The story is that the hoe cake came to be known as the hoe cake, because back in the day the field hands working in the crops had only some corn meal and water or maybe milk and their hoes to cook on over a hot fire. They would mix this mixture of corn meal and water or maybe milk up, clean their hoe off, and put it over a hot fire to cook the bread on the flat surface. Some even say it might go all the way back to the Indians who did make something very similar to the hoe cake, and many still do, called Indian fry bread or a Johnny cake. However they came to be, done right, they are wonderful.
I see lots of variations on hoe cake recipes, but this is the recipe my mother taught me years ago. I do add a couple of things she doesn't, but basically the same.
Start by mixing together an egg, 1 cup self rising flour, 1 cup self rising corn meal, 1 cup milk or buttermilk, 1 Tbs sugar, and 1/2 Tbs baking powder. If you use buttermilk, you might need to add 1/4 cup water because it makes it a little thicker. Mix all ingredients well.
Heat vegetable oil in a skillet just to coat it on medium high heat. When you pour batter in it should sizzle, but no smoke. You can use a nonstick skillet or an iron skillet or a griddle if you have one. I just use a nonstick skillet. Don't crowd them because you have to have room to turn them.
Do not flip until they start to bubble and get little craters in them, then you can turn them without them falling apart. They are pretty much done now and just need to brown on the other side.
Cook on the other side for about 3-5 minutes or until brown and you have delicious hoe cakes. Here is a helpful tip, do not be tempted to press down on these once you flip them. They are not hamburgers and pressing on them will make them tough and dense not light. It's a pet peeve of mine..lol. I thought it must be a thing with just me, but I heard one of my aunts say that irritated the heck out her when somebody mashed on her hoe cakes after she flipped them. It's genetic...lol. So many things are it seems.
1 cup self rising flour
1 cup self rising corn meal
1 cup milk or buttermilk
1 Tbs. sugar (optional, it's not enough to really make a huge difference)
1/2 Tbs. baking powder (you can leave this out, but it makes the hoe cakes rise up really nice)
***If you cannot buy self rising cornmeal and self rising flour in your area, use all purpose and add tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, and 1/4 tsp. salt. If you can buy self rising, invest in some, it just makes better cornbread.