Panamanian Johnnycakes

My most recent incursion into the Panamanian cuisine are these delicious johnny cakes or journey cakes. My mother had already told me about them before, but I’ve never tried them and have to confess that I could not stop eating them. They are typical from the province of Bocas del Toro, one of the most beautiful places in Panama and is also found in other Caribbean localities; but today’s recipe is the Panamanian version. They should not be confused with the American Johnny cakes, made with corn flour and with an Native American origin.

If you want to make them in the traditional way, you should taken over a wood fire (fogón) on an iron skillet, but if you can’t feel free to use your oven (like I did).

Although its origin is not very clear, the name derives from the fact that they will keep fresh and edible for a long time, therefor journey cake/Johnny cakes/ Yaniqueques (it’s all in the pronunciation).

As you can see, the ingredients are very basic, but the coconut milk brings them to a whole new level.


  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry baking yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter *
  • 125 g vegetable shortening (like crisco)
  • 200 ml of coconut milk


Start by mixing the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then we add the butter and the vegetable shortening and work it until everything is incorporated, finally add the coconut milk and knead until everything is well incorporated and the mixture look like cookie dough , about 10 minutes.

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in a warm place, divide into equal portions (about 12), make balls and flatten them a bit, poke with a fork and let stand another 15 minutes before baking at 180 ° C for about 30 minutes or  until golden

* Note to vegans, you can remove the butter and replace it with margarine or vegetable shortening.


3 Replies to “Panamanian Johnnycakes”

    1. Yes I grew up both vacationing in Bocas Del Toro with my Mami who was born in Almirante, BDT province long ago; and eating lots of great Caribbean cuisine in Panama 🇵🇦! Lived for decades in Panama City and I ate Johnny cake quite a lot! Definitely more-ish. Addictive!

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