The story behind this cornbread
I’m Brazilian and I lived in Brazil most of my life. One of my favorite times of the year while I was living there was June, only second to Christmas. And why, you may ask? June, in some parts of Brazil, is pretty cold with the winter roaring in, and in Sao Paulo, where I’m from, June can be incredibly chilly. But it’s not because of the cold that I enjoyed June so much, since I will always prefer the hot season. But in June, we have what we call “Festas Juninas” or “Junine Festivals”. And, oh my God, they were good.
They are festivities introduced by the Portuguese during the Colonial Period and mainly celebrated on the eve of the Catholic solemnities of Saint Anthony (Santo Antonio), Saint John (São João) and Saint Peter (São Pedro).
The festival started in the Northeast of Brazil, where the climate is arid and the celebrations coincide with the end of the rainy season and they celebrate rural life. So, we feature typical clothing, typical rural food and dance. The “Quadrilha” is the typical dance and it reminds me a little bit of the barn dances in the UK.
Well, but of course, the best thing about it was the food. Peanuts, corn and warm wine are the main ingredients everywhere, but all came second to the king of foods during that period of time, corn. So many different dishes are made from corn, like “pamonha”, “cural”, cooked corn (“milho cozido”), cornbread (“bolo de milho”) and so many others.
That’s why I thought about this delicious recipe of cornbread that I simply love. You can see in the photos the recipe that came from my mum, written down in her old recipe notebook in her own handwriting. I made some adaptations to make it vegan, and used coconut milk instead of regular milk, and flax seeds instead of egg (I used the recipe from a Brazilian Blogger called Juliana Couto as inspiration). Feel free to use the eggs if you like, but the coconut milk tastes better than regular milk in this recipe.
And the recipe is naturally gluten free, since I’m using cornmeal and not wheat flour.
- 2 cups of corn (canned corn also works)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup of yellow cornmeal
- ⅓ cup of water (you don’t need water if using eggs)
- ¼ cup of oil
- 4 tablespoon of flax seeds grained in the blender or three eggs
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
Preheat the oven to 200 oC and grease a round cake pan and set it aside.
Grind the flax seeds in the blender, transfer it to a small pot and mix it with the water using a spoon and leave it to rest for 10 minutes.
In a blender, add all the other ingredients and mix it until you have a smooth batter (if you are using eggs, just add them here as well). Add the flax seeds (if using) and mix a bit more.
Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is a deep golden brown.
Pierce the cake in the middle after 30 minutes. If the fork does come out clean (no batter on it), the cake is ready.
I hope you enjoy it and let us know in the comments in case you try this cornbread.