work the fields. In older times the hoes were 7 or 8 inches wide and shaped like a skillet with no sides. I have one my father used in the cotton fields and if you worked all day with it, you'd want a lot of hoe cakes.

Although "fritter" seem to be the most common term these days, back when I was a kid 50-60 years ago, all I heard was Johnny Cake. I used to tag along with my father on his Saturday visits and there was great old fella, a WW I veteran, who was a widower. I remember him saying he was getting along pretty well. He pointed to a smallish wood stove that provided him heat in his main room and said "Any time I get hungry I can cook me some Johnny Cake right on that stove."

I assumed for years that it was a Civil War term as the Southerners or Johnny Rebs had mostly cornmeal to eat and either had it as mush or fried. But that wasn't true. Some sources even say it all began in New England.

Whatever, they are easy to make and quite tasty.

I love fried cornbread. I also love regular cornbread made in mom's old cast iron skillet. A cold glass of milk and a warm slice of cornbread is a treat for me.
There is a BBQ restaurant near us that has fried cornbread. I get the BBQ, pintos and cornbread when we go there and it's really good.

My Mother made a few hoe cakes every day. I wish I could taste one now!

I did want to add this with a few tears this morning...when the Cardinal appeared in song..my thoughts were the saying...When Cardinals you hear, Angels are near! I believe that with all my heart!
Thanks Tipper,

I near forgot....Happy First Day of Spring! Those corn cakes made me forget I guess!

I wanted to say I was on here before dawn this morning. I wanted to hear the first bird that would sing here at our house today....
and the winner is: The Cardinal or Red Bird...at 6:41 AM...right outside the kitchen window...near his feeder...singing would you believe...Pretty, pretty, pretty...He did well and I give him points for that ode to 2017 Spring..
however a little bit ago I heard him give the wet, wet, wet call...I now hear all our Spring singers just having a choir meeting...Love my birds!

My mother used to make what we called "corn pone" - the simplest bread I know. You just stir boiling water into corn meal (and add a little salt if you want) to make a sticky dough. Shape it into cakes with your hands and fry. The boiling water cooks the meal enough to make it stick together.

I thought Hoe cakes were cooked on a primitive hoe-like cast iron tool in an open fireplace? I need to hunt up that story in my oldie cookbook!
Corn fritters... we made, had cut off corn in them and fried, served with a meal. At least from my neck of the woods!
Johnny Cakes...we thought or made in a iron skillet with a bit or more of sugar...sort of like your Pap made...break off a piece and put jelly on..."Your gums will beat your tongue to death 'fore you can swaller"!

All said...We called this flat cake made with corn meal...(usually self-rising meal) Fried corn bread...
When we have Crappie in the spring...we fry this batter in the leftover oil/fat that the fish was fried in and call them flat hush puppies...we do not take the time to make a thicker batter and drop in deep fat...Let me tell you these country flat hush puppies are delicious!
Thanks Tipper
PS...Tipper I think I have read stories about Journey cakes and think you are right on about the name! Even though it wasn't much of a journey to the fields to work the tobacco...my Dad said that they grabbed any left over biscuits, fried cornbread or just chunk bread and stuck in their overhauls in the morning when they took a jar of cows milk or water with them. They were out in the patches at dawn and actually came back in for breakfast before going out and working til done or dinner...and came in again for supper! Ha

I love these! My Mom's cast iron corn stick pan, which I now have, will not hold my full recipe of corn bread mix. The solution is to make a few corn cakes and eat them right out of the pan with milk while the corn sticks are baking. Yum! I like them plain.

My grandma made biscuit dough and baked it in a cake (not cut into separate biscuits). She called it "hoe cake" and it was really good! We make it to go with beans but it's never as good as hers.

Tip, I've mostly made these when I had a meal that needed cornbread when I didn't have time to make it so I made corn corn cakes. Deep fried hush puppies are also the greatest with fried fish. Truth is I try not to fry so much anymore.

These are so addictive, and one of the hardest for me to give up when I diet. I must occasionally cheat and enjoy. We always used buttermilk and made sure the oil was hot. There is a mountain in neighboring county named Johnny Cake. Now, you can't get more Appalachian than Johnny cakes with wild greens.

Love these! My Dad loves these. I guess when you add onion you have hush puppies (I love them with onion)!

I have terrible luck making regular pancakes - I think I'll try making these!

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