Hoe Cakes Are Not What “Working Girls” Eat For Breakfast

Hoe Cakes, also called Johnny Cakes, are an old southern recipe, originating like so many great southern recipes did—from meager ingredients and improvisation born of the hardscrabble life of a slave.  The first recipes were most likely very basic—ground dried corn, maybe a bit of honey or molasses, and lard or fat drippings, cooked on the blade of  a garden hoe over an open fire.  Eventually, other ingredients, such as wheat flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder, butter or buttermilk, found their way into these recipes.  Once cooking indoors became more accessible, and since one typically would not bring their garden hoe indoors to cook over a stove, hoe cakes became pancakes.  The rest is breakfast history!

Sort of.  Have you ever eaten pancakes for dinner?  I don’t have time during the week to make much of a breakfast, and on the weekends, Mama sleeps in…..So, every once in a while, I start jonesing for a good breakfast, at dinnertime.  Also, being the proper Catholic that I am, Fridays during Lent are meat free, and pancakes make a great Lenten dinner.  The Episcopal Church down the street has a Pancake Supper during Lent, so it’s not just crazy Catholics the practice this observation.

Not many restaurants serve pancakes after 11:00 a.m., and those that do serve unremarkable pancakes.  They are so unremarkable, that they often cover them up with canned fruit pie filling and whipped cream, as if that would make them less unremarkable. They also serve unremarkable lunch, and unremarkable dinner, but that’s not what I am looking for.

I want a pancake.  One that has great texture, and great flavor.  One that can, without being overwhelmed by syrup or fruit, look the world straight in the eye and say “eat me!”

With a side of bacon, thank you, because bacon makes everything better!

The easiest way to get the pancake I want, when I want it is to make it.  Luckily for me, and you, and every pancake eating Catholic, Episcopalian, or herbivore out there, pancakes couldn’t be simpler to make.  And they are so easy to sass up any way you wish…Take the basic recipe of your choosing, be it cornmeal, buckwheat, wild rice, whole grain, or plain old buttermilk, to name a few, and add whatever you wish.  Dried or fresh fruit. Pumpkin. Nuts. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Ginger. Candied ginger. Crumbled bacon.  Brussel Sprouts.  That’s GROSS!  Just seeing if you were paying attention.

There are so many good recipes for pancakes out there, but I am going to share one that is a little bit different, and super simple.  It’s whipped up in seconds in a blender, and the base it Ricotta cheese.  Yes, Ricotta cheese..  Ricotta is a super soft fresh cheese, frequently used in Italian desserts and pasta dishes.  Used in pancakes, the result is super moist, with a dense, but light crumb…Sort of like the interior of a really moist popover, almost custardy.  They are more similar to the thin, moist Swedish style pancake.  Lemon or other citrus flavors pair nicely with ricotta, so this one has citrus juice and zest in the pancake.  These are delish topped with melted butter and some granulated sugar or cinnamon sugar.  They are out of this world with a bit of melted marmalade over the top.  I thought my kids would take issue with the new type of pancake that landed on their plates, but they ate the whole platter in record time.  Definitely remarkable.

Citrus Ricotta Pancakes


Citrus Ricotta Pancakes

16 oz whole milk Ricotta cheese

5 eggs

1 tsp oil

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

4 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 T fresh orange zest

For serving:  butter, cinnamon sugar, orange marmalade (or favorite syrup)

Preheat griddle or non-stick skillet to medium high (must be non-stick surface)

Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend for 30 seconds.

Pour 2-3 tablespoons of batter onto hot griddle.  Cook until edges start to dry, and holes remain where the bubbles popped.  Flip gently with a large spatula, and cook the other side for 30 seconds, or until done.  Remove to platter and top with a pat of butter.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Sprinkle with sugar, or cinnamon sugar, and a drizzle of melted marmalade.

Instead of syrup, try these with simple butter and a bit of sugar (granulated, for texture).  Melted orange, or lemon marmalade is perfect for these, or if you can find ginger syrup, it would be divine.

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Categories: BAKING, Food, Gourmet, Texas


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27 Comments on “Hoe Cakes Are Not What “Working Girls” Eat For Breakfast”

  1. Greg
    2011/11/11 at 9:57 am #

    Don’t forget that “daddy” sometimes, on the weekends, whips up some breakfast consisting of hashbrowns and his (household) famous ham and cheese egg scramble. Sometimes left over steak and baked potatoes make their way into one pan and onto a flour tortilla with some nice picante sauce. Man I’m getting hungry hearing myself!! 😉

  2. 2011/12/05 at 12:16 pm #

    My husband is the breakfast cook in our house and he LOOOOOVES making pancakes. Definitely a Saturday morning staple in our household. I am going to pass this recipe on to him in hopes that he tries them one of these weekends. Looks delicious!

