Skillet Corn Cakes, Buon Giorno and Buona Sera

Hi.  I’m still here. 

I survived the move to the North End.  In a terrible cliché, I am currently drinking an Italian red and eating rolled up slices of mortadella.  Dave and I don’t have the luxury yet of sitting on a couch or at a dining table, but we do have a nice little impromptu bar cart and are surrounded by neighborhood joints that aim to feed.

What I’m trying to say is we are a work-in-progress.  In kind, I have yet to prepare a full dinner in my kitchen.  Not to suggest these corn cakes aren’t a proper meal.  It’s just that you can only plop an egg on something so many times before 'breakfast-as-dinner' stops being cute.  (You can see I’ve now resorted to Italian cold cuts and vino.)

But about these corn cakes.  They are toasty and nutty, perfect companions for melty cheese or a drippy yolk.  I cooked them in a cast-iron skillet, as I now have an electric stovetop that behaves as though heating something uniformly would be an insult.

The cakes were bookmarked from a recent Lebovitz post and are here serving as a prostitute for late summer produce.  They are quick to make; universal in appeal; and flexible for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

Eat them hot, with or without Italian bologna.  

Skillet Corn Cakes
Adapted from David Lebovitz, originally by way of Chez Panisse Vegetables


1½ cups corn flour or finely ground cornmeal
1½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp chili powder
4 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for cooking the cakes
1 tbsp honey
½ cup coconut milk
2 eggs, separated
1 egg white
2 large ears of corn (about 2 cups kernels), husks removed and kernels sliced off
¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro 
1 jalapeño, finely diced


In a large bowl, whisk together the corn flour (or cornmeal), baking powder, salt, and chili powder.  Make a well in the center of the mixture; set aside.  In a small saucepan, heat the butter, honey, coconut milk, and ½ cup water; when the butter is melted, set aside to cool slightly.

Place the two egg yolks in the center of the corn well.  In a separate bowl, by hand—or using an electric mixer—beat the three egg whites until stiff (they should hold their shape when the whisk or whisk attachment is lifted).

To the corn mixture, add the coconut honey liquid, corn kernels, cilantro, and jalapeño; stir to combine.  Fold in the egg whites until fully incorporated.

Heat some butter (about a tablespoon) in a cast-iron skillet or sauté pan.  Once the pan is hot, spoon ¼ to 1/3 cup of batter in a mound in the pan; repeat with as many spoons of batter as can comfortably fit in the pan (for my pan this was three).  Let the cakes cook until they are browned on the bottom and their edges start to bubble; flip until lightly browned on the other side (about another minute).  Repeat until the remaining batter is used up.

Serve hot or reheat in a skillet or oven.

Makes about a dozen.


-These happen to be both gluten-free (check your spices if you have celiac disease) and milk (but not dairy) free.

-I used cornmeal from Misty Brook Farm.  (It’s wonderful.  However, make sure if you are using cornmeal it’s very finely ground (it should be almost like a powder).

-Omit the jalapeño (or remove its seeds) for less heat.


  1. Whoops. These are NOT dairy free (hello, butter), they would likely be suitable for those who are lactose intolerant though. Will correct asap!

  2. I made these from DL's post too and loooooved them. Topped with tomatoes + oil + garlic sauteed together...oh man.

    I hope you can wrangle your new stove into line! I always enjoy seeing what awesome dish you've made and written about.

  3. Hm, a skillet cake without any flour...intriguing! I'll have to try these sometime. But at the moment, Chicago is a puddle of (possibly) record-breaking September heat.

    I never liked the days post-move very much. I feel uncivilized being unable to cook where I live, and I'm sure boxes stacked high instead of furniture adds to that. I hope you're settled in soon!

  4. Ashley- oh that sounds lovely! Luckily we have some nice pots here, capable of evening out the heat!

    Katie-it still does feel a bit uncivilized (perhaps that's why I've turned to my booze cart?). Hoping to catch my cooking grove soon.