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Scrumptious Sunday: Johnny Cakes and Cashew Cream

February 28, 2010

Johnny Cakes

I love to bake, but after all is said and done weeknights don’t often leave me much desire to clean up a huge post-dinner mess in the kitchen. Sunday mornings seemed the perfect time for this kind of thing, if we haven’t been too lazy to clear the dishes out of the sink from Saturday. Or from Friday, as it often happens.

So I thought that every Sunday morning I will attempt to bake something. Anything. Muffins, scones, biscuits, rolls, whatever. And then I will post it here to share with all of you.

Last Sunday I made an adaptation of the Johnny Cakes from the new Babycakes NYC cookbook. I didn’t have all of the ingredients and my grumbling stomach didn’t want me to take the time to fiddle with adapting a spelt-based recipe with rice flour, potato flour and tapioca starch. So I used whole wheat flour instead. And baked them in the oven, per the recipe. Instead of drizzling them with agave nectar or maple syrup, I made the cashew cream from Vegan Brunch instead, just to get a little protein in there.

The verdict? Well, my version was so-so. They were more like cornmeal scones. They also needed 1/2 cup more liquid than the recipe called for and 10 more minutes baking time in the oven. They may have been healthier not being fried in a pan full of oil, but I’m not sure I’d make my version again, only because I was expecting something more crumpet-y or pancake-y.

I can see why Johnny cakes have such a cult following in parts of the US. But only if they’re fried up on a griddle just like pancakes. If you make the gluten-free version from the cookbook, just giv’er and fry them. You’ll probably thank yourself for it. And if you decide to go all in and make ’em full of wheat, sugar, and oil, then definitely fry them.

As for the cashew cream from Isa’s book, it’s quite nice, but heed her wisdom and let the cashews soak overnight. Don’t be tempted to be hasty and just blend them up straight from a bag. The cream will still be good, just a tad lumpy and grainy when it could be smoother and creamier.

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