Hoe cakes are a rather new thing around my house. When I was growing up, we only had cornbread. Though, my mother’s aunt used to make “fried cornbread” that was very similar to hoe cakes. But that was fried with and in bacon grease and was probably closer to what folks around middle Tennessee call “hot water cornbread.”
Anyway, one day, I wanted some corn bread but didn’t really want to make a whole cornbread, so I looked up hoe cakes (instead of just using the recipe on the package, for whatever reason). Just about every recipe was from or based on Paula Deen’s recipe. So, I pulled it up, made a few adjustments and tried it. And they are good. And I am ashamed. Though, the best part about it was that it made me think to use my cast iron pan. That was really the key to making these hoe cakes.
But Paula’s hoe cakes aren’t really the traditional hoe cakes. Real hoe cakes (hoecakes) require little more than cornmeal and water. I’ve made those, too (since making the first batch). And they are good, but they’re not quite as good as Paula’s (which are really more like cornmeal pancakes). So I’ve included both recipes, but only the pictures of those beautiful Paula Deen hoe cakes. Try either or both yourself; they’re fantastic.
Hoe Cakes aka Cornmeal Pancakes
adapted from Paula Deen
yield: about 16 hoe cakes
Corn or vegetable oil, for frying
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup self-rising cornmeal*
1 cup flour
Mix all ingredients together, except for the frying oil, in a bowl until well combined. Heat the frying oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Fry until browned and turn with a spatula to brown the other side. When done, remove each hoe cake to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
*Note: If you use self-rising cornmeal mix (which already contains flour), use 2 cups and no flour.
adapted from Dixie Lily
yield: about 10 hoecakes
1 cup Dixie Lily self-rising corn meal
1 1/2 cup boiling water
vegetable oil for frying
Combine corn meal and boiling water in bowl and stir to blend. In a large cast iron skillet, heat 1/4 inch oil over medium low eat until a droplet of water sizzles when dropped in. Spoon batter, by tablespoonfuls into hot skillet and fry until golden brown. Turn and fry on the other side until golden brown and serve with butter or potlikker.
*Note: don’t use cornmeal mix with these. Just don’t.