Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sourdough Corn Cakes

As I write this I am officially on vacation and will leave in a few days for Portland OR where I will drink Stumptown coffee in the rain, hike in Forest Park, sample Blue Star Donuts and peruse the aisles at Powell's City of Books, among many other things!  While still tying up loose ends in preparation, there was plenty of time to get off one last recipe, and what a special one it is- a recipe that warps up all the end of summer flavors in one fantastic dish.   

This month's Sourdough Surprise is dedicated to corn bread in all it's many permutations, from skillet bread to hush puppies and everything in between.  I'm a huge corn bread fan and especially love it hot out of the oven with chili, or toasted with butter and jam.  But I was curious about corn cakes, or Johnny cakes, so I decided to explore that side of the corn cob.

Not quite fritters or pancakes, but with mostly all the same ingredients as corn bread, corn cakes are in a class by themselves.  Light yet filling; sweet, but happy to be paired with savory, corn cakes are ready for any breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I started with my trusty recipe from the back of the Indian Head corn meal package, the one I always use for my corn bread, and then I began to play with my food.

I used corn flour in place of corn meal and buttermilk instead of regular after reading this.  I also added a couple tablespoons of masa harina for extra corn flavor, adding fresh corn kernels as well.  And of course worked in a cup of sourdough starter because, hello, Sourdough Surprises!  

I wasn't sure how it would all work out, but I live for the excitement of trying a new recipe!  The first one was a complete disaster, it refused to be flipped and was badly charred.  I tossed it in a heap on the counter but still wondered how this sad quasimodo would taste.  One nibble and I know I was on to something.  I added another egg, adjusted the heat under my cast iron pan, gave it a good smear of butter and started over.   

A plate of picture perfect corn cakes later I was declaring this recipe a complete success.  Topped with homemade sweet and hot tomato jam (freshly made with a boat load of my homegrown toms), these delicate and delicious corn cakes made the send off meal I'll be thinking about all the way to Portland. 

sourdough corn cakes

1 & 1/4 cup corn flour
2 tablespoons masa harina (or corn meal)
2 tablespoons raw cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup soft butter (plus more for the pan)
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 cup sourdough starter (discard is fine)
1 cup fresh corn kernels
tomato jam (recipe can be found in this post)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and have a sheet pan set aside.  In a large bowl whisk together flour, masa harina, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a smaller bowl stir together butter, buttermilk, eggs and starter.  Add wet ingredients to dry, along with corn kernels, and stir just to combine.

Heat skillet over medium heat.  When skillet is hot add a bit of butter and turn pan to coat.  Pour about 2 tablespoons worth of batter into pan and coax it into a round shape about three inches in diameter.  Cook for a minute of two and flip to cook other side.  Repeat with the rest of the batter. Transfer cooked cakes to sheet pan and keep warm in oven until ready to serve.  Serve hot with tomato jam or topping of your choice.

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  1. I hope you enjoy Portland, we just were there ourselves! If you get a chance, take the gourmet food cart walking tour. It meets at the Marks Spencer close to Powells. The Home and Garden Powell's satellite is also worth a visit.

    1. Thanks Rebecca, that food cart walking tour sounds like delicious fun!

  2. Those look absolutely delicious and I love the tomato jam topping!! Great job!!

  3. Ooh-- you are making me homesick with this post-- I'm from Portland!

  4. My mostly European baking orientated mind is getting great ideas! Lovely combination !

    1. Thank you. Yes, corn bread is such an American tradition!

  5. Your corn cakes look so good. I definitely need to try these sometime. Great idea to use tomato jam.