I know what you’re thinking. “Blueberry cornbread? Is that a thing?”
As it so happens, blueberry cornbread is officially a thing and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Cornbread is one of the many things I received an education in when I moved to the South. In my 10+ years here, there have been a number of other learning opportunities and today, I wanted to share a few fun facts about Southern culture. If you’re not from the South, my money says you may learn a thing or two, but if you’re a born and bred Southerner… well, just try not to laugh too hard at my ignorance.
- Tea, in the South, is offered two ways: sweet and sweeter. Unsweetened tea is a beverage kept around only for our Northern friends and those trying to “watch their sugar.”
- You can fry anything. I tried my first fried pork chop when I was having Sunday “dinner” (this is actually a lunch hour meal) with my husband’s family. Not surprisingly, it was delicious.
- God comes first, football is second. When I first moved to Alabama, I kept hearing people saying “ROLLLL TIDE.” It took a while to figure out why this one liner was exclaimed loudly with such frequency around here, but after unknowingly posing that question to a group of excited University of Alabama fans, I was brought up to speed. It took even longer to understand why we say “WAR EAGLE” when Auburn’s team mascot is clearly a tiger. Actually, I’m still kinda working on figuring this one out.
- Grits. Okay, so I know grit dishes are trending on menus all over New American restaurant menus now, but 10 years ago, I had never tried them even once. The South knows how to do them right, and I prefer mine thick with a healthy addition of cheese and black pepper.
- Camo is a color. My husband’s wardrobe is approximately 20% camouflage. He’s earned this right because he’s an actual hunter. I don’t always mind it, but I’m considering creating a line of hunting gear that reads Gail from “The Hunger Games.” [Insert all of the heart eyes]
- No one is too old to be called ma’am. I’m 28 years old, and I get called ma’am daily. Here, this is good manners- a sign of respect. It’s also grounds for feeling like an old lady.
- Lace is appropriate for little girls AND boys alike. Most of these delicate clothing items are handmade or have been passed down multiple generations. But to my Yankee friends: if you see a cute little one wearing an all white outfit with a scalloped lace collar, don’t assume this is a girl.
- It’s not pop or soda… it’s Coke. Yes, Coca-Cola is king in the South and if you ask your server for a “pop” around these parts, you’re likely to get chuckled at. Don’t even think about asking for a Pepsi.
- Similarly, “sneakers” are not a thing here. All athletic shoes are tennis shoes. Whether or not you’ve ever seen a tennis court has no bearing on what your shoes are called… it’s just always “tennis shoes.”
- People are nicer here. I felt kinda like a big turd when I moved to Alabama because everyone was always SO NICE. People walking down the street would smile, tip a hat, or say “hello.” We’re talking complete strangers here. When I go back home to Florida, I get weird looks when I smile and wave at people passing by, and that secretly makes me happy because who doesn’t deserve to be treated with that kind of out of the ordinary friendliness? Next time you visit the South, prepare to have your socks knocked off by kindness.
Another thing I’m learning about the South? Cornbread.
I’m really okay with this aspect of Southern cuisine. I like my cornbread buttery and fluffy, but down here, you’ll find everyone has their own spin on it. This variation, blueberry cornbread, is a more delicate, sweet confection than its savory counterparts. A little honey, a scattering of blueberries, and more than a pinch of baking powder make this bread closer to a dessert cake than a side or breakfast item. This recipe for blueberry cornbread is adapted from one of my very favorite cookbooks, “Vintage Cakes,” by Julie Richardson that features a number of Southern favorites. I love that this cornbread feels casual enough to serve for breakfast but is still decadent enough to call dessert. And the fact that is comes together in a cast iron skillet makes me feel all kinds of Southern.
I photographed this cornbread a day or two after making my favorite strawberry shortcake that we talked about a couple of weeks ago. Because I still had some leftover honey whipped cream, I added a dollop to the top of the warm cornbread and HOLD THE PHONE– It was next level. I highly recommend whipping some up while this cake is in the oven.
Blueberry cornbread is a sweet and buttery skillet cake that is perfect for your next down-home, Southern affair. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal mix
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups of blueberries
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a 10" cast iron skillet, melt the stick of butter over medium-low heat just until melted. Swirl butter in the pan to grease the sides and bottom and then set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, pour the butter and stir to combine with the honey. Add the eggs and buttermilk and whisk together to combine.
- Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
- Fold in half (1 cup) of blueberries and pour batter back into the skillet.
- Sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the top of the batter and finally, sprinkle the brown sugar over the batter.
- Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out nearly clean with just a few moist crumbs.
- Allow to cool slightly and serve with honey whipped cream (see link in text above), if desired.
- Be sure you are using a 10" skillet. This batter will bake out of the pan if you use one that is too small.
- If your edges begin to brown too quickly before the center is becoming adequately baked through, tent the edges with a bit of aluminum foil to protect them from additional heat.
- This cake will keep for 2-3 days at room temperature but is best eaten the day it is made.