Little House on the Prairie: How to make Johnny Cakes
In the first book of the series, Little House In the Big Woods, Laura loves when Ma makes Johnny cakes. But she wonders why a bread made with cornmeal is called cake. Whatever the reason behind the name, these versatile cornmeal pancakes can be enjoyed as a savory dish or dessert with maple syrup and butter.
Skill level: easy
- Cast iron skillet
- Large bowl
- Cake spatula
- Several large plates for serving
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Butter or shortening for frying
If you’re wondering how to make Johnny cakes, it’s just like pancakes but with the distinctly rustic and hearty cornmeal flavor.
- In a large bowl, mix together cornmeal, sugar, and salt until fully blended. Slowly add the boiling water and whisk until it forms a smooth batter.
- Heat the skillet on medium with butter or shortening. Place about 1/4 cup of butter onto the pan. When the edges start to dry in the middle bubbles up, flip them over and cook the other side. Grease the pan and repeat this step until all the batter is used.
- Serve warm with honey or maple syrup. Or serve as a base for a savory dish.
Fun fact: Star and producer of the hit show Little House on the Prairie, Michael Landon would inspire child actors before dramatic scenes by crying and saying how much he loved them.