The earliest mention of this luscious, yeasted coffee cake is in Amelia Simmons American Cookery in 1796. The roots of this cake are no doubt; British for the yeasted batter and dried fruit and nut additions are dead giveaways. More recent versions of this cake call for baking powder but the original Election Day Cake was rather like a kutchen or bubka – a slightly sweet, buttery, yeasted cake.
This is definitely claimed by New England as far as its ancestry on this side of the Atlantic goes, and more precisely, it has been called Hartford Election Cake (just ask the Connecticut Historical Society- they will be delighted to fill you in). Years and years ago this cake was served by politicians (right – I can just see it) to men who voted a straight party ticket. On Election Day, hostesses baked Election Cakes as big as 12 pounds and vied for the honor of best cake baker in this genre.
These days, the ladies who work the electoral offices are less likely to be serving, let alone, baking Election Cake but if current events and pending voting has you stressed, baking is just the ticket. I removed the citron and dried orange peel – I modified the spices here and kept the New England spin but with dried cranberries and hints of orange zest. The icing is butter, corn syrup and a touch more of orange. And…there is no knead to knead this quite a long as a regular yeasted bread. It is more of a yeasted batter you pour into the pan. The result is a lofty, buttery, yeasted coffee cake that is super fresh, or toasted and just what you want, the day of, or the morning after, a big event. This is an amalgamation of the best of Election Cake recipes into one definitive cake that does not need a recount.
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Hi there, fellow home and pro baker and fan of