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Cornbread that's light, sweeter and just right

By Betty Shimabukuro


Hannah Kawakami is on a cornbread mission. She's tried several recipes, "but none of them are as fluffy and tall as those that we get from Napoleon's Bakery. My little granddaughter loves her cornbread and I want to be able to help her bake it herself."

I know what she means -- a cornbread that's more like cake than bread, light and sweet. I've asked for recipes from Napoleon's before, to no avail, so in this case I decided to just dive in.

Recipes for cornbread are thick on the ground, with a limited set of ingredients arranged in different ways. There is always cornmeal in some combination with flour, along with eggs, milk, leavening (baking powder, baking soda and/or salt), some kind of fat (butter or vegetable oil) and sugar (usually not much).

I tried five recipes. One was terrible. The others ran the gamut of cornbread variety: Not sweet, kinda sweet and really sweet (in this case, just right). The key is a flour-to-cornmeal ratio of 3-to-1 (the usual proportion is 1-1) and a hefty scoop of sugar. Buttermilk deepened the color and its touch of acidity helped keep the bread light. 

Cornbread Cake

1/2 cup cornmeal
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar (or up to 2/3 cup if you want it sweeter)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square or 9-inch round cake pan.

Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir well.

Whisk eggs with buttermilk, milk and oil. Add to dry ingredients and stir until moistened. Add butter and mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. A pick inserted into center should come out clean. Let cool slightly before slicing.

Nutritional information unavailable.

Wanted: Your family favorites

The Star-Advertiser has an ohana cookbook in the works, to be filled with beloved recipes from our readers. If you have a dish that's a favorite of your extended family, it's time to write it down and share.

All those selected will be part of a cookbook to be published in the fall. Grand prize winners will be photographed for the book and will receive a family portrait.

To enter: Go to www.mutualpublishing.com and download an entry form. You'll need to write out your recipe and tell us in 100 words or less how the dish originated and what makes it special.

If you don't have a computer, call Mutual at 732-1709 to request a form by mail.

All entries must be received by March 25.

Questions? Call 732-1709.


Write "By Request," 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813. E-mail bshimabukuro@staradvertiser.com.

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