I have been withholding this recipe for far too long, and for that I apologize. But I make no apologies for what will result from following the recipe below. Absolutely none.
Everyone has their own version of cornbread. Some are sweet, some are cheesy. Some are spicy and dotted with jalapenos, and some are just plain corny, with whole kernels bursting throughout. I am personally a fan of the sweet variety. Anything you can do to enhance the natural sweetness of corn makes me a happy camper. And while this cornbread is certainly sweet, it’s got a sassy little personality of its own.
This, my friends, is a Lemon Nutmeg Cornbread.
This is classic Sweet Cornbread’s sophisticated, more interesting cousin. Lemon Nutmeg Cornbread can hang with all the usual suspects (Chili, Stroganoff, or Stew), but has enough presence to stand out from the crowd. She’s not just eye-candy accompaniment at the party, she’s a favored guest.
She’s one of those ladies that has more going on inside than you expect when you first see her. Sure, that crackly sugary exterior gives you a hint, but the rich brown sugar sweetness is a surprise to your tongue. And then there’s the brightness of the lemon, the spice of the nutmeg, the tender crumbly crumb. She’s one stop shoppin’ here.
(Ahem, I do realize we’re talking about a baked good. Just wanted to remind you too. Bad things can happen when people get confused.)
My favorite part of this recipe, though, may be that it just works. I initially wrote it when I had a bag of Bob’s Red Mill GF Cornmeal on hand. Bob’s cornmeal is a bit on the coarse side, which resulted in a cornbread with crunchy little bits of meal in every bite. It was delicious. Then I ran out and found myself with only a bag of Arrowhead Mills’ cornmeal to work with. I opened it up and found it to be a fine, floury cornmeal. Uh oh. I tried it anyway. And you know what? It came out great. The result was a softer, slightly more cake-like cornbread, but with the same wonderful flavor as it’s predecessor. If you forced me to choose, I think I’d say I prefer the latter. Both are excellent, though, so there’s no need to fret over the texture of your cornmeal, just use whatever you have on hand.
And here’s another note: I like coconut oil for this recipe. In fact, I’ve come to like coconut oil in most of my baked goods. I don’t use the virgin stuff (with the full realization that I probably should) because I’m terrified of imbuing all of my baked goods with a tropical, piña colada twist. The refined (I know, cringe word) oil is flavorless and produces wonderfully light results. This being said, I’ve also found—at least in my recipes thus far—that butter can be substituted one-to-one for coconut oil, and vice versa. They’re both smooth, creamy fats that are solid at room temperature and either works equally well in this recipe. So again, use what you prefer or have on hand.
Now that I’ve laid it all out there, I think it’s high time I introduced you two. It’s just wrong to keep her to myself like this. She’s so special. So downright good. She’s become my go-to cornbread. And while I won’t say that I’m never the jealous type, I think I can manage to share.
Lemon Nutmeg Cornbread
1 cup cornmeal
½ cup almond flour
½ cup sorghum flour
¼ cup potato starch
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup coconut oil (or butter)
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
1 cup milk (non-dairy milks work well also)
Zest of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 350.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, almond flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, baking powder, xanthan gum, nutmeg and salt.
In a medium bowl, cream together the coconut oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and beat to combine. Whisk in the milk and lemon zest.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Pour the batter into a greased 9” round cake pan. Sprinkle generously with granulated sugar (this is purely optional, but necessary for a crunchy, sugary top–i.e. my favorite part) and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is crusty and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.