Black-Eyed Pea Cake Redux

Earlier this year I had the privilege of traveling to Napa with Bush’s Beans to cook alongside those I now call friends. Late last week another group of bean lovers descended on The Culinary Institute in Napa once again to learn more about the versatility of the bodacious bean. Along with Connie Guttersen, and Andy Wild, both who I met while in Napa in February, Jeffrey Saad, Michael Schulson, and Daisy Martinez joined the gang to share with Aggie, Sandy, Tina, Kristen, Laura, Katie, Cheryl and myself a few tasty tricks using Bush’s Beans.

One of the recipes we worked on was falafel. Goodness gracious that falafel was some good stuff. It reminded me of the Black-Eyed Pea Cake recipe I posted earlier this year. Packed with flavor and the goodness of beans too, but with a southern flair, they make for a perfect appetizer or side dish.

My daughter overheard me mention to a friend that I may be re-posting the recipe and she gave a rousing approval. We southern gals do love our black-eyed peas. The last time we made them they hardly made it to the table. I think I’ll be making them this week.

I think I don’t have a choice.

The Black-eyed Pea Cakes are usually served with Comeback Sauce. Comeback Sauce? Yep, we like to name things simply here in the south. And, oh my is it ever worth a second trip.

So what are you waiting for? Grab some black-eyed peas (pinto beans would work well too) and get cooking.

Here’s the full recipe photo tutorial that I posted earlier this year, if you’re a visual person like me.

Black-Eyed Pea Cakes Recipe
(makes 8-12 cakes, depending on size)
adapted from Ezra Pound Cake


2  15.8 oz. cans of black-eyed peas; drained (pinto beans may be substituted)

1 slice of bacon; fried and crumbled

4-8 tablespoons olive oil; divided

1/2 cup onion; chopped

4 cloves of garlic; minced

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 egg 1/3 cup half and half

2 cups panko or bread crumbs


Begin by warming the black-eyed peas, while you prep the other ingredients.

Sauté the onion and garlic together in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil until softened.

Add half of the black-eyed peas (about 1 1/2 cups), bacon, onion, garlic, cilantro, basil, cumin, cayenne, salt to a food processor and pulse a few times until blended. Not too much. It doesn’t need to be totally smooth.

Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in the remaining black-eyed peas and heavy cream.

Chill the mixture until cool – about an hour or so.

After the mixture has cooled, gently form the cakes and set aside.

Prepare 3 separate bowls for battering. Flour goes in the first one. Then beat an egg and the half and half together in the second one. And the bread crumbs go in the third one.

Batter the cakes by coating first with flour, then the egg mixture and finish with the bread crumbs. Set aside after coated.

Have a plate or cooling rack lined with paper towels ready for cakes when cooked.

Prepare the skillet by heating 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.

Fry cakes in small batches, cooking approximately 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Be sure to watch the oil for overheating, and, if needed, add additional oil or start with new oil if it gets too dark.

Remove cakes, let cool on paper towel lined plate. (Or eat ’em all before anyone notices.)

Serve with comeback sauce (basic recipe below).

Comeback Sauce Recipe
(Other than the mayonnaise and the oil, we didn’t measure any of the other ingredients (sorry!), so combine, adding a little of each ingredient at a time, to your preferred taste.)


1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/8 cup salad oil (I used walnut oil)

black pepper

celery salt

hot sauce




Worcestershire sauce


Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until served.


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  1. 7

    Barbara @Modern Comfort Food says

    I’m totally with you on the attractions of black-eyed peas, and I just love your innovative take on them here. This other “southern gal” is already licking her lips at the thought of these cakes served with s big bowl of homegrown collard greens and some sliced banana peppers. Yum! These cakes will definitely be on my dinner table tomorrow night.

  2. 9

    Aggie says

    I remember when you first posted these. I will admit, I don’t eat blackeyed peas very often. I also admit I may have had them only once or twice, one being at Paula Dean’s restaurant. That falafel was amazing. These cakes remind me of them. I can’t wait to make them. And the sound of comeback sauce just makes me want to make it too. :)

  3. 10


    I’m a Midwestern gal by location, but a southern girl at heart and this sounds awesome! Anxious to try it. Totally jealous (btw) of your trip to Napa! SOunds awesome.

  4. 12

    Tickled Red says

    Yes we do love our black eyed peas! These make me do a happy dance every time I see them!!

  5. 14


    I will definitely be trying these. I’ve made black bean cakes, but black eyed peas with bacon, they must be fantastic! And the come back sauce sounds pretty darn good. I missed it the first time thanks for bringing them back around.

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