Belize is the only country in the region with English as the official language. It is the legacy of British colonial rule during which the country was called British Honduras. It nevertheless appears that Spanish is more widely spoken by its residents. In addition to the English traditions still present in the country today, Belize also enjoyed traditions imported by the many black slaves that came from Jamaica and St. Vincent which makes the country culturally rich and diverse.
What is a Johnny cake?
Johnny cake is to Belize what croissant is to France, the emblematic ingredient of a traditional breakfast. Johnny cakes are prepared and served hot every morning. With an english breakfast and its famous bacon and eggs, these Johnny cakes are a must. People eat it with butter and marmalade, or it is served with eggs, cheese and sausage, as Belizeans tend to prefer a savory meal to start the day. The Johnny cake recipe does not contain any sugar, so it can really be eaten with savory or sweet ingredients alike.
These buns were traditionally prepared by wives of sailors before their departure so that they could have satisfying food that would store well during their travels.
Where does the name of Johnny cake come from?
Originally called Journey cake, they were renamed Johnny cake, as people didn’t understand the word and it was difficult to pronounce! Coconut milk makes for a nice subtle touch on these rolls.
It was seaside, in Israel, that my very young niece Ava, very gifted in the kitchen, and I followed this Johnny cake recipe. Ava made those delicious Johnny cakes again by herself 3 days later! I think she’s ready to take over.
Have a nice breakfast.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature), cut in small pieces
- 1 cup coconut milk (or coconut cream)
Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter, and mix with your fingertips to obtain a homogeneous sandy consistency.
Then stir in coconut milk and knead quickly until forming a smooth ball that easily detaches from the container.
Divide the dough into balls the size of a golf ball. Place the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let stand for 10 minutes.
Then slightly flatten the balls. Prick in several places with a fork.
Preheat oven to 400F. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes by placing the baking sheet towards the lower part of the oven. Then, place baking sheet near the top and bake for another 5 minutes. Times vary greatly from one oven to another, so pay close attention to the color of the Johnny cakes.
Enjoy Johnny cakes hot or warm, open and filled with sweet or savory ingredients.