corn cakes with tomato avocado relish

We’re having a blast in the kitchen this summer, thanks to having such great luck in the garden so far. Our beefsteak tomato plants really surprised us in actually producing edible fruit as opposed to the rotted, blighted tomatoes we were expecting after the first couple that ripened went bad. 

So with these beefsteaks and the insane amount of cherry tomatoes we’ve picked so far, at least 75% of our meals over the last few weeks have included something from our garden.

And that goes for these corn cakes too! The tomato-avocado relish isn’t just a condiment here – it’s really part of a wholly fabulous (and quick!) meal. 

Inside of 30 minutes, we had these fresh sweet corn cakes topped with the refreshing relish on the table. Totally my kind of meal for a weeknight! 

The corn toasts and sweetens even further when cooked making the light and fluffy cakes virtually irresistible. It’s kind of like the awesomeness that grilled corn is but there is frying involved (who’s complaining?).

Then you’ll pile the corn cakes high with the type of topping that’s good enough to eat with tortilla chips or as a Tex-Mex bruschetta on crunchy bread. 

In other words, this is an all-around winner of a meal and if I can get my hands on some more of that local sweet corn, we’ll be having it again soon!

corn cakes with tomato avocado relish

Sweet Corn Cakes with Tomato-Avocado Relish

Yield: 10-12 corn cakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes

Corn cakes with avocado tomato relish will quickly become your new summer favorite recipe. Made in under 30 minutes with fresh corn chopped from the cob, this meal is a great way to use up your backyard garden tomatoes too!


For the tomato-avocado relish:

  • 1 large tomato, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 scallion or a small handful of chives, minced
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 ½ tsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp white wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced

For the corn cakes:

  • 3 large ears of corn, shucked, and the corn cut off (this should yield about 3 cups of corn)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • Canola or vegetable oil, for frying

For serving:


  1. To make the relish: Mix all of the ingredients except the avocado together in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 2 days. Just before serving, stir in the avocado.
  2. To make the corn cakes: Place the corn kernels in a large bowl. Place 2 cups of the corn kernels in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times, until the corn is slightly pureed but still chunky. Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the remaining corn kernels. Add the flour, cornmeal, onion, cilantro, baking powder, and baking soda to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to mix well. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and butter, and stir with a fork just to combine - the batter will be lumpy and that's fine.
  3. Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add just enough oil to barely cover the bottom of the pan and heat until sizzling hot. Scoop the batter into the skillet about a ⅓ cup (for main course corn cakes) or a heaping tablespoon (for appetizer-size) at a time, cooking the cakes in batches so that they are not touching while they cook. Fry 3-4 minutes per side (or 1-2 minutes per side for the smaller cakes), until golden brown. These cakes will cook a little like pancakes do so you'll know the insides are cooked through when the top of the cake is slightly firm (not hard or crisp) when gently pressed with your finger. Transfer the cooked cakes to a wire rack and keep them warm in the oven (see note above); repeat with the remaining batter. Serve hot topped with the relish and drizzled with ranch dressing, if desired.


To keep the finished corn cakes from getting cold while cooking the others, keep them on a wire rack in a 250° F oven. These corn cakes can almost be made a little ahead of time as an appetizer for company - just keep them warm in the oven and serve with the cold tomato-avocado relish. If you're making this dish in the winter, you can use frozen corn - just thaw it in a colander first.

adapted from Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen via Ezra Pound Cake and Annie's Eats

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Leave a Comment

  • August 27, 2012 at 7:52 AM

    Corn pancakes always remind me of my thrifty mother who would (on those rare occasions that corn on the cob wasn’t devoured by the family) make these pancakes. She would have loved the bonus of the relish, too.

  • August 27, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Ohhh, how I wish I could grow a garden..or even a household plant at that!
    These look wonderful