Corn Cake, No 2

This recipe for corn bread comes from the Appledore Cookbook[1]. And to be honest, the reason I chose it was that it uses yeast, and I had never made cornbread like that before.

One thing to keep in mind with yeast recipes from the past, is that modern yeasts are light-years faster than those older yeasts. Any recipe calling for an overnight rise is going to be a problem. You’ll either need to do it in the refrigerator, or do it for a much short period of time, like an hour. I did mine during the day, so it only took an hour or so. Even then, the batter was already falling a bit. Yeast back before the 20th century was obtained from brewers, after the brewing was done.

Given that my fermentation time was much shorter, I’m sure it had an effect on the flavor. There are many notes though my books about corn-based breads going sour very quickly. Which leads me to think that a longer ferment time may give more of a sourdough flavor. And of course, given that yeast of the time was obtained by brewers after the ferment, they carried the flavor of hops with them as well. That said, this was a very flavorful cornbread, especially given the ┬ásimplicity of the recipe.

Corn Cake No 2, recipe

This comes out thin, and a bit crisp, with very good flavor. And if you should happen to split it and fry it in the leftover bacon fat…. mmmmm.

Corn Cake, No 2


Corn Cake No 2


  • 3 cups corn meal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • water
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted


  1. Mix the cornmeal, flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of tepid water, add to the bowl.
  3. Slowly stir in additional water (about 2 cups) until the batter is similar to a thick pancake batter.
  4. Cover and set aside until it has risen to approximately double it's volume.
  5. Heat oven to 425 (or 400 convection)
  6. Stir in the baking powder and the melted butter, then pour into two buttered 8" round cake pans. This should be quite thin, not much more than needed to cover the bottoms.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned on top.

Maria Parloa, The Appledore Cook Book. Graves, Locke & Company, 1878.

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