Whether you call them cornmeal pancakes, hoecakes or Jen & Melissa cakes (I know, hilarious), these are delicious.
I first had these around 2003 at Paula Deen’s Lady & Sons restaurant in Savannah with my mom and grandmother. We all loved them and I had been wanting to make them ever since. But I never seemed to have cornmeal and buttermilk and the time to make them all at once — plus, Toby had no idea what a “hoecake” was, so he wasn’t really that excited about them.
Now, of course, he is a big fan. I think you will be, too. They really do work well plain as a savory pancake or with syrup as a sweet breakfast cake.
You are supposed to fry these in butter or oil. I used butter, but I didn’t want to go overboard. The cakes above are the first I put in, so you can see a lot of butter in there. As that got used up, I added about a tablespoon or so more at a time (for 3-5 hoecakes). Also in the above photo, you may be able to tell how the edges are firming up a bit. That is when it is time to turn them over with a spatula. They should lift off the pan pretty easily, so if you are having trouble getting the spatula under the cake it’s likely they aren’t ready yet.
Nice and browned. Mmmm.
It’s a good idea to drain them a little on a paper towel after cooking, even if you didn’t go overboard with the oil or butter. Then pour on the syrup!
Hoecakes (from The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook)
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup self-rising cornmeal*
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup vegetable oil or bacon grease
Oil or butter for frying (I used butter)
Mix all the ingredients (except the frying oil/butter) together well. Heat oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat**. Drop mixture by spoonfuls into the hot skillet, using about 2 tablespoons of batter per hoecake.
When batter starts to look dry at the edges, flip the hoecake over and brown on the other side. Drain hoecakes on paper towels, then serve with butter for dinner or with maple syrup for breakfast.
Leftover batter keeps in the fridge for up to 2 days.
*I didn’t have self-rising cornmeal, so I put 1 1/2 tablespoons of baking powder in a measuring cup, then filled it to the 1 cup mark with cornmeal.
**My oven might be a little hotter than normal, because the butter starts to burn on medium. So I did it a on the low side of medium.