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This delicious recipe was posted to the Cast Iron Cooking group by one of its moderators. I've shouted loud and long about my New England heritage, but until this was posted to the group, I'd never heard of spider cake! Heather wrote on January 6, 2016: "So named for the 'spider' cast iron skillets they used to be baked in. It's a sweet cornmeal cake, but right before you slide it into the oven you pour one cup of heavy cream into the center of the batter. It settles into three layers as it bakes, with a spongy cake on the bottom, a crusty top layer, and sandwiched in the middle is a beautiful creamy layer of custard. It looks and tastes fancy, but it's no more difficult than a pan of cornbread to make, and all of the ingredients are likely already in your pantry! The recipe recommends serving with maple syrup, but I chose blueberry syrup for mine. "
Pans needed: 10-inch cast iron skillet. Two large bowls to mix wet and dry ingredients.
Place dry cast iron skillet in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
While the oven is heating, combine the milk and vinegar in a bowl and set aside to curdle (wait 5 to 10 minutes – you'll see the milk get lumpy). If you are using buttermilk, you don't need to wait; you can add the buttermilk when mixing the batter.
In another bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
Whisk eggs into the curdled milk (or buttermilk). Stir into dry ingredients and set batter aside.
When the oven (and the cast iron skillet) reach 350 degrees F, melt the butter in the pan, spreading it around with a fork or spatula. Be sure to spread the butter along the sides as well as the bottom, as it melts. When the butter has melted, pour the batter into the pan. Don't wait for the pan to cool off. Pour the cream into the center, then immediately place the pan into the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown. The hot pan will properly cook the underside of the cake. The result will be a bottom layer that is fluffy and moist all the way to the bottom; but it's not soggy. And it doesn't stick!
Slice into wedges and serve warm, with maple syrup if you'd like.
In answer to the question, "why is this called 'spider cake?'" This cake was originally baked in the fireplace or over coals, in a cast iron spider like this:
– Recipe based upon original recipe on food52.com: A Creamy Cornbread Cake That Needs Nothing Else