Patriotism Through Election Cake
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Election Day than with a cake. Though, any day involving cake is reason for celebration.
Today’s adventure takes us back to the 1700s, where the drama of patriotism and politics resulted in dessert bribes. It is said that Election Cakes were baked and sold only to those who voted a straight ticket. I’d like to think that today we’ve moved beyond cake rewards, but it would definitely have influenced my seven-year old self.
A yeasted loaf cake filled with spices and dried fruit, they were often spiked with Madeira wine and brandy. The alcohol served to preserve the cake and add flavor. Without all the trappings and terrible holiday associations, at its core, Election Cake is a fruitcake – a special occasion treat made, traditionally made in large quantities.
I used currants and figs, and omitted the brandy, resulting in a dense and flavorful cake that tastes more like a quick bread. It is especially good toasted with a bit of butter or cream cheese.
This throwback cake is more like a quick bread, and the perfect addition to an Election Night Party.
- 2/3 Cup Warm Water
- 4.5 Tsp Active Dry Yeast 2 packages
- 3 2/3 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
- 1 Cups Unsalted Butter, Softened Plus more for greasing pans
- 2 Eggs Beaten
- 2 Cups Light Brown Sugar Firmly Packed
- 1 Cup Buttermilk
- 1 Tsp Baking Soda
- 2 Tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 Tsp Ground Cloves
- 1/2 Tsp Mace
- 1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 1/3 Cups Currants
- 2 Cups Dried Figs Chopped
Pour warm water into large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over. Stir and then let stand for 5 minutes to let it dissolve.
Add 1 cup of flour and beat until well blended - the mixture will be quite stiff. Add the butter and beat until smooth.
Add the eggs, brown sugar, buttermilk, remaining flour (except for 1 tablespoon), baking soda, salt and spices. Beat for three minutes.
Toss the currants and figs the 1 tablespoon of flour to coat, then add to the batter and stir to mix well.
Divide batter evenly between two greased, 4.5 inch by 2.5 inch loaf pans. Cover loosely with a towel and let rest 1.5 hours.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cakes for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the center tests clean.
Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool completely.