I was intrigued by a recipe for Spider Cornbread in a hundred-year-old cookbook. What an unusual name! After doing a little research, I discovered that Spider Cornbread is a regional food that is eaten in New English and some other sections of the U.S.
Spider Cornbread has a creamy middle layer that is made by pouring milk on top of the batter after the has been poured into the skillet that will be used to cook the cornbread.
The verdict: The Spider Cornbread was tasty, though the creamy layer wasn’t very thick. I baked the Spider Cornbread in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. If I made it again, I’d use a slightly smaller skillet – maybe a 10-inch skillet. This would result in a thicker cornbread and a thicker creamy layer.
Here is the original recipe:
Is “cornbread”, one word or two? I think that it’s one word, but see that the old recipe makes it two words – corn bread. Maybe the two word version is an older way of writing cornbread.
When I made this recipe, I reduced the salt by a small amount, and used 3/4 teaspoon rather than the 1 teaspoon called for in the original recipe.
Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:
1 tablespoon shortening
1 cup milk + 3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease a 10 – 12 inch cast iron skillet; with the shortening; then put skillet into oven while it is preheating.
In the meantime, put egg in mixing bowl and beat; add 1 cup milk and beat. Add sugar cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder; beat to combine. Remove skillet from oven and pour batter into it. Pour the remaining 3/4 cup of milk on top of the batter, but do not stir. Return skillet to oven, and bake for approximately 25 minutes. When a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, the cornbread is done. Removed from oven and cut into triangles.
22 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Spider Cornbread”
I grew up with this dish, but we called it spider cake. I have my mom’s recipe on my blog. We adored it and thought of it as magic when the cream layer formed! I still make it, now for my grandkids!
For readers who would like to see Dorothy’s Spider Cake recipe here’s the link:
It looks wonderful.
Thanks! And thank you for linking to my recipe!
OK, why is it called spider? With that name, I know I would not have eaten it when I was young. I refused to eat Shoo Fly Pie as I was sure it was made from shoes and flies.
It is called a spider because originally it was baked in a cast-iron pan called a “spider” because it had legs on the bottom to hold it up over the coals of the fire.
Thanks for the explanation. I learned something new.
I learn something every day on WP!
Interesting because a kitchen spider now a strainer like spoon is used to deep fry things
Yes, that is what most people think of as a kitchen spider these days!
I had the same question.
Interesting recipe. Will have to give it a try.
I think that you’d like it.
This sounds delicious!! I’m making a roasted chicken and this would be a wonderful accompaniment.
It’s a nice cornbread.
I have eaten a lot of cornbread in my lifetime, but not sure I have ever heard of this option with the creamy custard layer. I do enjoy the information on how recipes came to be, and appreciate how cooking was more difficult when doing it over hot coals on the fireplace or wood-burning stove!
Cooks sure needed a broad range of skills many years ago to successfully prepare a meal.
This sounds wonderful! I love cornbread! I’ll have to give it a try ! The weather looks like it’s going to be cooler this weekend,about time then for some chili soup and cornbread.
Chili and cornbread sound wonderful.
By the way.. it was good!😋
I saw that an earlier comment explained the name spider. I was about to do the same thing!
It’s amazing that this type of cornbread once had it’s own special pan. It must have been a popular food.