Cooking Classes


Northern Cornbread

Last week I blogged about Southern cornbread.  Just to compare and to explain why we in the North call it Southern cornbread, I thought I would make Johnny Cake.  We made this once in awhile when I was a child and would serve it with corn syrup.  Maple syrup was way too expensive and difficult to find in those days.  But also, check out the recipe.  We add sugar!  And a lot more flour.

Nowadays we would add things like crushed dried red chilies, bacon bits, grated cheddar, corn kernels, diced red and green pepper and serve it more as a savoury than a sweet.  We would try to make it our version of Tex-Mex.   The pan is not preheated and we usually make it in a square cake pan rather than a cast-iron skillet.  This is more cake-like. 

Johnny Cake probably evolved from the term Journey Cake.  Corn is a New World grain and when the settlers arrived they were shown how to make this by the Atlantic coast aboriginal peoples all the way from Newfoundland down to Jamaica.  It was easy to make when they were on the road. (courtesy Wikapedia)

But I have to say, I still like this sweetened version!  I would only have it for breakfast or as a simple sweet after lunch. 


Johnny Cake with Maple Syrup         from Chatelaine Cookbook - the definitive Canadian cookbook

  • 1 1/4 cups sifted pastry flour (I used all purpose)
  • 1 cup corn meal 
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
  • 1/3 cup melted fat (we usually use butter)
  • 2 eggs , well beaten
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Stir in the combined liquids. Do not beat. Pour batter into a greased 8 x 8-inch pan and bake at 400F for 30 to 40 minutes. Serve warm in squares with butter and maple syrup.  I only had a 9 x 9 pan so mine are a little flat.


  1. I love corn bread! For Christmas a couple of years back, on of my sons bought me little baking pans shaped like bears, and I often make corn-bears in them. I've never tried it with maple syrup on top, though!

  2. I have heard of Johny cake, but never tasted or made it. I fact I never heard of corn meal until I was an adult and studying recipe books.
    Did you get the "Chatelaine Cookbook - the definitive Canadian cookbook"; it must be full of intersting facts and recipes.

  3. Marjie - maybe it is just a Canadian thing, the maple syrup, since we produce it. But it is also produced in NE USA.

    Sage - I have had the Chatelaine cookbook for years. I refer to it often.

  4. Sounds great with maple syrup! I have to admit, I live in the south now, but I like both versions.

  5. I love any kind of cornbread... but I am crazy about the title of that book..Chatelaine is such a beautiful word. Love the recipe too... I really love learning about Canadian food, Sarah. I know nothing at all so everything is new to me! I mean it's not like I thought you had moose 3 times a day... but not much at all.

  6. Deana - funny you should mention moose! When I was in TN, my neighbour's 16 yr old daughter asked me if we ate moose.

  7. une superbe recette ce pain ne peut être qu'excellent
    à bientôt

  8. That is very interesting. I always thought corn bread and Johnny cake were one and the same (as I posted last week). I can see what you mean about Johnny cake being much sweeter and being cooked in a square pan, as that is what my recipe was. I also sometimes eat it with maple syrup.

  9. Mmmm cornbread! I like the sweeter version too :)

  10. Grace - they are all the same but the cornbread changes from area to area. Then you have hoecake and pone and so on and so on!

  11. I consider myself a northerner and I like the sweetened, cake-like cornbread much better than the southern version. This one sounds right up my alley.

  12. Love cornbread ever since I first discovered it when I moved to Texas; could easily eat it every day! Love your version, too; maple syrup is a great idea.

  13. I love your new header!! It is much smaller, too. Beautiful shot!! Wow. The cornbread looks tasty, too. I love the cracks. The maple syrup addition sounds amazing.

  14. Thanks, Memoria. That is one of my favourite shots. I finally realized that my header was wayyy to big! Who wants to scroll through a page of header!

  15. Great cornbread recipe. North or South cornbread is a winner.

  16. This looks and sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing :)

  17. As I am from the Northeast and have had Johnny Cakes many times, I was under the impression that they were supposed to be the same shape as pancakes...

    Any ways, while maple syrup is often drizzled over the top, another common preparation is to serve it with a cream-based sauce and corn, green beans, and squash (aka Indian Succotash).

  18. Anonymous - I am sure there are as many versions of Johnny Cake as there are cities and provinces! Good to hear everyone's version. This is normally what we have up in Canada. I'll have to try succotash. I have always wanted to make it. It will be great when everything is fresh in the market.


I appreciate your comment! Please visit often.