Corn Cake

Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863) included several recipes for corn cakes or Indian cakes in her nineteenth-century cookbook. The recipe below calls for “sweet” milk, which refers to regular milk, distinguishing it from buttermilk. Another interesting combination of ingredients in this recipe is the addition of a teaspoon of both baking soda and cream of tartar. These two ingredients, when combined, create baking powder and produces the carbon dioxide which allows the batter to rise. Try this recipe either cooked on a hot griddle or baked as cornbread. Enjoy your corn cakes, also called hoecakes or johnnycakes, with butter and honey!

Original Corn Cake Recipe

1 pint Indian meal

1 pint sweet milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

2 eggs

1 teaspoonful soda

1 teaspoonful cream of tartar

A small handful of sugar


Adapted Corn Cake Recipe

2 cups corn meal

1 ½ cups milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

¼ cup of sugar

Whisk together cornmeal, baking soda, cream of tartar and sugar in a bowl. In a second bowl whisk eggs and milk. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir in melted butter. Combine but do not over mix. The same recipe can be used either for a cornbread cake baked in the oven or for corncakes similar to pancakes cooked on a hot griddle or cast-iron skillet.

For cornbread cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease square baking pan. Pour mixture into pan and bake for 20 to 24 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out dry.

For corn cakes: Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle. Add oil or butter. Spoon mixture into 3” circles and cook on each side.

George Washington Hoecakes and Honey:

Watch an 8-minute cooking video from George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon:

A square slice of yellow corn cake with melting butter on top.

Topic: Munchie Monday
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