Spider Cake (New England Skillet Corncake) Recipe

Alexandra Penfold

The outside of the Spider Cake gets golden brown and slightly crisp in the oven while the inside stays tender. One of the unique attributes of the Spider Cake as opposed to your garden-variety cornbread is the thin stripe of creamy custard that forms in the center of the cake as it cooks.

For a more decadent version of Spider Cake try this version that ran in the New York Times and New York Times Cookbook. It adds a cup of heavy cream at the very end for a richer ribbon of cream in the center of the cake. This recipe is adapted from "Susie's Spider Cake" recipe that appears in the 1918 edition of The Boston Cooking-School Book by Fannie Farmer Merritt.

Recipe Facts



Active: 10 mins
Total: 40 mins
Serves: 12 servings

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  • 1 1/4 cups yellow corn meal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Set oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl mix cornmeal, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl beat together eggs and buttermilk until well-beaten then gradually add to cornmeal mixture.

  2. Heat frying-pan over high heat. Add butter and let melt, swirling around to grease the sides and bottom of pan. Quickly pour batter into the pan. Bake until cake is golden brown and springy to touch, about 20 minutes

Special equipment

10-inch cast iron skillet

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