Hoe Cakes, aka Cornmeal Pancakes or Johnny Cakes, are versatile little yellow miracles of crispy warm deliciousness! They can be served any time of day straight out of the skillet, but for breakfast, they ascend into the stratosphere with the addition of blackberry or maple syrup.
Add the flour, cornmeal, and sugar to a large bowl. Add the eggs and buttermilk to a smaller bowl and whisk well.
Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients along with ¼ cup of vegetable oil and ½ cup of water. Mix well to combine all ingredients but don’t over mix. The batter will be thick. If you think it is too thick, add a bit more water, about one tablespoon at a time, until it gets to the consistency you like.
Add ¼ cup of vegetable oil (I use peanut oil, but any kind will do) to a large skillet over medium heat.
When the oil is hot, add the batter using a large spoon or small ice-cream scoop. About two tablespoons of batter will make a hoecake about 3 inches across.
Cook the hoe cake for one to two minutes on each side or until each side is brown and the edges are crispy. Use a pancake turner or spatula to remove them and drain them on a paper towel.
I've called for vegetable oil in this recipe, but many southern cooks like to cook them in bacon grease. Hoe cakes, like pancakes, should be served warm. To keep them warm while cooking the rest, place them on an oven-safe plate and keep them in an oven at 225 degrees F. I've seen a few recipes that call for self-rising cornmeal mix instead of self-rising cornmeal. I have tried it, and while it works in a pinch, I don't think you get the corn flavor or crunch regular cornmeal provides. To substitute all-purpose flour, add one and one-half teaspoons of baking powder and one-half teaspoon of salt.To substitute regular cornmeal, add 1 tablespoon of baking powder and one-half teaspoon of salt. You can make your own buttermilk by adding one tablespoon of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice to one cup of whole milk and letting it sit for five minutes. The hoe cake batter can be made ahead of time and stored covered in the fridge for two to three days.I prefer to use a cast-iron skillet for this recipe, but you can also use a non-stick skillet.