Sweeten Up Election Day With a Historic Cake

If one is amused to learn that the historic Election
Day cake
was akin to fruitcake, does it betray a cynical sense of humor? Back at the beginning of our great nation, when only white men had the privilege of voting and they often had to travel long distances to get to a polling place, women would bake dense loaves to fuel their journey. Somewhere between a bread and a cake, the loaves could weigh up to 10 pounds. In a 2004 article, the Washington Post suggested that this tradition explains why baked goods are frequently offered at polling places to this day.

This year, the Culinary Institute of America has updated the recipe, making a version that’s a little lighter than its historic incarnation. Instructor Alison McLoughlin demonstrates how to make the cake on video. As with fruitcake, the recipe calls for dried fruit; McLoughlin uses cranberries, golden raisins, and blueberries for patriotic color. The frosting is flavored with American whiskey. Save a little of that whiskey though: Depending on whether your candidate wins or not, you may feel like downing a little.

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