How To Make Cornbread and Croutons with My Family’s Johnny Cake Recipe

piece of cornbread with honey being drizzled on top

Johnny Cake is most known to be a cornmeal flatbread, like pancakes. But our family’s cornbread recipe is called Johnny cake and we bake it in an 8×8 pan just like cornbread. The recipe comes from Mrs. Earl Perry, my dad’s mother, Lorraine. Johnny Cake is also known as hoecake, journey cake, jonnycake and shawnee cake.

watch me make johnny cake on keloland living:

Whatever you call it, the dense and slightly sweet cake is a welcome side to a steaming bowl of soup or chili. Drizzle a warm slice with local honey and you are serving nostalgic comfort food at its finest. We mostly use Adee Honey produced in Bruce, South Dakota which is where my dad was born and the large Earl Perry family farmed.

two glass jars of Adee Honey

You can stir in optional ingredients like a small can of diced green chilies, sliced jalapeños or bacon bits. My sister’s mother-in-law, Judy, remembers her family baking it in a loaf pan and then slicing it and frying them. That would be delicious!

Recipe Snapshot

EASE: Comes together quickly
PROS: Makes enough for a meal and croutons
CONS: Don’t always have buttermilk on hand

In my opinion, cornbread is best served warm out of the oven so I like to make croutons with any leftovers. Just dice the bread into bite-sized cubes, toss in a little olive oil and seasonings like Italian or garlic powder and bake for about 15 minutes.

pan of cornbread croutons

Serve alongside:

Sweet wishes,

Johnny Cake

Staci at Random Sweets
Also known as journey cake, hoecake, shawnee cake, cornbread and corn cake, this old-fashioned egg-free recipe came from my Grandma Lorainne.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 9 servings
Calories 122 kcal


  • 1 8×8 pan Could use 8 or 9-inch round pan


  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • honey, optional for drizzling on top when serving


  • Heat oven to 350°. Grease 8×8 pan.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together ingredients (not the honey) with a whisk or hand mixer.
  • Pour batter into pan.
  • Bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until edges are slightly brown and cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.
  • Serve warm. Store in airtight container up to 4 days.


To make croutons from Jonny Cake: cut bread into bite-sized cubes, spread on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with seasonings like garlic powder, rosemary, or Italian seasonings. Bake at 350 degrees until crispy and golden brown, approximately 15 minutes. Store in airtight container a few days or in the freezer a few months. 


Serving: 1gCalories: 122kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 2gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 212mgPotassium: 72mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 44IUCalcium: 45mgIron: 1mg
Keyword corn cake, cornbread, cornmeal, egg-free, hoecake, honey, jonnycake, journey cake, shawnee cake

All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets

Tried this recipe?Mention @RandomSweets and tag #OurSweetMidwestLife

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