Batter Cakes

Recipes for batter cakes have often been associated with Thomas Jefferson, and especially with his kitchen staff in Washington. Although no such recipe exists in his hand, and none have been attributed to any of his enslaved cooks, there is a recipe for batter cakes in Mary Randolph's book The Virginia Housewife. Randolph was a relative of Jefferson's, and recipes were known to pass back and forth between Mary Randolph and Jefferson's daughters and granddaughters. Jefferson is also believed to have owned a copy of Mary Randolph's cookbook.

Mary Randolph's recipe for batter cakes is as follows:

BOIL two cups of small homony very soft; add an equal quantity of corn meal with a little salt, and a large spoonful of butter; make it in a thin batter with three eggs, and a sufficient quantity of milk--beat all together some time, and bake them on a griddle, or in woffle irons. When eggs cannot be procured, yeast makes a good substitute; put a spoonful in the batter, and let it stand an hour to rise.[1]

- Anna Berkes, February 27, 2008

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