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Jamaican Johnny Cakes

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Tender Jamaican Johnny Cakes RecipeVacation Qualms and amazing Jamaican Johnny Cakes!

Fluffy Jamaican Johnny Cakes Recipe

Before we moved to the mountains, we used to vacation in the mountains.

Now that we live in the lush rolling slopes of North Carolina, we travel elsewhere to vacate.

Like the beach.

Jamaican Johnny Cakes Recipe

I love the warm velvety sand between my toes, the sun kissing my forehead, watching the waves gently roll in, and the constant roar of the sea.

I love watching my husband chase the little ones down the beach, laughing and kicking through the sea foam. Yet the moment I step foot in the water, I am on guard.

Watchful of sharks.

Do I let my babies go in the water? Yes, because I know my fear is irrational. (And because my husband would give me a lecture on parenting.) But I am poised, ready to snatch them from the waves and high-tail it out of the water, at the first glimpse of danger.

Go ahead and laugh. Sometimes I’m a head-case.

Well, these two are afraid of nothing. You can learn a lot from children.

Actually, you can learn a lot from just about anyone. You never know when you are going to gain new knowledge and experience new things.

Take this unassuming little restaurant in Sunset Beach, for instance. I’ve eaten Jamaican food plenty of times. What could possibly surprise me?

Sugar Shack

The bread, that’s what.

The most nontraditional and luxurious Jamaican Johnny Cakes Recipe I’ve ever experienced. Tender, moist, airy with a fine crumb, almost a CAKE, but served as an appetizer. The Sugar Shack’s Jamaican Johnny Cakes is a delicate corny pillow with a good dose of clove. This is my kind of bread.

Don’t let the Johnny Cake’s humble appearance fool you. This “bread” is not to be missed. Unlike the classic heavy fry bread normally  considered “Johnny Cake” in the isles, this is special. An ultra silky cornbread/buttermilk cake hybrid that is utterly addictive. Two loaves will not be enough.

Consider yourself warned!

Jamaican Johnny Cakes Recipe

I didn’t ask for the recipe, like I do here in Asheville. Instead I came home and experimented until I replicated the Sugar Shack’s famous Jamaican Johnny Cakes.

I’m awfully proud of myself over this one. Somehow, it makes me feel better about the shark issue.

Jamaican Johnny Cakes Recipe

Other ASP breads you’ll love:

Maple Bacon Corn Muffins

Fresh Focaccia Loaves

Sweet Irish Soda Bread

Favorite breads on the web:

Cinnamon Swirl Bread ~ Recipe Girl

Homemade English Muffins ~ Bell’ Alimento

Brazilian Cheese Bread ~ Simple Recipes

Jamaican Johnny Cakes Recipe
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Jamaican Johnny Cakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Jamaican Johnny Cakes Recipe - Moist, decadent and baked in a loaf pan!
Servings: 24 slices



  • Lower the oven rack to the bottom half of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter and dust two to 9x5 loaf pans with cornmeal.
  • Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, salt and clove. Mix well.
  • Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes, until very light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, followed by the vanilla and buttermilk.
  • Slowly add the dry mix to the wet mixture. Scrape the bowl and beat again until just smooth.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the loaf pans. Bake, undisturbed for 40-50 minutes. Insert a toothpick to ensure the cakes are cooked through. If the toothpick comes out clean, remove them from the oven.
  • Cool for 10 minutes, before carefully flipping out of the pans. Serve warm. The cake should be light and slightly crumbly. Makes 2 loaves.


Serving: 1slice, Calories: 169kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 35mg, Sodium: 113mg, Potassium: 72mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 270IU, Calcium: 29mg, Iron: 0.3mg
Course: Bread, Dessert
Cuisine: American, Jamaican
Author: Sommer Collier

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72 comments on “Jamaican Johnny Cakes”

  1. Pingback: Jamaican Breakfast  * My Stay At Home Adventures

  2. Not yet
    Want to know where the sugar shack is located 

  3. Pingback: Caribbean Johnny Cakes Recipe - The Islands Johnny Cake!! Recipe On Food52

  4. you said it was served as an appetizer. What do you serve the bread with. It looks like sour cream or ricotta smeared on the bread in the photo.

  5. That’s so awesome you figured out the recipe! After a trip to the Sugar Shack this summer and last, I knew I had to find the recipe for their amazing Johnny Bread! I can’t wait to make this!!!! Thank you! We love Ocean Isle! Haven’t been to Sunset other than checking it out in the evening.

