Summer Fruit Cornbread (Johnny Cake)

Summer fruit cornbread (Johnny Cake): This is a cake that can travel from breakfast to dessert. It's moist, flavourful and not too sweet.

Johnny Cake, an old fashioned cornbread that can travel from breakfast to dessert

I remember vividly the feeling of pure freedom I felt on the last day of school each June. In my memory, that day was always sunny and warm and we’d have a lunch-time picnic on the deck or may be head straight to the beach, the brook or my cousins’ pool.

We practically lived outside all summer so rounding up us up at suppertime, in the evening, or whenever we needed to be home, could have been a challenge in our sprawling neighbourhood, except that we had a cow bell. 
Summer fruit cornbread (Johnny Cake): This is a cake that can travel from breakfast to dessert. It's moist, flavourful and not too sweet.

Bake this cornbread with stone ground corn flour or stone ground corn meal

Whenever mom needed to call us home she just rang the old cow bell. Our ears were tuned to the sound so we’d head straight for home as soon as we heard it.

We weren’t the only ones in the neighbourhood to be called home with an instrument. My cousins up the hill were called home with a bugle, neighbours down the street used an old school bell, and another, a very talented contralto with a booming voice, sang her children home.
Summer fruit cornbread (Johnny Cake): This is a cake that can travel from breakfast to dessert. It's moist, flavourful and not too sweet.

Bake this summer fruit cornbread with rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blueberries, black berries, apples...

Long summer days make me think of baking with summer fruit. This very old recipe has become a new favourite. It’s from an old cookbook of my grandmother’s, the 1932 edition of The Guide to Good Cooking, published by Five Roses Flour.

This is a cake that can travel from breakfast to dessert. It's moist, flavourful and not too sweet. Serve it with baked rhubarb, sweetened yogurt or whipped cream. 

Summer Fruit Cornbread (Johnny Cake)

Serves 9

Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal (fine or medium)
  • 2 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tbsp. fancy molasses
  • 2 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
  • ¾ cup cold milk
  • 1 egg white
  • About 3/4 cup berries or chopped summer fruit.

Instructions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F and line an 8” x 8” pan with parchment paper or grease it well.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl beat the butter and gradually add the sugar. Beat in the egg yolk then the molasses and honey or maple syrup.
  4. Mix in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk (beginning and ending with the flour mixture.)
  5. Stir in the fruit.
  6. Beat the egg white to stiff peaks and fold into the batter.
  7. Scrape into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and the top springs back when lightly touched. Serve warm or room temperature.


Best eaten the day it’s baked.


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