Savory Spicy Corn Cake

This cheesy quick bread, inspired by French cake salé, has the tenderness of a muffin but the savory saltiness of a cheesy appetizer or spicy snack. This untraditional version features both fresh sweet corn and Organic Masa Harina (for double the corn flavor), sharp cheddar cheese, and garlic oil for even more depth of flavor. Slice it up to enjoy alongside a salad or bowl of chili, griddled as a morning snack, or just piece by piece.

20 mins
50 mins to 1 hr
1 hr 20 mins
one loaf
Savory Spicy Corn Cake - select to zoom
Savory Spicy Corn Cake - select to zoom
Savory Spicy Corn Cake - select to zoom
Savory Spicy Corn Cake - select to zoom


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  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and position a rack in the center of the oven. Lightly grease a tea loaf or 9" x 5" pan

  2. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and baking soda.

  3. Add the cheese, 3/4 cup (114g) of the corn, jalapeño, and pimentos. Toss to combine.

  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the masa harina and water; the mixture will be thick.

  5. Add the buttermilk to the masa harina mixture and whisk until combined. Then add the garlic oil and eggs and continue whisking until smooth.

  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently fold together until evenly moistened. The mixture will be very thick.

  7. Transfer to the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup (38g) corn over the top of the savory corn cake. 

  8. Bake the savory corn cake for about 50 to 55 minutes for a tea loaf pan or 55 to 60 minutes for a 9" x 5" pan. The savory cake is done when it’s set in the middle and a paring knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

  9. Remove the savory corn cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve at room temperature.

  10. Storage information: Store leftover savory corn cake covered, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Masa harina (translation: dough flour) is flour made from corn that’s been soaked in a solution of slaked lime (nixtamalized) to loosen its hull and soften it, which improves its texture and helps release its nutrients. The soaked corn is ground into a paste (masa), dried, and then ground again, this time into a fine flour. Due to the corn’s special treatment, neither cornmeal nor corn flour are good substitutes for masa harina.

  • We love the added dimension of corn flavor that the masa harina adds, but you can also make this recipe without it. Omit the masa harina and water from the recipe above and increase the all-purpose flour to 2 3/4 cups (330g); bake as directed.  

  • To make savory muffins: Lightly grease the wells of two standard muffin pans, then use a scone or muffin scoop to portion the batter into the prepared wells; an additional 1/4 cup (38g) corn will be needed to sprinkle across the tops of the muffins. Bake at 350°F for 18 to 22 minutes, until the muffins test done. 

  • Baking gluten-free? Use an equal amount of King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour in place of the all-purpose flour and add an additional 1/4 cup (57g) buttermilk. For best results, bake the gluten-free version in a tea loaf pan or as muffins.