Doug Melkovitz thought he might be sitting on an award-winning recipe: His mother's cornbread was always a hit with friends, and he had improved on it with bacon and jalapenos. But entering a competition - and cooking for thousands - freaked him out and kept him from entering year after year. "What finally made me do it was coming up with a team," Doug says. He and friends Patrick Cowan and Cassie Toro formed a crew, Men Do It Batter With a Girl, and the trio took top honors.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
Put the bacon in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet; set over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is browned and crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the fat in the skillet.
Add the diced onion to the hot skillet and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Transfer the onion and garlic to a separate plate and set aside. Keep the skillet over low heat.
Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, honey and jalapenos in another large bowl; add the onion and garlic and whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until combined (do not overmix).
Brush the bottom and side of the skillet with the fat left in it (add a pat or two of butter if there's not enough). Carefully add the batter (it should sizzle) and sprinkle the bacon evenly on top. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the top is deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.