  6. Just the recipe I was searching for after the most delicious meal @ Sugar Shack! Thanks

  7. Loved it

  8. No way!!! We vacation in Ocean Isle and MUST hit up Sugar Shack every time!! And every year I’m left craving Johnny Cake once we’re back home in PA. I had a recipe but misplaced it, so I took to Pinterest to find another. So excited to find your recipe and post!! Cannot wait to whip this up!!! Thank you!!

  9. Thanks so much for the recipe! We have been going to OIB since I was a little girl. We were just there last week and went to the Sugar Shack. I LOVE the Johnny Cake and was hoping that someone would have a recipe on the internet for me to try. I think I will make a few loaves and freeze them for gifts for the holidays! Why not have a little sunshine when it’s cold and windy outside! Thanks again for the recipe!

  10. Can’t wait to make this, but cannot get full-fat buttermilk around here. Wonder how much the low-fat would affect it.

  11. Just made a couple of loaves and they turned out FANTASTIC! My husband and I have nearly polished of one loaf already and they’ve only been out of the oven for half an hour, ha ha! They taste just like the johnny cakes from my favourite Jamaican restaurant.

  12. Interesting story and the Johnny Cakes sound delicious and are going on my project list for Fall or Winter as I don’t like to bake during the Summer.

  13. That BBC shark video really freaked me out! Sadly, I’ve totally lost my appetite. Your Johnny cake does look good, though.

  14. That looks great.

  15. That vacation looks wonderful and I enjoyed the pictures and reading the recipe. Have a nice day.

  16. You are right this is not a traditional Johnny cake but it looks amazing. Bookmarked to try:-)

  17. Smile. I love the beach too. We are soaking up the sun in Maine right now. Thank you for sharing another beautiful recipe. I hope you had a lovely weekend, and I hope you have an even lovelier week. Many blessings and much love…

  18. It looks like you had a terrific time! I’ve never made Johnny Cakes before, but these look wonderful. I’ll have to give them a try.

  19. It looks like so much fun! I’m a beach lover too. I’ve never eaten Johnny cake. I’ve been missing out!

  20. I agree! You can learn a lot from kids! And I learned a lot from you! I’ve never had a Jamaican Johnny cake, but that vanilla-clove combo sounds like a match made in heaven!

  21. Sweet and spicy bread!! Good job with recreating the flavor!
    And sharks are NOT irrational. Those things can be in very shallow water and blame Jaws, I have never set foot in the Ocean since I came to the US. When you know they are “out there”, it is hard to have a peaceful swim!

  22. congrats on the lovely post Sommer
    cute little ones
    the cake looks fabulous

  23. I’m totally there with you: I’m always on the lookout for sharks at the beach. And the pool. Very irrational.

    I love these Johnny Cakes – they look so moist and delicious!

    Thanks so much for this lovely post and recipe!

  24. Looks great! Going back to Jamaica this coming April…can’t wait!

  25. I love Johnny cakes! These look delicious

  26. I have never had Johnny Cake before nor have I heard of it! Thanks for the recipe! I will give this a try!

  27. I love love love the clicks of two children!! The Johnny cake…that’s a really interesting name.

  28. Hey Sommer, sharks- I think of land shark from saturday night live and bears definitely grizzley adams!
    This johnny cake sounds heavenly- and not scary one bit;-)

  29. How did I miss this amazing bread when I was in Jamaica? Here in New England, Johnny Cakes are like pancakes, but sweet and crumbly, like this rich bread. Yum!

  30. Oh we know the Sugar Shack well. My son’s in laws know the owners well and they have wonderful wonderful food. That’s a must eat at place.

  31. great pic of the kiddos, I tried to vote, but facebook stated the rules had changed???

    yummy cakes, have a great weekend

  32. love the pic of the kiddos, tried to vote..but the facebook stated the rules had changed???? good luck!
    yummy cakes

  33. first time I’ve ever reacted with sheer terror to one of your posts, Spicy! ;)
    (can’t wait to try this bread…thanks!)

  34. Ive never had a johnny cake but yours sure looks delicious! You convinced me 100% by the end of your lovely post that this should go straight on the old to-make list, it has been saved and will hopefully be made sooner rather than later :) looks lovely and well done on creating such a wonderful recipe!

  35. Such a sweet post….love seeing your vacation photos. I encourage my kids to take risks and then when they do i *gasp*
    This non-traditional Johnny cake recipe look amazing!

  36. Clove is definitely one of my favourite aromatic. I hope it brought you all the recent great memories from your break. The cake looks comfortingly memorable ;)

  37. Looks very soft and nice. I like such cakes with tea..

  38. Sommer, what beautiful photos of a family day out! Your kids certainly do look fearless! Your Johnny Cake looks delicious. I like the sound of sweet and spicy.

