These little cornmeal pancakes are a Southern classic with a California twist. The lore is that they once were made on the blade of a garden hoe over an open fire. They’re heavier than crepes but still fluffy. Hoecakes are versatile with both salty and sweet toppings; try them as appetizers with salty smoked salmon or as full-size pancakes with syrup.

Yield: 40 little hoecakes or 12 to 14 large ones | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes


  • 1¼ cups medium-grind cornmeal

    Tanya Holland's California Soul COV California Soul Tanya Holland
  • ¾ cup flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1½ cups buttermilk

  • 1 egg

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for cooking

  • Caviar, ideally from California, for garnish

  • ¼ cup crème fraîche

  • Chives for garnishing


Preheat the oven to 200ºF.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Add the 4 tablespoons of the melted butter and stir to combine. Transfer the batter to a piping bag or a resealable plastic bag with the end snipped off.

Heat a large nonstick pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the pan. Pipe about 1 tablespoon of the batter into the pan per hoecake; do not crowd the pan. Cook until the hoecakes are browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on the other side, 1 to 2 minutes more.

Wipe out the pan in between batches and add fresh butter. Keep the hoecakes warm in the oven.

Top each hoecake with a dollop of caviar and crème fraîche. Cut the chives into 1½-inch batons and lay them on top of the hoecakes for garnish.

“Reprinted with permission from Tanya Holland’s California Soul: Recipes from a culinary Journey West by Tanya Holland, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.”

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