Friday, May 08, 2009

A Homemade Life: Custard-filled cornbread

This custard-filled cornbread is splendid. Molly Wizenberg gives Marion Cunningham credit for the recipe and says it is sometimes called "spider cake." You make a rudimentary cornbread batter and pour it into a buttered pan, then pour a cup of heavy cream over the top. Bake. When you cut into it, the the top and bottom layers are grainy and cornbready, the middle is creamy and warm, like pudding.
Wizenberg recommends serving with maple syrup, as do I. (Omit the frozen corn kernels, halve the quantity of salt and this is virtually the same recipe.)

Alas, custard-filled cornbread did not go over well with my children. Isabel couldn't get her mind around putting syrup on cornbread, and she couldn't get her mind around cornbread that was not exactly like every other cornbread she's ever eaten. "I don't like the moist part," she said. 

A hard case, that one. I ate what she left on her plate and what Owen left on his, and now feel very lovely and slim. 


  1. Wizenberg loves those heavy cream recipes. So do I. So do my thighs. I think I'll have to just experience this cookbook vicariously.

  2. oh man. this looks simply divine!!

  3. Hmm, I can see my boyfriend having the same reaction to this as your kids. He is afraid of the new (true story: it's taken me several years to get him to eat chicken that's on the bone, since he was fed exclusively on boneless, skinless chicken breasts).

    However, this looks just lovely enough that I may just have to try it. Maybe the next time I make black bean soup.

  4. Tipsy - If I stopped making (or never made) everything my kids (darling little sots that they are who appreciate not the ecstasy of a diet unrestricted by the starch-protein-canned veggie trifecta) found objectionable because it was not "familiar", well... they'd have the childhood I did: comfortingly unexciting. I applaud 98.7% of your efforts (even I have to deduct for the pig ear salad). If your offspring applaud less than that right now, rest assured it will improve. Either that, or they will become vegan. And then you can truly cook to YOUR heart's content!

  5. You can use whole or part fat milk in this recipe and it comes out just fine.

    Edward Espe Brown's Tassajara Breadbook in the early 70's included one he called "Three-Layer Cornbread". He said he added way too much milk to a standard cornbread recipe by mistake while at the Tassajara Zen Center where he was head cook. It came out with a bran layer on top, custard in the middle and a bready bottom layer. "easy, gloroius, amazing" was his descrition of this cornbread and I've been making it for 40 years; I agree!


  6. I think that your recipe is so different ,I would like to cook something similar "spider cake." is a crazy idea but the good is that it is so different!22dd