Sweet Cornbread, United States Sweet Cornbread, United States - ImagesGram

Sweet Cornbread, United States

Sweet Cornbread is a variant of the Skillet Cornbread made throughout central and eastern Ontario and Quebec and is sometimes known by the alternative name of Johnny Cake. Its presence in these southern regions of Canada is thought to be due to the influx of British Loyalists from what is now the Southern United States moving to the then-English-controlled colonies during the American War of Independence.


256 mL (1 cup) of cornmeal
512 mL (2 cups) of flour
8 mL (1 1/2 teaspoons) of baking powder
128 mL (1/2 cup) of maple syrup
128 mL of brown sugar
128 mL of butter
5 mL (1 teaspoon) of salt
2 eggs


  1. In a large bowl beat eggs lightly to break the yolks as one would for scrambled eggs, then mix in the butter. Soften the butter beforehand if you must by heating it a little.
  2. The butter/egg mixture should be loose. Add the sugar and maple syrup, mix well, then add the salt to the liquid mixture.
  3. Mix the cornmeal and baking powder, then blend them into the liquids.
  4. Slowly add the flour as needed to reach a proper cake batter texture. This should be softer than a cookie dough, able to stick to the mixing spool and come off in blobs. You may not need all of the flour, or may even need a little more based on your eggs and how closely you measured.
  5. Pour into a greased pan and put into an oven heated to 200°C (400°F) and let bake for between 15-25 minutes.

Notes, tips, and variations

  • When mixing the batter, be sure it is soft enough for a typical cake; you do not want it too moist or dry. Use milk to fill in liquid you need and a half-and-half mix of flour and cornmeal if you are too moist.
  • Keep a close eye on the cake while it bakes: it will become hard fast if you do not take it out in time.
  • If you want to make a crisper crust take a 3 part mix of equal amounts of flour, cornmeal and brown sugar, mix well. Add to the top of the cake half way into the baking process, but do this very quickly: leaving the door open too long will make your cake a rock. The amount required varies based on the pan you use, so use your eyes for what you need (less than a cup total). Despite the call for opening it halfway through baking, adding it at the beginning should work fine as well.
  • You can substitute honey for the maple syrup, or plain sugar. Maple is used for its flavouring as much as its sweetness.
  • Margarine or vegetable oil will do as well as butter for this. Butter was used traditionally and is thus listed.
  • This dish is usually made for after meals and outside them rather than with them, which is how its cousin Skillet Cornbread is used. However, when having Maple Beans and Ham, Sweet Cornbread is often served with it.
  • ↑ "Johnny-cake". Oxford English Dictionary. 1989.


Native Americans had been using ground corn (maize) as food for thousands of years before European explorers arrived in the New World. European settlers, especially those who resided in the English Southern Colonies, learned the original recipes and processes for corn dishes from the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek, and soon they devised recipes for using cornmeal in breads similar to those made of grains available in Europe. Cornbread has been called a "cornerstone" of the cuisine of the Southern United States. Cornmeal is produced by grinding dry raw corn grains. A coarser meal (compare flour) made from corn is grits. Grits are produced by soaking raw corn grains in hot water containing calcium hydroxide (an alkaline salt), which loosens the grain hulls (bran) and increases the nutritional value of the product (by increasing available niacin and available amino acids). These are separated by washing and flotation in water, and the now softened slightly swelled grains are called hominy. Hominy, pozole in Mexican Spanish, also is ground into masa harina for arepas, tamales and tortillas. This ancient Native American technology has been named nixtamalization. Besides cornbread, Native Americans used corn to make numerous other dishes from the familiar hominy grits to alcoholic beverages (such as Andean chicha). Cornbread was popular during the American Civil War because it was very cheap and could be made in many different forms—high-rising, fluffy loaves or simply fried (as unleavened pone, corn fritters, hoecakes, etc.).