You are my sunshine
If there’s a memory that has it’s own room in my mind it’s me talking with my grandmother on the dining table, which was conveniently located at the center of the kitchen. She will be sipping coffee, one of her main food groups besides white sweet potatoes, and I will be snacking over something sweet. Probably some Oreos. Or better yet, a slice of pound cake with guava jelly on top.
My childhood house was very near to the coast, so we always had a yellow sunshine and a crisp breeze that would seep through the house. With that background we would spend long hours trading stories over the course of some years. She didn’t eat too many sweets, but most of the times she would be eating a piece of corn bread because she simply loved it. It was one of her favorite things and, among years of conversations, long ones, nostalgic ones or funny ones, she passed that love to me.
My grandmother, who was born in 1920, WAS NOT a cook. She decided to take the route of moving to the city, going to college to become a nurse and getting married on her late 20’s after meeting her Mr. Right, my grandfather. No memories of her spending a whole day in the kitchen behind a counter. That’s why any food memories I have with her ended up being very special and of course, delicious. That’s why every single one of them is very special to me.
One of these food memories is with corn bread. Puerto Rican corn bread is so different from what is typically known as corn bread. It’s not savory and it’s not dry. It’s actually more of a sweet cake. You will find it here in every traditional bakery and people will have a piece for breakfast. I have never tasted anything like it outside the island.
I created this recipe that is so simple and accessible, yet every time I make it people are so amazed with the taste. It gets better and better with the days. They truly can’t have enough! I think it’s because this is not something you’ll find in regular supermarkets and people are reminiscent of the days when it was more typical to go to a local bakery and buy a loaf.
You have to make this sweet cornbread recipe soon! It’s too easy and too delicious not to. Make it on a Sunday and you’ll have snacks for the next couple of days. The taste of the corn will reach its peak around the fourth day. It will be impossible not to gather sweet memories around it too!
1. I used this beautiful honeycomb cake pan to have a nicer shape but you can use a regular 9” cake pan. Remember to spray it with coconut or baking spray or spread some butter throughout the interior of the mold.
2. This recipe tastes better after a couple of days of being baked.
3. I really wish I had more notes for you but I don't. It’s that easy and low maintenance!
Unbleached all purpose flour – 1 ¼ cup
Corn meal – 1 ¼ cup
Baking Powder – 2 Tsp
Fine sea salt – ½ Tsp
Medium eggs – 3
Coconut milk – 6 oz
Raw sugar – 1 ½ cup
Vegetable oil – 6 oz
Total time: 40 minutes Active time - 10 minutes
Equipment - Medium to large food processor, 9" cake pan or large novelty baking pan
To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Spray the bottom and sides of the cake pan with coconut cooking spray or other baking spray.
In the bowl of a food processor already attached to the base pulse the flour, corn meal, baking powder and salt for 20 seconds. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Put into the food processor the eggs, coconut milk and sugar and mix for 30 seconds. While the food processor is still running, pour the oil slowly through the top. Stop mixing as soon as the oil is mixed.
Using a wooden spoon, create a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour about ¾ of the liquid ingredients and gently mix with the flour. Add the rest of the liquid and mix once more, just until everything is incorporated.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean after inserting it in the middle of the cake.
After the cake has cooled down for a few minutes, flip it on a plate or tray. Sprinkle with a good amount of powdered sugar before serving!