Oktoberfest in Germany begins Saturday, September 22, 2012, and ends Sunday, October 7, 2012...

Friday, November 2, 2012

2012 Election Cake

Go Vote - and then eat cake!

Hi!    Those of you who know me are aware of my love of American history, so when I became aware of “Election Cake” and it’s origins, I determined to give it a try.   The long and short of its origin is a recipe that evolved from English yeast breads or fruit cakes, and was enjoyed by early colonists who would travel to the designated town of “muster” for militia training.  During their stay in the town they were hosted by the townsfolk.  Because this time was observed as a celebration of sorts the ladies vied to produce their best cakes to lend to the festivities.   Later, after the War of Independence, the tradition of gathering for “muster” would include elections for local and federal leadership and became known as “Election Day”.   The cake continued to be a special feature of the event, and its name evolved into “Election Cake.”    There are many variations of the cake, which can also be found under the name “Hartford Election Cake” as the housewives of the day established their reputations as socialites and hostesses on the quality of their cakes baked in brick fireplace ovens.  The cakes were apparently gigantic too.   One of the earliest recorded recipes calls for among other things “thirty quarts flour, 10 pound butter, 14 pound sugar, 12 pound raisins, 3 doz eggs, one pint wine, one quart brandy..."       Well, over the centuries the recipe has been modified to versions more or less typical of what I am sharing today.   If you have a traditional “Election Cake” recipe I would love to hear from you!   

*Note:  To really be authentic, your cake should be yeast leavened, flavored with spices, fruits or nuts and spirits (alcohol) which lends flavor and was also needed as a preservative back in the day …..

2012 Election Cake   
by Kerrie

1 heaping Tablespoon fast acting dry yeast
½ cup luke-warm water (105-115 degrees)
2 teaspoons honey
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, Room Temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
½  cup milk
3 eggs
½ cup pumpkin puree
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour Sifted
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup dried currants
½ cup chopped walnuts
¼  cup American Bourbon  (I am using Cedar Ridge Iowa Bourbon)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tablespoons browned butter
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon bourbon (I am using Cedar Ridge Iowa Bourbon)
2 Tablespoons milk (more or less)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts


First, pour ¼ cup of bourbon into a container and set aside.  This will allow some of the alcohol to evaporate and the bourbon will temper and aerate.  

Next, to a 2-cup container, add the half cup of luke-warm water.  To the water add the honey.  Then, using a plastic spoon stir the yeast into the water & honey solution.   Allow the yeast mixture to rest for about 15 minutes, or until you have a nice foamy top.

Meanwhile, to a medium size mixing bowl, sift in the flour, spices and salt.   Set aside.

Then, chop the walnuts and mix with the dried currants.   Set aside.

Now, to the bowl of a food processor add the butter, pumpkin puree and sugar.   Run on low for a few seconds to cream.  Scrape the side of the bowl.

Next, to the butter mixture add the milk, and eggs.   Run on low for a few seconds until well incorporated.

Scrape the sides of the bowl and then top the mixture with the yeast.   Be sure to scrape the sides of the yeast container to get it all in the food processor.   Run on low to incorporate.

Gradually by thirds, add dry ingredients, run on low until smooth after each addition. 

Now, add the bourbon, currant and walnuts.  Run on low for just a second to mix.

Grease and flour or spray a 9-inch tube pan or large Bundt pan with oil.  Pour mixture into prepared pan, and then using a spoon spread the batter to level.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until dough almost reaches the top, 1½ to 2 hours.  (I always place yeasted products in the microwave to rest and rise - it is a good place to avoid temperature fluctuations in the house)

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Now, place the Bundt pan over a cookie sheet and bake cake until golden brown, 40-50 minutes. 

Cool 10 minutes in pan, then loosen cake from edges with a knife. Turn out onto a cake rack and cool completely.

For glaze:   In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium high heat until browned.   Then, remove from heat.

Now, stir in the bourbon and return to the heat, bringing to a two or three second boil.  Then, remove from heat and set aside.

Then, to a small mixing bowl add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, melted brown butter and bourbon.  Using an electric mixer, mix on low until incorporated.   Then, add milk by single teaspoon increments until you have the desired consistency. 

When cake is completely cool, pour the glaze over the top.   It will run down the sides.

Then, sprinkle the finely chopped walnuts over the top of the cake.

Enjoy !!!!

1 comment:

  1. Great History lesson Kerrie and that cake looks delish!