Cornmeal Batter Cakes

My blogging friend Kelsey, over at The Naptime Chef, was in town recently for the BlogHer Food 09 Conference. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it, but we compared notes on where she ate in the city (and I’ll tell you, she got around). Now if you haven’t been to The Naptime Chef, what are you waiting for? Kelsey designs her posts and recipes to fit into a busy mom’s schedule–and into the hour that is generally reserved for afternoon napping. While I don’t have little ones myself, who doesn’t appreciate a quick recipe? What I did not know was that before her daughter was born, Kelsey worked with Rizzoli and Florence Fabricant and members of the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to produce the beautiful Park Avenue Potluck Cookbook.

After returning home from San Francisco, Kelsey invited me to take part in a virtual dinner party she is “hosting” with other food bloggers and writers to celebrate the release of Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations, the follow-up to the Park Avenue Potluck. The release is especially timely as the cookbook details recipes, entertaining ideas, party planning tips and personal anecdotes from New York’s most celebrated hostesses. Perfect for the holiday season. The best part? A portion of the sales of the book will benefit the Society’s work with patient care, research, and educational programs.

So I hopped on board, determined to support such an important cookbook. Kelsey asked me to “bring” the Cornmeal Batter Cakes featured in the book, a versatile dish that would be great as a mini appetizer (cut with little cookie cutters), as a side dish with salmon or a vegetarian entree like ratatouille, or even as breakfast! As I told Kelsey when I wrote to her about the recipe, I ended up making the cakes one evening when I was home alone. I topped them with a little sour cream and chopped chives and had them with a big bowl of tomato soup. Perfect light fall dinner.

However, the next morning, I awoke thinking about them and decided to make a mini batch for breakfast, serving them with fresh berries, local jam, butter, and a little honey.

Cornmeal Batter Cakes

Cornmeal Batter Cakes

  • Yield: 12-15
  • Prep time: 10 mins
  • Cook time: 15 mins
  • Total time: 25 mins

With a cup of hot coffee, they make a great start to the morning. Leftovers? Cover them in the fridge and reheat quickly in the oven at 200 degrees. As a quick side note: I had a difficult time finding white cornmeal, so I used yellow cornmeal instead and they turned out just fine. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

From: Park Avenue Celebrations 


1 cup cultured buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup white cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or bacon fat
(plus extra for greasing pan, if necessary)
Sour cream, smoked salmon, caviar for garnish (optional


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.

Pour the buttermilk into a bowl and stir in the baking soda. Whisk the egg and gradually whisk in the cornmeal, then salt and fat, and 1/4 cup water. Heat a seasoned griddle, either electric or stove-top, or a cast-iron skillet until quite hot (380 degrees on an electric griddle). Brush with a little of the fat if needed. Spoon tablespoonfuls of the batter onto the griddle or pan to make 5 inch pancakes.

Turn each over as they are lightly browned and cook the other side until lightly browned. As they are done, transfer to a baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven. Serve the cakes as a side dish or as a first course topped with sour cream and smoked salmon, or salmon caviar.


  1. El

    The virtual dinner party sounds like a lot of fun. Glad you got to bring the corn meal cakes. They look really good!

  2. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite

    I have just spent far too long this evening reading all about the recipes for the virtual dinner party and I have to say yours is one of my favourites! I love that you had it on your own for dinner, then for breakfast - it's such a simple, versatile dish. Love it. Well done (and well done on the marathon on Sunday!)

  3. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction

    Yum! The virtual potluck was a lot of fun, and it's even better that it benefits a good cause. This recipe looks wonderful - can't wait to see the cookbook. I'm thinking it will make great Christmas presents this year, too.

  4. Sophie

    MMMMMMMMMM,...they look so lovely & delicious too!

  5. 5 Star Foodie

    Such delicious cakes! They sound good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Nice to meet you at the party :)

  6. A Day That is Dessert

    I just bought a copy of the Park Avenue cookbook - can't wait to get it!

    These look fabulous. I make a pancake with cornmeal and several other flours from one of the Silver Palate books. I'll try this one too!

  7. Nancy

    My partner and I stumbled over here from a different web address and thought
    I should check things out. I like what I see so now i'm following you. Look forward to checking out your web page repeatedly.

    1. megang

      Thanks, Nancy. So glad you're enjoying the blog.

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