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Corn cakes, for you and me

Corn cakes fit in quite well as a breakfast, lunch or dinner.


On my way to sit down and write this column, I brushed past the coffee table and something fell off onto the floor. I scooped it up, noticing it was an old recipe for farmer’s corn cakes.

 

Recently I went through some recipes that I hadn’t prepared for many years, and set them aside on the table. I don’t remember where this recipe came from but it was clipped from newsprint and the paper is yellowed and brittle.

 

I have always loved sweet corn in most forms, whether fresh, canned, frozen or even dried. But I especially was fond of corn cakes, even if just plain pancakes with kernels of corn added to the batter. Then, of course, I would add a lot of real butter! Didn’t put syrup on, but if you are a fan, by all means indulge in all you desire.


Here are some recipes to get you started and I hope you like them. An afterthought: Some finely chopped red bell pepper would be a good addition to any of these recipes.

Farmer’s corn cakes
For breakfast, lunch or dinner.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 1/3 cups milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 cups corn kernels, fresh or drained canned or thawed and drained frozen

  1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt; set aside.

  2. In a small bowl, thoroughly blend eggs, milk and melted butter. Add to flour mixture and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Batter will be somewhat lumpy. Gently fold in corn kernels.

  3. For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle, or if using an electric skillet, set temperature to about 380. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Serve hot.


Golden bacon corn cakes
Another recipe I’ve had forever and don’t know where it came from.

4 ears sweet corn, husked, or 2 cups fresh or frozen kernels
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper (I use a little less)
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
1/3 cup minced onion
6 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
Canola oil
Maple syrup, optional

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the corn, reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes. With tongs, immediately remove the cobs from water. Trim the stem end of each ear, then place cut end of ear of corn on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the kernels off each cob. Each cob should yield about 1/2 cup of kernels. If using frozen corn, just cook as directed on package and drain well.

  2. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Stir in the egg and milk, then fold in the corn, onion and bacon.

  3. Warm a griddle over medium heat and lightly grease with oil. In batches, ladle the batter by 1/4 cup amounts onto the hot griddle. Cook corn cakes, turning once, until golden, about 5 minutes. Serve with maple syrup, if desired. Makes about 10 corn cakes.


Polenta corn cakes
I always ran the polenta through a blender a little bit to get a finer-grained polenta meal, as I was never sure the recipe actually meant polenta or if that was just another way of saying cornmeal.
To me, polenta is too coarse to work in a recipe like this. I would imagine just using regular cornmeal would still work. If wanting to use regular polenta without grinding it down a bit, I would at least allow the batter to soak so the polenta can soften up.

1 cup polenta meal
2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 cup corn kernels
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

  1. In a large bowl, mix together polenta, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Add buttermilk and whisk mixture until smooth. Stir in green onions, corn and melted butter.

  2. Spoon batter onto hot griddle. Cook until edges look dry, turn, then brown the bottoms, 2 to 3 minutes total.


Sweet corn cake
This recipe uses some masa harina as well as cornmeal. You bake it in a pan rather than pour batter onto a griddle. Some say this is like the corn cake served at a restaurant called Chevy’s but I must admit I have never eaten there so I can’t verify that statement.


1/2 cup (1 cube) butter, softened
1/3 cup masa harina
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, beat butter with electric mixer until creamy. Beat in the masa and water until well mixed.

  2. Place the corn in a blender or food processor and coarsely chop on low speed. Stir the corn and the cornmeal into the butter mixture. In another bowl, mix together the sugar, cream, salt and baking powder. Combine the two mixtures until well blended. Pour batter into an ungreased 8-by-8-inch baking pan.

  3. Cover the pan with foil and place into a 9-by-13-inch pan with 3/4 inch of hot water. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove small pan from water and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.