In colonial days, election days were very much celebrated. Celebration included speeches, parades, and festive food. Of course, celebration is synonym of good food. One of the most characteristic foods was a cake full of raisins and candied citrus peel, very much in the British tradition of fruit cakes.
- Heat the milk until close to boiling point. You can stop when steam comes from the pan. Pour the milk into a large bowl.
- Put the warm water into the measuring cup and sprinkle in the yeast; no need to stir. Let stand until foam comes out, about 5 minutes. Add to the milk.
- Add whole wheat flour to the milk mixture. Mix until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand in a warm place for about 1 hour, the batter will rise and bubbles will appear.
- Grease a cake pan with butter.
- Sift all-purpose flour, salt, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, and cloves. Reserve for later.
- In another large bowl, cream the margarine and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly. Stir in now the batter previously let to rise.
- Add the dry ingredients gradually, mixing every time until well blended and smooth. You should get a thick batter.
- Stir in the dried fruit pieces, raisins, candied peel, and almond slivers.
- Turn the mixture into the greased pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for about 2 hours in a warm place.
- When the dough is almost ready, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake on the middle shelf for 50-55 minutes.
- Allow it to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before taking the cake out. Let it cool completely before serving.
Food in USA, New England
A wooden spoon works best to mix the batter and dough.
You can use margarine or vegetable shortening instead of butter to grease the pan, or, the quickest way to do it, cooking oil spray.
The inside of the microwave can be a good spot to let the cake dough rise. No drafts there!
For this size, use a 10-inch cake pan. The cake dough will be ready for baking when it almost reaches the top of the pan.
Use your favorite dried fruits for the filling: prunes, apricots, cranberries, blueberries, whatever you like.
Election Day cake belongs to the history of Connecticut. A recipe for a crowd size Election Cake appeared in Amelia Simmons cookbook, probably the first USA cookbook, printed around 1796. For many years, colonial women would boast about the quality of their cakes, later, the reputation of housewives as excellent hostesses would be based on the excellence of their cakes. Election Days have lost their festive appeal, but this cake has not. It has to be for a special day, though, as it takes long to prepare.