Before moving to Colorado, I had my cornbread recipe down. With a little help from my friend Martha White, I could whip up her recipe on a weeknight in no time flat. When I moved to Colorado, I knew my baking skills were about to be put to the test. Fort Collins sits at 5,003 feet and I found that my cakes tend to sink in the middle and be raw. Cookies either won’t spread at all or are completely flat. Unfortunately, a lot of my tried and true recipes would have to undergo some adjustments in order to work so I started doing some research on high-altitude baking. In general, most recipes use less baking soda, a little more liquid and a little more flour. Adding acidity can also help the outcome of your bake so with something like cornbread, it’s a no brainer to use buttermilk.
When it comes to cornbread, people have different preferences. I grew up eating jiffy corn muffins and sweet cornbread that was made in a sheet pan that had a cakelike texture. My husband grew up eating cornbread that was made in a cast iron skillet with crispy edges and no sugar. The first couple of years of marriage I would always make two separate batters - one sweet, the other un-sweet. I quickly got tired of the extra work and decided to compromise. I now make my cornbread unsweetened but I slather some butter and honey on top to satisfy my sweet tooth.
I would venture to say that most people don’t like completely dry, crumbly cornbread unless you’re making thanksgiving stuffing (maybe I’m wrong). While I want some crumble, I don’t like it completely devoid of all moisture with the texture of sand. This recipe is a perfect balance of buttery, crisp bottom and edges with a moist, cake-like center that crumbles when putting it on top of soups or beans. If that doesn’t sound like your slice of cornbread, this recipe might not be for you.
It took me about six months to get this recipe right so without further ado, here it is for your enjoyment! If you live at sea level, you can still enjoy this recipe as I’ve noted the adjustments below the recipe card.