Clam cakes are nothing like crab cakes or fish cakes, think clam beignet, or donut hole. Only savoury. Hank, whose recipe this is puts it best "Crispy, golden brown on the outside, pillowy and light on the inside. The slightest aroma of the sea with tiny chunks of clam meat nestled in the folds of the pillow, offering surprising bites of chewy meatiness as you down one of these little glories after another. And another." I think this is a must try recipe...

  • 1kg hard shell clams  
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 125ml clam broth (reseved from cooking the clams)
  • 125ml cold beer
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 350g cake flour, or plain flour


In a large pan, bring water to a boil. Add the clams, cover, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until the clams open. Discard any clams that do not open. Transfer the clams to a dish and set aside to cool. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth to catch any sediment. Reserve the broth.

Once the clams are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells and chop them into small pieces. Set aside.

Mix all the liquid ingredients together except the beer. Mix all the dry ingredients together. When your oil is hot, add the beer to the liquid ingredients and mix gently. Stir in the dry ingredients just until combined.

Be sure to keep your oil as close to 180°C as you can. The cakes will come out greasy if your oil gets too cool. Fry in batches to prevent this. 

Drop a tablespoon of batter into the hot oil at a time. Do not crowd the pot. Let them sizzle for 30 seconds or so, then dislodge any that are stuck to the bottom with a chopstick or wooden skewer. Fry until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes.

Drain on paper towels and serve while hot with the remoulade, Tabasco or tartar sauce. 

If you can't eat all the cakes in one sitting, leave the oil in the fryer overnight; it'll be fine. Then reheat and refry the leftover cakes for 2 to 3 minutes, turning once. 

If you wanted to make a spicy dipping sauce to go with the clam cakes you could try this one:

  • 200ml mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1-2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 large clove garlic, smashed

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, adjusting the quantities to suit your taste buds.

    Recipe and picture Honest Food