Election Day Cake

Americans have always celebrated our elections, and it seems logical that our traditional election day cakes are based on the old British yeast-raised holiday fruitcakes. Since the recipe evolved in the dour kitchens of New England, the lavish libations of brandy the Brits employed were foregone, but don’t let that stop you from dribbling a soupçon of good bourbon over this cake before frosting.

In a large bowl, mix two packets of yeast into a cup and a half of warm water. Stir in a tablespoon of sugar and a cup and a half of plain flour, mix until smooth, cover and let work until bubbly, about half an hour. In another bowl cream one and a half sticks soft butter with a cup of sugar. Use a whip to fluff the mix well, then sift in about two and a half cups flour with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a half teaspoon each of ground clove, ginger, and nutmeg. A few drops of almond extract is a nice touch. Add two beaten eggs to the bubbly yeast mixture, then gradually combine with the seasoned flour blend. Mix until smooth, and stir in a half cup of raisins, a half cup chopped dates, and a half cup chopped pecans. Pour into a tube pan that’s been well coated with cake oil (a paste of one part shortening, one part vegetable oil, and one part plain flour). Cover and let rise in a warm place for about two hours, bake at 375 for one hour, and cool before drizzling with a confectioner’s sugar glaze.

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