Johnny Cakes with Rhubarb and Sour Cherries

Johnny Cakes

Johnny Cakes with Rhubarb and Sour Cherries, Every Day is Saturday | Photographs copyright © 2019 by Gentl + Hyers

From beloved cookbook author and recipe developer Sarah Copeland, Every Day Is Saturday brims with inspiration. More than 100 beautiful recipes that make weeknight cooking a breeze, gorgeous food and lifestyle photography. Easy-to-follow tips for cooking delicious, healthful, sustaining food provide a joyous Saturday mentality of taking pleasure in food and occasion, whatever the day of the week.

Recipes cover every course, from breakfast to dessert, including dishes perfect for the life occasions of a busy family: potlucks, picnics, lazy Sundays, and casual dinners with friends. Here is a delightful and inspiring resource—in a bright and beautiful jacketed package—for weeknight cooks, weekend dreamers, and working parents who want to put great meals at the centre of the table where their family gathers.

Every Day is Saturday


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Johnny Cakes with Rhubarb and Sour Cherries

Johnny cakes are an addictive southern specialty, set apart from regular pancakes for their texture and taste. Their corn flavour is hard to mistake, making them a perfect backdrop for butter and maple syrup. My family especially loves them with a bit of tangy, juicy summer fruit on top: rhubarb, lightly steeped in maple syrup and tossed with sour cherries or raspberries.

These aren’t textbook Johnny cakes, but this recipe makes utterly gorgeous pancakes and is still easy enough to make on repeat every weekend.


Serves 4 (makes 8 large pancakes)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes



2 thick stalks ruby red rhubarb, sliced on the bias (about 2 cups/200 g)

¼ cup (60 ml) pure maple syrup, plus more for serving

One 24-oz (680-g) jar pitted sour cherries, in syrup or juices



1 cup (140 g) fine to medium cornmeal

1 cup (140 g) all-purpose flour or (155 g) gluten-free flour

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp fine sea salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

11⁄3 cups (320 ml) buttermilk

4 Tbsp (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for cooking

Plain yogurt, for serving


To Make the Topping:

Combine the rhubarb and maple syrup in a medium pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cook over medium-low heat until the syrup bubbles just slightly and the rhubarb is steaming, but not breaking down, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let the rhubarb sit in the syrup until it softens but is still holding its shape and bright red in colour. Toss with the cherries and just enough of the cherry juices to turn the syrup red, but still leave it thick enough to drizzle with a spoon (½ to ¾ cup [120 to 180 ml] of the cherry syrup); set aside.


To Make the Pancakes:

Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, and melted butter. Add to the dry ingredients and mix together until the batter resembles a loose muffin batter, being careful not to overmix; you want to keep these pancakes light and airy.

Preheat a cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium heat until evenly warm. Add a knob (about 2 Tbsp) of butter to coat the surface. (Cooking in butter makes golden, gorgeous pancakes.) When the butter sizzles, drop batter in 1⁄3 cupfuls (80 ml) onto the skillet, leaving 2 inches (5 cm) between them, and cook until just starting to bubble around the edges. Flip (it should release easily from the griddle) and cook until just done, usually 1 to 2 minutes. You don’t want these to cook fully through, which can make them taste dry. Pull them a second before you think they are ready; the batter will continue to steam and set inside on their way to the plate. Repeat until all the batter is used.

Serve the pancakes warm, topped with yogurt and the rhubarb and cherries, and drizzled with any extra juices.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books.


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