One bright summer morning a few years ago our seven-year-old grandson ate eight corn meal griddle cakes with butter and warm maple syrup. Where they went, we still do not know. There were no noticeable bulges as he headed down to the brook to continue the hydraulic engineering project begun the day before. Maybe they were immediately turned into energy. After more rocks had been arranged in the water and the effects of different arrangements had been evaluated, he came back for more of “Grandpa’s pancakes” for lunch.
Occasionally someone will tell me that they really do not like things made with corn meal. Then I usually make ordinary buttermilk pancakes as well as the corn meal cakes. If they follow my suggestion to try the corn meal cakes, they nearly always end up eating a couple more. These cakes really are good.
The recipe comes from a wonderful cookbook given to us by my mother and father-in-law shortly after we were married. Jerri was born into a Mennonite family filled with good cooks and people who appreciated good food. The book is Mennonite Community Cookbook by Mary Emma Showalter, and it’s filled with many traditional Mennonite recipes. The recipe for corn meal griddle cakes is one of my favorites.
Even if you are not a fancier of corn meal cakes, give this recipe a try for a hearty Saturday breakfast. The cakes are light with a delightful texture and flavor. Serve them with butter, warm maple syrup and side orders of bacon or sausage.
2 to 2 1/4 cups buttermilk
3 egg yolks
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1 cup corn meal
1 cup white flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3 egg whites
Beat the eggs whites until stiff peaks form. Melt the butter in a small pan on low heat on the stove or in a small container in your microwave oven. Sift the white flour, measure one cup into sifter again. Add the baking powder, soda, salt, sugar and corn meal. Sift again. Beat the eggs until lemon yellow, add 2 cups buttermilk and stir to blend. Then add the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. If the batter seems too stiff, add extra buttermilk. Add the melted butter and stir. Then fold in the beaten egg whites. Bake on a hot (350 degrees) griddle.
Yields about 16 four inch cakes. I often make a double batch; they respond well to being warmed in the microwave.