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Election Day Cake

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Election Day Cake

Election Day Cake

CIA/Tia Mamut
In the early days of America, voters would have to travel great distances to cast their ballots. The women of the hosting towns would serve cake to the visiting voters. The Election Cake (also called Hartford Election Cakes) is a yeast-raised fruitcake first reported as early as 1771 in New England then spreading in popularity through the West in the nineteenth century. Not heavy like a true fruitcake, spices, whiskey and colorful dried fruit make this a delicious and patriotic treat.

Recipe courtesy of the Culinary Institute of America.

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruit, including cranberries, golden raisins, and blueberries
  • 1/2 cup American whiskey
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 package (3/4 ounce) rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, sifted
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) soft unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

Preparation:

Makes one 10-inch cake.

Combine 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar with the water in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-high heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place the dried fruit in a large bowl. Add the sugar mixture and whiskey; stir and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine warm water and milk.

Combine yeast with 1 cup of whole-wheat flour and combine it with the milk mixture. Sprinkle the remaining whole-wheat flour on top. Set aside to allow the yeast to ferment until the yeast breaks through the surface of the flour, approximately 30 minutes.

Lightly spray and flour an 8-inch tube pan.

Sift together the remaining dry ingredients and set aside.

Drain the fruit mixture; reserve the syrup for later use as a glaze.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and the remaining 1 cup of granulated sugar until light in texture. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition.

Turn the mixer to low speed and add the sponge (flour and yeast mixture); mix until fully combined. Add the remaining sifted dry ingredients. The batter will be stiff. Stir in the drained fruit.

Place the batter in the pan, cover, and set in a warm area to allow the cake to rise, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: In a medium-sized bowl, combine the 1 cup confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons of the syrup reserved from the drained fruit. Stir until smooth and set aside.

Bake cake in a preheated 350º F oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes and transfer cake to a wire rack to cool. When cool, lightly brush with reserved syrup, and top with glaze.

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