Jonnycake (also spelled "johnnycake," johnny cake, and "journey cake") is a baked cornmeal flatbread, and was a popular American pioneer staple food. The dough was set on a wooden board or barrel stave and placed at an angle in front of an open fire to bake. The dough, made of cornmeal, salt, and water, was seldom sweetened since sugar was expensive and in short supply in early colonial America and on the frontier.
Modern johnnycake is popularly identified with Rhode Island foods. A 1776 diary of Thomas Vernon mentions "Jonny cake" while dining in Glocester, Rhode Island, on page 43 A modern jonnycake is usually made of lightly sweetened cornmeal and hot water and fried in butter, somewhat similar to fried polenta or thin wheat bread.
Jonnycake is often served with maple syrup or other sweet toppings.
Hoecakes are a variant of jonnycakes. They are cooked on the blade of a hoe.
- In the U.S. in the 1800s, the johnnycake was known to symbolize an inn or tavern, such as a barber's pole symbolizes a barbershop and a three-sphere symbol symbolizes a pawnbroker.
- In the popular television series The Sopranos, while hiding in New Hampshire, mobster Vito Spatafore begins a relationship with a short-order cook who regularly serves him jonnycakes. Vito begins referring to his lover as "Johnny Cakes".
- In the Simpsons episode "Lisa The Iconoclast", the curator of the Springfield Historical Society mentions making "microwave Jonnycakes".
- In American West Classic Shane, the mother cooks Jonnycakes for Shane.
- In the song "Brown Girl in the Ring" by Boney M - "I remember one Saturday night we had fried fish and jonnycakes."
- In the Daria episode "Aunt Nauseum" Jake Morgendorffer buys a Civil War cookbook and makes Johnny Cakes for the entire family. Repeatedly throughout the episode Johnny Cakes are mentioned.
- In the 1967 novel The Outsiders, the character Johnny Cade is often referred to as "Johnnycake" by the rest of the gang.
- Old rural New England saying "Pea soup and Jonnycake, makes a Frenchman's belly ache"
- Beaulieu, Linda, The Providence and Rhode Island Cookbook, Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 2006, ISBN 0762731370.
- Vogel, William Frederick. "Home Life in Early Indiana". Indiana Magazine of History 10:2 (June 1914) 1-29. Indiana: University of Indiana.