Johnny Cake (aka Caribbean Doughboy)

If you’re visiting our islands for a few days, chances are likely high that you’ll encounter a slice (or two) of our staple “Johnny Cake” at some point during your visit. It’s often spotted in local restaurants enclosed in a tight wrapping of wax paper or tin foil and sometimes you’ll find it on display in neighborhood bakeries, where it’s available by the loaf- especially in the outer islands.  Johnny Cake is most often partnered with Chicken Souse as shown below:

Chicken Souse & Johnny Cake

While here on vacation, Bahamian Johnny Cake is a definite “Bahamian bite” and a highly recommended, delicious addition to your Bahamian culinary experience.

Johnny-Cake with Butter and JamBahamian Johnny Cake (reportedly a corruption of “journey cake” because early settlers and their slaves carried them as portable meals)  is more like a cross between pound cake and corn bread than the flat pancakes most visitors might be expecting. Ubiquitous with boil fish, this light, sweet, slightly dry cake/bread is great warm with butter or jam.  You’ll be hooked.

What is this said Bahamian Johnny Cake, you may ask?

Johnny CakeAlthough the “cake” within the name naturally implies sweetness, Johnny Cake doesn’t fall within the realm of a dessert by most measures. In fact, it’s actually more comparable to a bread, albeit not typically as light, airy or savoury as most varieties. In summary, most would describe Johnny Cake as having a texture that resembles a cross between a dense bread and a (only) slightly sweet cake. Made with a handful of ingredients, namely: flour, milk, butter, sugar and baking powder, Johnny Cake in The Bahamas is traditionally baked in a large round pan until lightly browned, then sliced and served in wedges.

Getting hungry? And although there is much cultural variation as most Bahamian families bake their johnny cake in their own special way (some with cornmeal and flour), we certainly couldn’t leave you without sharing a recipe for you to try (or try to replicate if you’ve tasted it already) this comforting bread at home.

Ingredients needed:

  • ½ cup butter, room temperature + extra for greasing pan
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ cup milk

How to make:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until combined.
  3. Add the flour, water, salt, and baking powder to the bowl.
  4. Add the milk slowly until the batter is sticky.
  5. Dust hands with flour. Transfer dough from bowl to a greased 9×9 pan. Gently flatten the dough in the pan.
  6. Bake for approx. 1hr or until the edges of the johnnycake are browned. The johnnycake will not rise much.
  7. Let cool for several minutes before cutting into the johnnycake.

This simple recipe will provide you with a warm, delicious addition to your breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner.

Credits:-  Sid’s Sea Palm Cooking / FoodFreeway

Plodding in Paradise

Question:- Have you already tried and tasted Bahamian johnny cake on a visit to our islands? Please tell us what you thought by writing to us in the comment section below or Send Us a  Tweet at @FunnTripps.


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