  39. we have friends that vacation at sunset beach often…but what I really wanted to say is, this post is going to keep me thinking for a while about how gathering knowledge can often lead to trepidation.

  40. Hey, I see your Johnny Cake on Pioneer Woman. And I wish the Sugar Shack would let us know how close you are to their recipe. The Sugar Shack was wonderful — waited more than an hour to get in but it was worth the wait. Sugar Shack 1690 Hale Beach Road Southwest, Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina 28469-4750

  41. I’ve seen that crazy footage of the air attacks by the sharks and while I wouldn’t want to encounter one in real life, I am strangely fascinated by them.

  42. I also love the beach, and I fear stupid stupid things! :)
    So this is what you come up with when experimenting… WOW! The loaf looks amazing!

  43. love your photos, and Johnny cakes looks awesome it is so moist.

  44. Looks amazing. Experimenting is always the tastiest way to come about things. The added bonus of devouring the “failures” is always fun.

  45. forget the sharks, it’s the jellyfish that keep me at bay! Crazy I know, but I hate those suckers!

    Great job on replicated this cake! It looks beautiful. :D

  46. Never had johnny cakes and I am now intrigued. Love the Carolina Coast!

  47. Sommer, that Johnny Cake looks better than any I have ever had, the crumb looks so very very good, and I’m sure those flavors were just heavenly! Now as for sharks I’m with you on that one, I had a friend who was missing a hunk of his leg from a shark attack! As for bears, well I think that’s a good fear too!!

  48. This looks really tasty… I wonder if it’s like a sweet bread… like banana bread texture? And I have a fear of the ocean in general so… I like to see *in* in the water before I step in it : )

  49. You might be my twin, girl. I also have an irrational fear of sharks, based on reading the book Jaws (can’t bear to watch the movie!).
    I’ve never seen these Johnny Cakes, but they look delish!

  50. Proud you should be. This looks delicious. Gorgeous photos!

  51. Saw this recipe on Tasty Kitchen, and popped over and discovered your blog. So glad I did!

  52. Us adults try to make every day last, while kids think they will live forever! Kudos to your effort in the kitchen to replicate what you had at a restaurant. It looks like a real winner.

  53. I had to bite my tongue and hold back my fears many times while raising my kids too!! You may have irrational fears, but you also have amazing talent! To experiment and come up with this gorgeous bread, I am very grateful! It sounds like a perfect afternoon treat

  54. GORGEOUS pictures and this cake looks soooo delicious! Saving this recipe into my favorites! :)

  55. Loving your beach pics! Have you ever been to the JAWS ride at Universal Studios? I am now terrified to enter any kind of water!

  56. YUM. I like that you called it “bread”. Mhmmmm. :)

  57. Summer I have wondered what a johnny cake was…and now I know.

    Sunset Beach is beautiful and so are your children.

  58. That is beautiful! Yes, two of my kids are also fearless…and then I have the middle child that seems to be afraid of everything! I’ve never tried Jonny Cakes, but I’m thinkin’ I should…

  59. I love love beaches .. can spend hours there and then later stare in the mirror wondering why the SPF 55 doesn’t work on my weird skin !!!
    I love such kind of bread light and fluffy .. thanks for the recipe .. and gorgeous pics like always :)

  60. What beautiful photos! Beautiful sunshine. We don’t have that here in the UK. The Jonny Cake sounds so good. I love corn bread and cakes.

  61. We all have our own irrational qualms about us – not just you! Bread sounds delicious!

  62. Glad to know I’m not the only one with irrational fears. :) Although most of them happened once I became a mama!! Which beach did you go to? We’re up visiting the NC coast from South Florida…staying with friends in their beach house. We’re staying about 20 minutes north of Jacksonville, NC.

  63. What the!? We don’t have any Jamaican johnnycakes that look that THAT here! Scandal. Yours looks fabulous. Well done.

    And sharks are totally scary.

  64. You are so cute. Honestly, I have suffered from many of the same irrational fears. I live at the beach and if I put one toe into the ocean I am SURE jaws is swimming circles 3 feet away ready to devour me. Yikes. How irrational can a grown woman be! I love your description of this johnny cake and love even more that it’s not fried. Can’t wait to try it! Thanks :)

  65. I love any cake with cornmeal in it. A Jamaican one is even better. Lovely pics as well!

  66. Wow, this looks awesome. I’ve never tried Johnny cake before, but this is tempting me.

  67. Yum! Love this and yes, I understand your fear…but your kids do look fearless! :)

  68. The bread looks amazing. What a fun vacation.