Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Cornbread that Stops a Nation

There are rumours that it wasn’t my cornbread that stopped the nation at 3pm on the first Tuesday in November this year. Some say it was a horse race not cornbread. However I am sure a marvellous cornbread is far more likely to bring a nation to a standstill than a horse race, even the Melbourne Cup.

I have been making cornbread for many years and have tried lots of recipes. Some good, some bad. I have made a few unusual cornbread recipes since starting this blog but no plain old common garden cornbreads. My problem is that when I want a cornbread, I have to trawl through all my recipes to find a good one.

I decided to find a good basic recipe and post it so next time I can turn to the blog. I have had some terribly dry cornbreads in the past, mainly due to too much cornmeal. A reasonable amount of wheat flour gives that lightness that balances the heavy cornmeal. I also love buttermilk or yoghurt and creamed corn to keep it moist and soft. So I searched for just such a recipe and then added cheese and parsley, which I love in cornbread for extra colour and flavour.

This recipe was easy and delicious and could be adapted to preferences. The cheese can be omitted or you could add chives instead of parsley or spice it up with some chillis. Corn kernels could be substituted for the creamed corn but you may need a little sugar or sweetener. This was just the cornbread recipe I had been seeking. It was hard not to eat all the bread fresh out of the oven but fortunately there was a lot of it.

I baked it this week on Cup Day. The Melbourne Cup might be a big deal in Australia, especially for those who get the public holiday and spend a day at the races filled with frocks, fascinators and many a flutter. At our house cornbread is more important. At 3pm when the horses sprinted out of the starting blocks, we sat down to watch with a satisfying, albeit late, lunch of cornbread, salad and strawberry, watermelon and apple juice.

I had cornbread left yesterday to take to meet up with my sister, Fran. Originally it was to be a lunch date but she had a working lunch and Sylvia is easier to feed at home. We met at 2pm for a quick catch up and I meant to eat beforehand but it took so long to feed Sylvia that I only had time to get mine together and rush out the door. I ate it outside in a park chatting to Fran, watching Sylvia play on her rug and surrounded by tennis courts and avenues of spooky trees.

My cornbread was great with salad. It was still soft and delicious the day after baking it. I am looking forward to serving this cornbread with chilli non carne or soup. I would like to believe the nation stopped this year as much for my cornbread as for the race. It is that good. Just ask the dinosaurs!

Cheesy cornbread
Adapted from

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup buttermilk or yoghurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 400g tin of creamed corn
  • 125g grated tasty cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley (handful)
  • 1½ cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup plain white flour
  • ½ cup plain wholemeal flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Grease and line a 22cm or 9 inch square cake tin. Heat oven to 220 C or 425 F. Melt butter in the microwave in a microwave proof bowl or on the stovetop in a large saucepan. Add buttermilk or yoghurt, eggs, creamed corn, cheese and parsley. Mix with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and mix till just combined. Spoon into prepared tin. Bake for 20-30 minutes (it took me 30 minutes) until golden brown and cornbread springs back when lightly touched with a finger. Cool 5 minutes and then turn out on a wire rack to cool completely.

On the Stereo:
A Secret History: the Best of the Divine Comedy – The Divine Comedy


  1. Great cornbread! It sounds delicious :)

  2. i'm a cornbread devotee!

  3. That looks like one hearty cornbread! I love serving cornbread with chili and where I live, we just have the right weather for it now.

  4. ooh that looks lovely and springy. Is cornmeal the same as polenta (which I have in the cupboard and don't really know what to do with it not liking whipped up with water).

    I love your 'on the stereo' footnotes - the Divine Comedy are ace. If you like Neil Hannon you might like some duets he's done with Duke Special who I absolutely love. You can see a video of their most popular track 'my love goes deeper than this' on YouTube and there's also a really funny tongue in cheek duel called 'Duke Special vs Neil Hannon' where they pretend to hate each other and fight it out with duelling piano playing :o)
    (sorry I can't link to it - my paste button isn't working!)

  5. They are spooky looking trees! I like the idea of adding the corn kernels to give a burst of moisture to your bread.

  6. I would definitely come to a reverent halt for your gorgeous cornbread! :-) I love all the texture and color components you've added! As an avid cornbread lover, I'm eagerly looking forward to fixing your beautiful recipe! :-)

    P.S. The photo of the trees is incredible!

  7. Thanks Karine - it was

    Thanks Philippa - there are just too many good versions of cornbread (try the pumpkin one!)

    Thanks Nupur - good corn bread in cold weather is a great comfort but I have also been enjoying it with salad

    thanks Nic - cornmeal is the same as polenta (well I use it in the same way) - I also like polenta as a slurry either instead of a mash or firmed up and baked - but I do it in the microwave which is really quick and easy. Love divine comedy - saw them in London in 1999 and they were fantastic - must check out these songs - I can imagine they are funny as Neil Hannon did the song for Father Ted which is one of the funniest comedies

    Thanks Arwen - I love corn in cornbread - it gives me moisture and heaps of flavour

    Thanks Astra - you would have been welcome to come and stop at 3pm for cornbread at our place :-) I know you would have appreciated it

  8. It's hard to find a good cornbread recipe! I love cornbread but haven't loved all the versions I've tried. And recently I purchased stone ground medium grind cornmeal which I find much too chunky (you can feel the big chunks in the finished product). Well the chunks aren't that big but bigger than they should be! Anyway this cornbread looks delicious. I've never tried creamed corn in cornbread - really something I must try!

  9. Always good to have a go-to cornbread recipe posted! I love cornbread, too. Yours looks great. And how lucky to have a day off for the Melbourne Cup!


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