Most of the recipes that I have found for corn bread use milk or vigorous stirring as the leaven. I am not good at those methods. Here is one that I have found for plain corn bread. This is not a sweet corn bread as there is no sugar or other sweetener added. It is also not savory as there are no herbs or seasoning.
From the Cook Book 1855
"CORN BREAD 1 lb corn meal, 1 tablespoonful butter, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoonsful of cream tartar, and 1 of soda, and mix with milk to be a thick batter. Mix the cream of tartar with the meal, mix soda in a little milk and do not add it until you are ready to pour it into the pan to bake. Grease your pans well."
There were several references as to what corn bread should be cooked in. Some called for a round cake tin and others described more of a bread pan type. I prefer to use a round cake tin.
Modern Translation: Pre-heat the oven to 350. Have ready 2 overly buttered cake tins. Beat together 2 tsp cream of tartar, 1 lb corn meal, 1 Tbs butter, 2 eggs, 1 tsp soda and 1.5-2 cups milk. The mixture should be a thick batter. The milk should be added 1/2 cup at a time. Pour half of the batter in each tin. Bake for 45 minutes. Check doneness with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, it's done. The corn bread should be pulling away from the sides of the pan. Let it rest for a moment, loosen the edges with a heat resistant spatula, turn out on a cooling rack. Once it is totally cooled, slice in wedges.
If the tins are not buttered enough, it will stick. You could also butter and flour the tins if you like or use paper in the bottom of your pan. This second method is what I will most likely do the next time I make this.
I do not care for the taste of this cornbread, plain. I can only eat it smothered with thick cream butter. Personally, I like modern sweet corn bread. However, I think that would be more like mid-century corn cakes.