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2 cups white cornmeal, preferably stone-ground

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon sugar

1 cup whole milk

Unsalted butter for greasing pan, plus more for serving

Syrup, for serving

There are many kinds of johnnycakes, sometimes called journey cakes or hoecakes. In the South and up and down the Atlantic Seaboard, they are often a cornmeal flatbread. Native Americans originated these hearty cakes, and some food historians believe the word johnnycake comes from the colonial pronunciation of Shawnee cake.


In a medium bowl, sift together cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and sugar. In a small saucepan, combine milk and 1 cup water and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, immediately remove from heat and whisk into cornmeal mixture, stirring until batter is smooth.

Grease a large cast iron skillet or hoecake pan with butter or bacon drippings and preheat over medium heat. Spoon batter onto hot skillet, forming 3-inch cakes and being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter, greasing the skillet as needed. Serve hot with butter and syrup.

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