Cheddar and Herb Corn Cake

In the United States, there is a term to refer to something that is inherently a foundation in American culture. The phrase goes "____ is as American as apple pie".  After a recent enlightening trip to a Native American history museum in Phoenix, Arizona I discovered there are things more American than apple pie, corn, for instance, has been an integral crop in culinary traditions throughout the Americas for millennia. I am going to start thinking of things which are distinctly American, "as American as corn bread."

Corn also known as maize has been one of the key crops throughout North and South American history. The Incas, Mayas, Aztecs, Pueblo builders and even the native tribes that had first contact with Europeans relied on corn as a staple food. (McGee 477) In addition to fresh corn, it was also ground down into corn meal and used as the basis for flatbreads, raised breads, and made into grits. Essentially the cultivation of corn and development of corn recipes is as quintessentially American as any other food source imaginable.

The cornbread in today's recipe is based on the Southern style cornbread, which is popular throughout the South Eastern United States. Southern Cornbread has roots in Native American, European, and African culinary traditions. Native Americans, settlers, and slaves all were known to cook corn cakes due to the low cost and ease of production. Early European settlers called cornbread "hoe cake" because they would dollop batter on the end of a hoe and leave it out in the sun to cook against the metal end of their hoe. (White)

I call this recipe a corn cake because of the moisture content of the finished product. The vegetable oil in this recipe keeps the cornbread soft and moist, more than other corn bread recipes. Cornbread is a hearty side dish which can easily feed a small group. It only takes about 30 minutes, and the aroma of anything freshly baked fills up a room and whets appetites.


Cheddar and Herb Corn Cake

  • 1 & 3/4 c All-purpose flour, sifted.
  • 1 c Cornmeal
  • 1 c Previously cooked corn kernels
  • 1/2 c Shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 t Baking Powder
  • 1/4 t Baking soda
  • 3/4 t Kosher salt
  • 1 & 1/4 c Buttermilk
  • 1/4 c Melted & cooled butter
  • 1/4 c Vegetable oil
  • 1 Large egg
  • Several sprigs of rosemary, thyme, and sage. Minced
Special Equipment: Cast iron skillet

Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F, keep cast iron in the oven to heat up as well.
  2. While preheating mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, corn kernels, cheddar cheese, and herbs into one bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk your wet ingredients together, the buttermilk, liquefied butter, vegetable oil, and egg.
  4. When the oven is preheated take out your cast iron and add a small amount of butter, enough to coat the entire pan. Be careful not to burn yourself.
  5. Pour the liquid bowl into the dry bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated, do not overmix.
  6. Pour the batter into the cast iron skillet and transfer back into the oven.
  7. Let cook for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed from the center without removing any batter.
  8. Let rest for one minute then flip and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Serve as either wedges or squares with a dollop of butter.
Total Time: 35 min
Citations and Further Readings:
  • McGee, Harold. On food and cooking: the science and lore of the kitchen. Simon and Schuster, 2007.
  • White, Joyce. "Cornbread: The Evolution of a Recipe." A Taste of History. N.p., 2011. Web.


  1. This looks so moist and delicious! I love the step-by-step photos and the little history lesson :)

    1. Thank you for stopping by, I really appreciate the comment. I also really enjoy reading your blog. Cheers.