I didn’t grow up a Southerner. I grew up in Massachusetts. Up there we only had one kind of cornbread…the sweet kind made from a box mix, usually Jiffy. Now that I’m a chef in the Mid-Atlantic (I have trouble referring to Maryland as “the South”), I often get caught up in the discussion/debate that corn bread isn’t supposed to be sweet. A lot of chefs that I admire will tell you that once you add sugar, its cake. I don’t really want to continue that discussion, so let’s start a new one.
Why don’t we just make Corn Cake? Not the kind like hoecakes, but a true corn cake. I say, go all in. I started with boxed corn muffin mix, and adjusted the liquids. I added Monin’s Orgeat (almond) syrup and vanilla paste. The mix was put into individual rectangle pans and baked like any other cake or muffin. Upon cooling they were frosted with a traditional vanilla buttercream and topped with an apricot/amaretto topping and toasted almonds.
This was a very good start. Ideally, I don’t want to bake them as individual cakes, but as layer cakes. This was more of an off-the-cuff test. Un-iced, they sort of look like the corn bread at Boston Market.
The combination worked really well. If you noticed, I’ve been working with apricots a lot lately, mostly because we picked up a couple of cases and still have a few kicking around. This could easily be my cake of summer. I also see myself throwing a slice on the grill and topping it with blueberries (and maybe Drambuie). Have you ever had a corn cake?
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