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By November 3, 2020 Read More →

Election Cake

Early election days in this country were a day of celebrating. For Americans it was considered a revered holiday, a time to celebrate their right to cast their vote. Sadly not everyone was granted that right but some still found ways to join in on the festive event.

Even if you didn’t get to vote, a right originally given only to white, male landowners, you could still share in the communal cake baked especially for this day. And the baking of the cakes gave women a chance to be part of the day.

Voting was important to people. In the early 1800s, 80% of the eligible voters participated in the election. (Voter turnout in recent US presidential elections is at best in the low sixtieth percentile.) Considering many early 19th century voters would have had to travel long distances by horse or wagon, going to cast your vote was no simple task. But the good news was they could count on a delicious piece of Election Cake when they reached their destination.

In Amelia Simmon’s 1800 cookbook called American Cookery she gives a recipe for Election Cake. Some of the ingredients for this sweet bread are listed as 30 quarts of flour, 10 pounds of butter, 14 pounds sugar, 12 pounds of raisins, and 3 dozen eggs. Obviously this cake was meant to feed a crowd!

By the early 20th century baking and serving Election Cake had gone out of fashion. Maybe it’s time to bring Election Cake back again and to celebrate our right to vote.

Since most of us won’t be baking for a crowd, here is a modified recipe for you. Enjoy your cake and your right to vote!

Election Cake

1 pkg. yeast mixed with 1/2 cup of warm water and 2 teaspoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened 
1/2 cup sugar 
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
1/4 pound of currants or raisins
1/2 cup milk, or more

1. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and beat some more. 
2. Add yeast mixture and blend well.
3. Stir in 2 cups flour and beat 1 minute.
4. Combine dried fruit with 1 1/2 cups flour and add to rest. Add enough milk to make a soft yet kneadable dough. Batter will be stiff and may need to be worked by hand.
5. Sprinkle remaining flour on board and knead dough for 10 minutes.
6. Put dough in a greased 5” x 9” loaf pan or an 8”pie pan. Cover pan with a cloth and place dough in a warm place for 3-5 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.