Fluffy Sweet Cornbread. Could be a little controversial, since there seem to be two camps when it comes to cornbread…
There are those who like their cornbread sweet and “cakey” and those who like theirs savory and more “bready.” I really do like cornbread of almost any kind, as long as it’s not dry, but my favorite will always be Fluffy Sweet Cornbread. For me, it’s just fluffy enough without completely crossing over into a true cake texture. And, I definitely prefer my cornbread with some sweetness. I think it might be due to the food I eat with it. For instance, I love Fluffy Sweet Cornbread with chili. I think the sweetness works wonderfully with the acidity of the tomatoes and the heat of the spices. And, if you’ve been reading along, you know I love sweet and savory combos.
I might also have some cornbread with breakfast. Just like one of my favorite breakfast sidekicks, Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits, cornbread tastes delish with some butter and honey slathered on it. It solves the sweet or savory breakfast dilemma. A super sugary breakfast doesn’t work well for me, but a nice protein rich breakfast with a little sweet on the side makes me feel like I’ve had it all.
I also like cornbread made from scratch. There are no extra preservatives and I can adjust the recipe to exactly how I like it, whether that be more sweet or less, or more cakey or less. I used to buy cornbread mix and keep it in my pantry as a short cut. I would only buy mixes that didn’t have any extra preservatives, transfats or other undesirable ingredients. This is not always an easy feat. Most of the mixes that are easy to find have those “extra” ingredients that I don’t want. At some point, after buying a mix that passed muster and then really thinking about the the ingredients that were left, basically flour, powdered milk, baking powder and salt, I thought buying a mix was kind of silly. So I just created my own easy recipe that I can mix up any time.
I had worked out what I thought was my ideal recipe and had planned to post it this time last year. (Yes, it’s been a year.) Then, I didn’t love the photography. So, the next time I made cornbread, I shot it again, but didn’t like the way it baked up, sometimes doming too much in the center. Then, I started tweaking the recipe, reworking the liquid, dry and fat ratios and baking at different temperatures. You’d be surprised how differently things bake at different temperatures. It’s not just a matter of baking longer or shorter for lower or higher temperatures. The batter reacts differently to the different temperatures.
Every time I made it, it was gobbled up and loved, and I’m sure my family was wondering what I was trying to achieve since they thought it was good every time I made it. It was an obsession to get the texture, moisture, flavor and rise that I wanted. This journey was not unlike the search for My Favorite Cinnamon Scones, or Black Cocoa Brownies. I just had to keep testing until I could crown the winner.
And, I finally nailed it! A perfectly moist, fluffy, just sweet enough cornbread that rose beautifully in the pan! Now, with cornmeal as a staple in my pantry, I can mix up a batch of cornbread in just a few minutes. I use a medium grind because I like the extra texture it gives the cornbread. You can use a finer grind or even cornflour if you want your texture to be finer and cakier.
You can mix this up in one bowl. Mix up your dry ingredients, add all of the wet ingredients, stir and pour into a pan. Though, much like my Crazy Chocolate Olive Oil Cake, even though you can take the easy route, I do like mix the wet before I add it to the dry. You don’t have to, it’ll be just fine with the one bowl method. It’s just after testing and testing, I figure I can give those wet ingredients a good mix before I add them to the dry. Don’t let that tiny step stop you, just use the one bowl method and you’ll have yourself some really good cornbread.
Fluffy Sweet Cornbread. Finally! Exactly how I like it!
Fluffy Sweet Cornbread
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal I use Bob's Red Mill
- scant 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/3 cups milk I use organic skim milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable or other oil I've used olive oil, sunflower seed oil, grapeseed oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8" or 9" square or round baking pan with cooking spray. I used a 9".
- In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Whisk to combine.
- In a separate bowl whisk eggs, milk and oil until well combined. Pour into flour mixture and whisk just until combined. (Or, use one bowl method. See notes below.)
- Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*For the one bowl method, whisk dry ingredients together, then add all of the wet ingredients (eggs, milk, oil) and whisk just until combined.
*Pay attention to what cornmeal you use. A finer grind will give you a finer texture and be more cake like, while coarser grinds will give you a coarser heartier texture. The bread pictured here uses a medium grind from Bob's Red Mill. Store covered at room temperature.
Recipe from The Merchant Baker Copyright © 2016