If you have traveled to Belize, you may be familiar with a “Johnny Cake”. A Johnny cake is to Belize what a croissant is to France. It is a delicious and relatively easy to make breakfast bread roll prepared and served hot every morning.
It wouldn’t be a complete surprise to know that 80% of the Belizean population enjoy Johnny cakes for breakfast on a daily. One can enjoy these small cakes with butter, jelly, cheese or beans. However, a Belizean favorite is with egg, ham, and cheese (what you would call your Egg McMuffin). You can sometimes add a twist to it and put stew chicken.
Johnny cakes originated in North America, with Native Americans making them with cornmeal instead of flour.
While a few stories have been passed around as to the origin of the name, perhaps the most popular one is that they were originally called Journey Cakes because of their ability to last on long trips. “Journey” eventually evolved to become “Johnny”.
You can find Johnny Cakes throughout the Caribbean, and although the recipes do vary from country to country, place to place, or even from house to house, the general concept of the johnny-cake is the same – a quick and tasty little bread served with a meal or as a meal in itself.
Wondering what to make for breakfast? Try your hand at Flavors of Belize’s Johnny Cakes recipe. This recipe makes enough to feed a small army or at least the entire neighborhood and only takes about 20 minutes.
Johnny Cakes “Journey Cakes”
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 heaping teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 cup coconut milk
Heat oven to 400F. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut shortening into the flour mixture, add coconut milk. Combine until dough is easy to handle. Add water if necessary. Knead dough until smooth, form into 2-inch balls and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rest for about 15 minutes. Flatten slightly to about a half-inch thickness. Lightly pierce tops with fork. Bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes.
Makes approximately 24
Written by: Vivian Lizarraga
Photo Courtesy: ROEming Belize Travel Agency