Chilli Corn Bread with Red Pepper

Mistake! It happened while mixing a cake and simultaneously preparing hummus with red bell pepper and onion at 6:30 in the morning. For some mysterious reason, I felt like making a less “sugary” cake, so in went less sugar –  and more salt – than usual. The aromas of almond and vanilla were floating at the corner of my mind, but I just couldn’t decide which. It was still too early for my brain to function efficiently.

As I pondered the next step, the butter and sugar were sitting idly in their mixing bowl. In the meantime, I turned around to stir the red peppers and onions that were gently caramelizing on the stove. They were ready to go. I picked up the frying pan, and accidentally tossed the lot into the cake mixture. Oh no! So I carefully picked them out, hoping the cake would not pick up the flavour, and rinsed them off – only to put them back in again. Hallo!? Where did my awareness go today? Or was it just a bad – or serendipitous – case of mindlessness?

After a moment of disbelief that I’d just made the same mistake twice, I considered that perhaps the universe was trying to tell me something? And it was. THIS is what happened, a simply wonderful mistake…corn bread with roasted bell peppers. Um um 🙂


½ red onion
½ red bell pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

125 g (½ cup) butter
85 g (⅓ cup) sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon chilli powder
Dash smoked paprika powder
2 eggs
125 ml (½ cup) buttermilk (or combine equal parts of yogurt and milk)
150 g (¾ cup) sweet corn
50 g (½ cup) grated cheese

250 g (1½ cups) fine cornmeal
75 g (½ cup) flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

  • Peel and small-dice the red onion.
  • Deseed and small-dice the bell pepper.
  • In a frying pan on low-medium flame, heat up the olive oil, then stir in the red onion and bell pepper. Slowly sauté until they are deeply caramelized.
  • Preheat the oven to 190 °C (375 °F) and line and grease a 25 cm (10”) square cake tin.
  • Soften the butter and beat in the sugar, salt, chilli powder, and smoked paprika powder.
  • Next, beat in one egg at a time until combined, then the buttermilk.
  • Stir in the fried peppers and onions, grated cheese and sweet corn
  • In a separate bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour and baking powder.
  • Cut and fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients using a large metal spoon or firm spatula, or beat for a few seconds with an electric beater until just combined for about 15-20 seconds. Take care not to over mix. Finish by reaching into the bottom of the bowl with a few folds of a spatula.
  • Drop the batter into the cake tin, level out, and bake for about 30–40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the bread..
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then lift out and place on a wire rack.
  • Serve sliced into squares with butter.

4 thoughts on “Chilli Corn Bread with Red Pepper

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