Country Bean Cakes


A pot o’ beans.

I was talking food with my hired men one day recently and one of them mentioned their mother making bean cakes. Because I’m quirky like that about obscure back country recipes, I was completely struck by “bean cakes” and had to grill him to the ground about what exactly this bean cake thing is. Give me your bean cake secrets.

It’s not a cake, as in a sweet cake. It’s not sweet.

It’s not a patty, as in a vegetarian burger.

It’s made of beans, in a batter, and fried.

Are the beans mashed? No.

Are the beans seasoned? Yes. It’s a leftovers recipe.

What IS the recipe?

Not precise, depends on how much beans you have left over. So don’t get stuck on the amount of beans.

Is the batter as thin as pancakes or as thick as biscuits? Somewhere in between.

What do you put on it when you eat it? Ketchup. (Of course!)

After I took the interrogative spotlight out of his eyes, I went away and came up with this recipe, which blew my mind because it was so delicious. As you can see, I made it based on a cornbread recipe, but this is truly a recipe-less recipe. Meaning, it was born to be fiddled with according to your tastes and what you have on hand. If you don’t like cornbread, use all-purpose flour in total. You could also use self-rising flour and omit the baking powder. You could even straight up use your favorite pancake recipe and add the seasoned beans. This is, at its country soul, a savory bean pancake. But because beans and cornbread go so beautifully together, I wanted to use cornmeal in my batter.
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How to make Bean Cakes:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups seasoned pinto beans, drained*

*Season the beans as you normally like them, adding in onions, peppers, whatever you like.

In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the beans and stir to combine. (Don’t over-stir.) Then add the beans.
Stir lightly again to combine. See details about making a pot of beans here.

Heat a skillet (iron is best, but a griddle will also do) on medium-high heat. I used an iron skillet with some bacon fat. Pour the batter into the skillet and cook about a minute or so per side.
The cake will bubble up on top (like pancakes do) and tell you it’s time to flip it.
I was actually shocked because these were so good, they were almost addictive. I tried them with ketchup, with hot sauce, and even with syrup (despite the savory ingredients). It was ALL DELICIOUS. They’re even delicious with nothing on top.
This is definitely going into my regular recipe repertoire. Make some–I recommend it!

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on January 13, 2015  

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10 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 1-13

    Wow! These look great. I will have to make them for sure. Too bad I’m at work. I have seen the beans mashed and fried into patties but never done this way. Thanks for something new to try. By the way, my little dog likes the “cat warmers” too. :snoopy:

  2. 1-13

    Oh no, that’s not how I make my bean cakes. I just take the beans, mix in some flour to make the beans stiff and fry them up. I don’t know that I would like the grittiness of the cornmeal.

    I also make potato cakes. Take mashed potatoes, mix in a little flour, diced onion and egg to make them stiff, fry them up in some canola oil, salt and pepper…mmmm, mmmm, mmmmm.

    That’s just my take on bean cakes. It’s how my mother made them.

  3. 1-13

    ladybird, I suspect there are a lot of ways to make bean cakes, but same idea!

  4. 1-13

    These beans cakes sound interesting, I usally keep a couple cans of beans in the pantry for a quick meal, I am thinking this may be a good recipe for using some of those beans.
    I make a lot of potato cakes from mashed potatoes, these will be a nice change.
    Thank your fellas for us.

  5. 1-13

    I have never heard of bean cakes. Will be trying out this recipe soon. Thanks for the detailed instructions that you always give along with photos. The photos really help to see what the recipe looks like while it’s being assembled.

  6. 1-13

    I’ve never heard of bean cakes either! I’m definitely going to try your recipe – cornbread battered – YUM!!! :hungry: Thanks Suzanne! :snoopy:

  7. 1-14

    I love beans! Especially regular pinto beans,which I grew up on! I googled ‘bean cakes’ and there’s quite a few that are basically like a mashed bean cake, that’s fried. But what a great idea to make like a bean pancake. Thanks,Suzanne!

  8. 1-18

    I made these quite regularly when the kiddos were at home. It fell into the waste not, want not category! All makes and models (LOL) of beans were used, and 9 times out of 10, cornmeal was used to bind it up! A little dab of lard in the iron skillet, and you’d have a platter full in no time at all!

  9. 1-25

    Oh wow! Cornbread + beans= favorite food. Like a hoe cake with beans!! So excited to try this, thanks! :woof:

  10. 1-27

    I make a big pot of pinto beans and keep in smaller serving sizes in my freezer for making cheese beans (a side that I serve with tacos), making mexican pizza, in chili, just eating with cornbread.

    And NOW I have another thing I can make with beans. Beans and cornbread all in one dish. Sounds like a winner to me! Thanks, Suzanne! this recipe looks like something I’m going to like for sure!

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