Making the Most of a Baking Mistake + Cornmeal Muffins

February 20, 2013(updated on October 18, 2023)
concave corn muffins

Earlier today, I made a mistake. I put a batch of cornmeal muffins into a preheated oven and then, inexplicably, switched off the heat. It had been a long day in the kitchen and it was my final cooking project of the afternoon (I also made creamy vegetable soup, cornbread with bacon and a big batch of chili for the freezer). I peeked at them twice as they “baked” and couldn’t figure out why they weren’t rising as they should (I wondered at one point whether I’d left out the leavening).

corn muffin

I figured it out after they’d been sitting in a cooling oven for nearly twenty minutes and quickly switched the heat back on. While they eventually baked up into serviceable muffins, they did suffer a little for the error. Instead of rising into pleasantly toasted brown domes, the muffins were completely concave in the middle.

corn muffin with jam

As I looked at my poor muffins, the thought occurred that often that people hollow out the center section of baked goods in order to fill them with frosting or fruit or pastry cream. I decided to do the same with one of the muffins. I grabbed a jar of strawberry jam from the fridge and spooned a generous scoop into the hollow. It made a nice afternoon snack and redeemed my goof nicely. I plan to eat the rest of the batch in much the same manner.

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Cornmeal Muffins


  • 1 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour whole wheat pastry flour also works
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted and cooled butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Grease a 12 cup muffin tin.
  • Sift dry ingredients together.
  • Pour milk into a 2 cup measuring cup. Add egg, melted butter and vanilla extract. Whisk.
  • Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine.
  • Portion muffin batter into prepared tin.
  • Place tin in the preheated oven and bake for 15-18 minutes.
  • Muffins are done when they are light brown and an inserted toothpick comes out mostly clean.

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17 thoughts on "Making the Most of a Baking Mistake + Cornmeal Muffins"

  • Nice save! I’ve done that before myself. The oven beeps to say “preheated” and so I turn it off. It’s reflex, like hitting the “stop” button on the microwave. 🙂

    I’ll have to remember this for next time I mess up a muffin or cupcake recipe!

  • Wanted to make chocolate sables but don’t have Dutched cocoa, so I took this recipe and added strawberry jam to the middles of mini-muffins and dark chocolate chips to a small round pan-sized version. I’m thinking this will work for dessert.

  • Nice recipe & great save. I have learnt the hard way that personally it is a bad idea to bake whilst tired or rushed. Neither will work out.

  • They look like lovely muffins even with the goof. I’ll have to try them with the oven switched on. they look like they’d be good without the vanilla as a more savoury muffin.

  • This is a great story. It’s always reassuring to hear about when other people make mistakes too. And the creative fix is inspiring!

  • I do that when I have too many things going on at once in the kitchen. I even posted today a stew where in an unthinking effort to get the kitchen cleaned up I just tossed everything (onion, celery, carrot, chicken, acorn squash) in the skillet at the same time. None of that ‘saute this, then add that’ method. Just dumped it all in. It worked, though.
    Nice save!

  • Ps. The whipped feta was awesome on fresh baked crostata with some homemade bruschetta on it! Had some this morning an a Tuscan herb bagel. It may just replace cream cheese.

    Also, went to the source and ordered some of the bee wraps..they are such a great idea and are reasonably priced. I think they will make great gifts too! Thanks as always.

  • It’s been ages since I’ve had cornbread and these look great with the jam – nice fix!

    ps. that ad at the bottom totally just took over the screen (I must have swooped over it when I put my tablet pen down). grrrrr.

  • This afternoon, I put a pan with 10 thigh/leg quarters in the oven. Fifteen minutes later, I realized I never turned on the oven. Thankfully, I had stayed in the kitchen instead of just going outside or elsewhere in the house. I, too, was exhausted. Just before that, I realized I had not put flour in the baking bag. I just did not care, but was still rattled at my forgetfulness. When I took the chicken out, I wonder what the crunchy place could be. I had somehow dumped a whole teaspoon of salt on one of the thighs. Luckily, I could just peel off the skin and be rid of the salt. sigh

  • followed the recipe for cornmeal muffins to the T…exact measurements etc, but rather than a batter I foud the mix was more like a soft dough…where did I go wrong?

    1. This recipe does make a fairly thick batter, but it should still bake up nicely into muffins. I don’t know why you encountered issues.