My cornbread cake has all of the rich, buttery flavor of freshly baked cornbread, but with the moist, fluffy texture of a deliciously sweet cake. Prepared with a hint of cornmeal in the batter, along with a generous pour of buttermilk and drizzle of sweet honey, this delectable cornbread cake is topped with a thick layer of salted honey butter frosting!
When Fresh Cornbread Meets Sweet, Fluffy Cake
There's just something so utterly inviting about freshly baked cornbread, with its warm, slightly nutty aroma and bright yellow crumb, isn't there?
As the cornbread bakes in the oven, the fragrance fills the kitchen...
In our home, we become so very eager to slice off that first little square to bite into while it's still fresh-out-of-the-oven hot. We love to slather it with softened butter, a drizzle of honey, plus a pinch of salt. Sheer bliss!
Because I really enjoy experimenting with desserts and cakes, creating fun twists, I decided to turn classic cornbread into a cornbread cake.
I wanted to give it a light, extra fluffy, and wonderfully moist texture kissed with a touch more sweetness, absolutely brimming with that warm, buttery corn flavor.
And because a moist and gloriously decadent cake absolutely needs a rich and creamy frosting to tie everything together, I decided to use our favorite cornbread topping combo of salted butter and honey as my guide, and whipped up a deliciously decadent salted honey butter frosting to slather over top!
This cornbread cake recipe is one of our favorite cakes and is a terrific pick during the bright and sunny season when we crave cornbread, but with a moist, fluffy, and slightly sweeter twist!
My Cornbread Cake with Salted Honey Butter Frosting
Preparing this yummy cornbread cake is very similar to preparing classic cornbread, but with a few extra ingredients that give this baked treat more of a moist, fluffy texture of a cake.
I like to bake this cake as two, single layer 8” cakes which I only frost the tops of, instead of building it as a layer cake.
This happens to be my personal preference, as I find it easier to frost, often just frosting one cake round at a time if there's only a couple of us at home enjoying it, saving the other for later.
But both cakes can certainly be frosted (especially if you plan on serving more people), or you can even make this as a layer cake, if that's what you prefer.
As for my ingredients, I use softened butter for flavor, lots of fresh buttermilk for richness and a tender “crumb”, plus a generous drizzle of honey for sweetness, along with some sugar, plus a hefty pour of vanilla.
I also like to add some medium grind cornmeal into my dry ingredients, which I lightly toast in a small pan for 1-2 minutes just until it releases its slightly warm and nutty aroma. This offers a bit of texture, and reinforces that delicious corn flavor.
The frosting is very simple to prepare, made with butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, honey, and a good pinch of salt—the perfect balance of sweet with a hint of savory!
Here's sneak peek at my cornbread cake recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I toast my cornmeal for a moment or two in a dry pan, and allow it to cool. Then, I add it to a bowl, and whisk in the remainder of my dry ingredients.
- Next, using my stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, I cream my room temp, softened butter for a moment or two until fluffy, then add in my sugar, followed by my eggs, vanilla, and honey.
- I then alternate adding in my dry ingredients with my buttermilk, until the batter comes together, taking care not to over mix the batter.
- Next, the batter is evenly distributed between two, 8” cake pans, and baked for roughly 32-34 minutes, or until a tester skewer comes out clean and the cake layers are baked.
- While the cakes bake, I prepare my salted honey butter frosting.
- To finish the cornbread cake, I allow both cake rounds to completely cool before frosting one or both of them (depending on how many people I'm serving), and then slice and enjoy.
by Ingrid Beer
Deliciously moist, this cornbread cake has the aroma of fresh cornbread, slathered generously with a rich, salted honey butter frosting!
Yield: Serves 16
Nutrition Info: 373 calories per slice
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 32 minutes
Total time: 47 minutes
Cornbread Cake Ingredients:
- ½ cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs, room temp
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temp
Salted Honey Butter Frosting Ingredients:
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temp
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your cornbread cake ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Preheat the oven to 350°, and line two 8” cake pans with parchment, and spray with cooking spray.
- Add the cornmeal to a small saute pan, and place over medium heat. Toast the cornmeal, stirring it constantly, for about 1 – 2 minutes, or just until it begins to become warmed with a nutty, corn aroma. Remove from pan, and pour into a medium-large bowl to cool for about 5 minutes.
- After the cornmeal has cooled slightly, add to it the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and the salt, and whisk to blend everything well. Set these dry ingredients aside for a moment.
- To the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and cream that by itself until it becomes fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes; next, add in the sugar, and continue creaming until the mixture becomes fluffy, about 3 more minutes.
- Add in the eggs one at a time, allowing each to fully incorporate before adding in the next.
- Then, add in the vanilla and the honey, and continue mixing until incorporated.
- Next, alternate the dry ingredients with the buttermilk, beginning with about ⅓ of the dry ingredients (allow those to completely incorporate), then half of the buttermilk (allow that to completely incorporate), then another ⅓ of the dry, then the rest of the buttermilk, finishing finally with the remainder of the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined, taking care not to over-mix.
- Pour the batter as evenly as possible between the two prepared cake pans, and bake for about 32 to 34 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; then, allow the cakes to rest in their pans for 10 minutes before turning out to completely cool.
- While the cake rounds bakes, gather and prep your ingredients for your salted honey butter frosting according to the list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To prepare the frosting, add all of the ingredients into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whip attachment, and whip on medium-high or high speed until they come together and become very fluffy and light, about 2-3 minutes (at first the mixture may seem a bit crumbly, but it will become fluffy as you whip).
- Use immediately, or keep covered in the fridge until ready to use, at which point you can re-whip the frosting until light and fluffy again.
- Once the cake rounds have cooled, frost the tops generously with the salted honey butter frosting, and serve as single layer cakes. Or, frost the tops and stack onto each other to create a layer cake. (You can also freeze one of layers, if desired, by wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and freezing it. Then simply thaw at room temp and frost.)
Tips & Tidbits for my Cornbread Cake recipe:
- Medium grind cornmeal, for texture: If you can, opt for medium grind cornmeal as part of the dry ingredients in this tasty cake. It offers a bit of added texture, and is easier to toast and make aromatic. If you happen to already have cornmeal on hand and it is a finer grind, then no worries—feel free to substitute that.
- Buttermilk for richness and tender crumb: Seeing as buttermilk is an ingredient often incorporated into a traditional cornbread recipe, I'm using that in this cornbread cake in place of milk. Buttermilk offers more flavor and nice richness, plus it helps to create a nice, moist, tender crumb for the this cake.
- Room temperature ingredients: Make sure that you are allowing any refrigerated items such as butter, eggs, and buttermilk to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on how warm your kitchen is) before you begin preparing your cake. This is a rule of thumb for pretty much all baking, as it helps all of the ingredients more easily incorporate into the batter.
- Prepare both layers of the cake, or freeze one for later: I really appreciate serving this cake as individual 8” layers, each frosted separately, then sliced and served. I typically will only frost one layer if I'm serving only 2-4 of us, and freeze the other layer for later. But if you're planning on serving more than 4 people, you can absolutely frost both layers and serve separately, or even make a single layer cake out them.
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2015, and has been updated with even more love!