  3. 2011/12/05 at 12:19 pm #

    Interesting! I’m German and have never heard of hoe/johnny cakes, but they sound delicious 🙂 Great informative post.

    • 2011/12/05 at 12:31 pm #

      Yes, they are not German…They originated in the deep south of the USA….

  4. bananamondaes
    2011/12/05 at 2:39 pm #

    Butter, lemon and ricotta – yum. Our house has been taken over by the waffle maker – but I need to go back to the pancakes and this post has made me miss them.

  5. 2011/12/05 at 5:12 pm #

    You know what the problem with this post is? I’m stuck in a hotel in San Marcos and it’s well into the afternoon! So, no remarkable pancakes for me! (Not tonight, anyway!)

    • 2011/12/05 at 7:05 pm #

      Ohhhhh, but you could go someplace fabulous in Austin tomorrow! So many great choices….so little time…

  6. 2012/01/13 at 11:00 am #

    I love the ricotta in here! These must be so tender and delicious. Cute title for the post, too 🙂

  7. 2012/01/13 at 11:59 am #

    I have never heard of hoe cakes but sure learned a new recipe today. Btw, I am not a breakfast person, so no pancakes for breakfast but I do start with an early brunch. These ricotta pancakes will be perfect during that time.

    • 2012/01/13 at 12:14 pm #

      Instead of breakfast, roll them up around some honey sweetened ricotta, and drizzle with melted marmelaide and powdered sugar…dessert! 🙂

  8. 2012/01/20 at 1:02 pm #

    Oh wowza – those are definitely some remarkable pancakes =)

  9. 2012/01/21 at 7:54 am #

    I would have my way with these any time of day or night. Delicious!

  10. 2012/05/28 at 2:18 pm #

    Reblogged this on Texana's Kitchen.

  11. 2012/05/28 at 2:45 pm #

    I love the idea of breakfast for dinner and these sound great. I’m going to have to give them a try soon.

  12. 2012/05/28 at 5:53 pm #

    The title’s funny — Ahahahahaha!!! These look yummy! I’m going to be revisiting some of the recipes with my sorry cooking skills!

  13. 2012/05/28 at 7:44 pm #

    They do look good…if you go to a Greek-American diner, they do serve pancakes and breakfast all day and they outshine the big breakfast chains…

  14. 2012/05/28 at 7:59 pm #

    These sound amazing! I definitely want to try them, maybe with some brown sugar butter…

  15. 2012/05/29 at 12:02 am #

    My mom LOVES pancakes and this recipe sounds so wonderful… I have to try it!

  16. 2012/05/29 at 2:53 am #

    These look easy enough for me, could win me brownie points at the weekend!

  17. 2012/05/29 at 4:42 pm #

    Dinner pancakes – that does sound good, because it’s been a long time (years? Has it really been years?) since I got around to making pancakes for breakfast! But you may have my serving of brussels sprout pancakes, because that’s the kind of generous, giving person I am. 😉

    • 2012/05/29 at 5:01 pm #

      How very altruistic of you! 🙂

      I do love pancakes for dinner, because during the week I don’t have time, and on the weekends, mama sleeps in!

  18. sassdelaney
    2012/05/29 at 8:35 pm #

    I’m going to a Whore’s Breakfast meet soon, and am definitely bringing Hoe Cakes…Thanks!

  19. 2012/05/29 at 8:55 pm #

    How clever of you to use pancakes for Lent! I must remember that one; there’s a certain young man in my life who would think his mommy was a genius for thinking of it (sssssh!)

  20. 2012/05/30 at 9:02 am #

    Citrus and pancakes? For dinner? Yes, ma’am! I’m definitely going to try this recipe….and I almost fell out my chair laughing at your title 🙂


  21. 2012/05/30 at 10:03 pm #

    Ricotta is also really good on pancakes when it’s mixed with dried peel, Marsala and chopped chocolate. I’ve also been known to break it up into the batter for great ricotta hot cakes…

  22. 2012/05/31 at 7:15 am #

    Great title, though spaghetti puttanesca is literally ‘working girls pasta’ so it doesn’t mean the association can’t make great food!

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