What is a Hoecake

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What is a Hoecake

Nothing smells better than Hoecakes cooking in the morning, or any time of day for that matter! A towering stack of Hoecakes served with melting butter and maple syrup makes everyone happy! Paula has always loved preparing these delicious cornmeal cakes for her family and friends. Over the years they have become a signature dish from Paula’s kitchen and one that all patrons who visit The Lady and Son’s Restaurant can enjoy on their visit to Savannah. Paula’s Hoecakes are served with every meal and provide a delicious “Welcome to the South.”

Hoecakes have served as a staple food for many years and have been given a multitude of names. Originally they were made from ground Indian corn and cooked on hot stones over a campfire. The name some Native Americans gave them was “jonican” and many regions now call them Johnny Cakes.  Another name they have been given is “corn pone” referring to the ground cornmeal they are made from, or, when cooked over an open campfire where there were ashes, “Ash cakes.” However, here in the South, the thin flat bread cakes were originally cooked on the face of a planting hoe held over an open flame. The hoes used by field hands had a wider face and were a perfect surface for cooking these flat bread cakes. Consequently, the name, “Hoecakes” was born!

Through the years we have thankfully abandoned cooking with a garden hoe, but one of Paula’s prized possessions is the cast iron Hoecake pan she inherited from her Grandmother Paul. She cooks her Hoecakes, as well as biscuits on this treasured pan. Paula has warm memories of cooking with her grandmother on the very pan she now uses to cook hoecakes for her grandson, Jack.  Don’t worry though, if you don’t have a hoecake pan, these amazing cakes can also be made in a hot cast iron skillet or on a griddle. Sometimes on a griddle, the edges will cook with a bit of a lacy effect, and some people call them “Lacy Cakes.”

No matter what you call them, Hoecakes are a wonderful, easy treat for any family. You can have them at home or even on a camp out! All you need is a skillet and a fire.

Recipe Links:
Okra Laced Hoecakes
Lace Hoecake Cornbread

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Reader Comments:


i had these for breakfast this morning amazing loved them

By McKenzi Starr on November 02, 2012


Now that is what we called a fried cornbread fritter. Not a Hoe cake. What my mom called a Hoe Cake and what she said she carried to the field was a biscuit type dough. It was just flour, salt and water, if you were lucky enough to have a cow or cows, it was flour, salt and buttermilk. She said you took your ball of biscuit dough, fat back, in one lard pail, and you put the pail down in the creek and put a rock on top of it. Then you had another lard pail of buttermilk, and you put that in the creek also. This was to keep it cool. Then at noon you took sand from the creek bank and cleaned your hoe, put your ball of dough on it, and sat it in the fire. When it was done you broke off pieces of it, and passed it around. You opened your piece up, and put your fat back in there, and you shared the pail of buttermilk with the other members of your family. I guess mom's family was lucky enough to have a cow. They loved and drank a lot of buttermilk. Mom loved to snack on cold cornbread and buttermilk. Love your show and love your recipes.

By Sug on April 15, 2012


paula you are great i would blike to know how to make your cakes but i cannot get your shows .

By Anonymous on March 18, 2012


By JameSmiths on August 23, 2011

since a little girl, one of my fondest memories is of visits to my grandparents’ and watching grandma cook hoecakes and fried apples on an old wood stove. to this day, i regularly make them myself ... always remembering grandma and the wonderful scents that came from her kitchen. life has certainly changed since then and some of it not for the best. hoecakes and fried apples (among other things) for the “grand” sunday breakfast help bring back a sense of slowing life to a more pleasureable pace ... at least for a little while.

By shirley krueger on November 24, 2010

the caddo tribe of oklahoma had a similar bread recipe, ‘Top Bread”, cooked the same way, i have been trying to find the recipe with no luck so far, my ex’s granma parton used to make top bread. lila m. parton, neah bay, wa

By lila m. parton on November 12, 2010

i remember as a little girl my grandmother cooking hoe cakes on a wood stove . she always had a few left over which she put in the pie safe and when i got home from school ihad a snack of them with onion or syrup .those were the days

By anne lester on July 20, 2010

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