Bake Your Election Day Cake

Election Day Is Nigh

National and midterm elections in the United States take place every two years.

Some people are glued to their television sets to follow minute-by-minute results.

Others, to avoid the stress of it all, keep their tv sets off and check the results once the drama is all over.

Take A Stroll Into The Past

If we were whisked back to colonial times, we'd find ourselves busy preparing our Election Cakes. In early America, Election Day was an important celebration, second only to Thanksgiving.

Our Puritan ancestors did not acknowledge the religious holidays of Christmas or Easter, believing they were too connected to Papist idolatry. Furthermore, to say that religious, "holy days" existed implied that other days of the year were not holy which was not acceptable to them.

Election Day, therefore, provided a rare chance to celebrate in high fashion. Parades filled the streets. People came to town from outlying areas and everyone fêted the day with religious ceremonies, dancing balls and fine food.

Election Cake Old World Recipe

I found an official Election Cake recipe from 1796. With these quantities, you’d have a lot of cake.

Election Cake:
30 quarts of flour
10 pounds butter
14 pounds sugar
12 pounds raisins
3 dozen eggs
one pint wine
one quart brandy
4 ounces cinnamon
4 ounces fine colander seed
3 ounces ground alspice
Prunes and currants

Wet flour with milk to the consistence of bread over night, adding one quart yeast;
the next morning work the butter and sugar together for half an hour, which will render the cake much lighter and whiter; when it has rise, light work in every other ingredient except the prunes, which work in when going into the oven.
— Simmons, American Cookery, 1796

Cakes of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were typically produced through soaking or sour leavening, not unlike sourdough breads. This traditional method of soaking flour in sour milk or leavening dough with sourdough starter optimized nourishment received from these foods. In a time without mass-market refrigerators, it also made use of sour milk that would otherwise have gone to waste.

Election Cakes were filled with healthy, wholesome fats such as butter and fresh eggs. The added alcohol helped with preservation of the cake. The dried fruits made it similar to our infamous fruit cakes of Christmas.

Get Out And Vote

Election Day Cakes were also a way to entice people (in the beginning, men with property) to come out and vote. They could vote and receive a slice of delectable cake. Later on, it was even a bit of a bribe to vote straight down a ticket.

Cake sustained not only the voters, but the people counting all the votes late into the night.

Vintage Election Cake For Today

We can bring the past into our present by baking our own version of an Election Cake.

What better way to celebrate or soothe your disappointment than with cake? 

If you'd like to try a modern-day version of Election Cake, here is a recipe. It has a yeast mixture that harkens back to our historical Election Cakes.

Election Cake Revival

Voting is a remarkable aspect of our heritage in the United States. With the passing of the decades, people have tended to become blasé about this privilege. Others hold the stance that you can't complain about elected officials if you didn't vote. 

How fun to honor our history of voting with a present-day revival of Election Day Cakes. We could be creative and celebrate with any cake of our choice.

Here's a bundt cake from Martha Stewart that makes a great Election Day Cake. No yeast mixture is needed. This Kentucky Bourbon Brown Butter Cake would hit the spot, whatever the voting outcome.

Baking Cake With TRT®

Students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) can use TRT® hands-on when they are baking, with the ingredients before mixing and with themselves prior to starting a recipe. 

It's also fun for students of The Second Degree of TRT® to direct energy to our history as we learn more about the past – where we've been and how that connects to where we are going. It's your own discovery process.

Celebrate your right, and privilege, to vote.

Cake brings all of us together on this wonderful day of our democratic process. Go forth and bake your cake.

See you on Election Day.