Cornpone vs. Cornbread.
Cornbread baked in a round skillet without dairy or eggs is most accurately referred to as cornpone. The difference is important.
2½ cups cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1⅔ cups water
¼ cup bacon fat or butter in a pinch
Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in your oven and preheat the oven to 475°F.
Mix together the cornmeal, salt, and sugar. Stir in the water.
Place the bacon fat in the hot cast-iron skillet and let it melt. Do it quickly, don’t let it go longer than it takes to barely melt. You don’t want it to burn.
Spoon the cornmeal mixture into the bottom of your pan and spread it out to the edges. The hot fat will bubble up around the sides and start to fry at the edges. Using a spoon, move some of that fat to the center top portion of the cornbread.
Bake the cornpone on the center rack of your oven for 15 minutes. Now for the bit tricky part, bring it out and, using a spatula, flip it over. Slide the pan back in the oven and cook an additional 10 minutes.
The cornpone should be brown with thick, crisp edges.