There are two schools of thought on cornbread. One says that cornbread should be a hearty and savory bread, and that a plainer cornbread is better for soaking up the flavor of chilis and sauces. The members of the other school prefer a sweeter, cakier cornbread. I am definitely in the latter school of thought and I like sweeter cornbread. I like the softer texture and it seems to be a little bit more versatile to me, since I can serve it up with chili or bbq, or simply slather it with butter and eat it for a snack.
This Sweet Olive Oil Cornbread walks a nice line between sweet and savory, just leaning a little into the sweet side of things. It has a fluffy, tender crumb with just a bit of texture from the cornmeal. It isn’t sweet enough to turn into a cake, but the sugar in the recipe highlights the natural sweetness of the corn and the fruitiness of the olive oil. As with most recipes that include olive oil, it is a good idea to use a flavorful olive oil that you enjoy on its own for the best results in the recipe.
I baked this cornbread in a 9-inch round cake pan and cut it into generous wedges to serve. You can bake the same bread in a 9×9-inch square pan with about the same baking time, if you prefer square cornbread pieces. Serve this alongside a spicy chili to cut the heat a little bit, or smear it with butter and drizzle it with honey to sweeten it up even more. I think that this cornbread is best when served slightly warm, but leftovers will be just as good in a day or two if the cornbread is kept well-wrapped.
Sweet Olive Oil Cornbread
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, egg and buttermilk until well-blended. Stir into flour mixture and mix until well-combined. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Turn out of the pan, peel of the parchment paper, and reinvert onto a wire rack. Allow cornbread to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.