Nutty Boozy Election Cake Without Yeast is a Warm Group Hug

Modern Sweet Election Cake made w baking powder by bakethiscake

We need some love right now, all of us. A big group hug. And we’re thinking we all deserve a comfy-cozy sweet and buttery Election Cake sprinkled through with pecans and a medley of dried fruit soaked in spiced rum.  Okay, admittedly, the liquor in this cake kicks up the chill-out factor. In fact, this little darlin’ can be dolloped with a Boozy Buttercream Frosting before we top off the night with Hot Buttered Rum or Spiked Election Punch. All that boozy theme. Did you notice? But, come on. The run-up to this political season has given us all such a headache.

Serving Buttery Rum Election Cake made with baking powder by bakethiscake

No Slow Rise: It’s a week night and there’s work to be done or school to attend so we’ve decided to steer clear of traditional colonial era Election Cake recipes that start with proofing an overnight yeasted dough and result in a bread-like cake. And, um, those old-style election cakes may be rich in history but they’re not always that great (with some excellent exceptions that we’ll bring to you in the future). So this cake will come as a sweet surprise dessert.
Tasting the sweet modern rum election cake by bakethiscake

Go Women Voters! The women get to vote now, yeah, so they don’t need to be “kept busy” in the kitchen “doing their part” or worrying the night before the election day if their cake will rise in the morning. (Maybe it’s not such a coincidence that by 1920, when the 19th amendment was ratified, Election Cake baking fervor had died down.)

Women’s suffragists demonstrate in February 1913

There’s Always A Controversy: Although historians fiercely disagree on “the” recipe for the “true” Election Cake, one thing is clear, there are scads of Election Cake recipes on the web that vary wildly.  See Amelia Simmons’ recipe in the 2nd edition of her “American Cookery” book (one of the first American cookbooks) published the same year as her 1st edition in 1796. BTW, that was the first year that President Washington determined not to run again for the presidency – so that election was a big test of peaceful democracy.

George Washington during the French and Indian War.

Early Election Type Cakes: Or look for Fannie Farmer Merritt’s 1911 version in “The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book”.  The early Election Cakes are a cross between bread (or breakfast rolls) and a light fruit cake and not very sweet. Earlier than that, these purpose-driven cakes from England might be based on a Queens Cake or early 19th Century Muster Cakes (to sustain new military soldiers). Other cake names you might find along these lines are: Federal Cake, Hartford Election Cake, Washington Cake, Jefferson Cake, Harrison Cake, Inauguration Cake, Oak Cake and Training Cake (an early name for Election Day).

The greater coat of arms of the United States of America

Modern Election Cake Rise Up – With Baking Powder: This Modern Election Cake (based on vintage 50’s style Election Cakes) offers up a fluffy-moist and buttery texture that is dappled with our favorite mix of chopped dried fruits and nuts and, of course, spiked with that healthy dribble of Spiced Rum or Bourbon (or vanilla). Best of all, it is actually delicious. It is leavened with baking powder and eggs so there’s no waiting for it to rise before it bakes. Oh, and the spice blend sparks up a heavenly aromatherapy session for the house.

The Modern Rum No Yeast Election Cake by bakethiscake

Face The Crowd With Good Cake: Election Cake recipes were traditionally baked in gigantic quantities, starting with maybe 14 loaves or even enough to entice an entire town to cast their votes. A kind reward for traveling into town on horse and buggy with the family.  This recipe is toned down to a nice casserole size for at least 24 generous servings. It’s an easy take-along cake, travels well and is easily served to the hand, paper plate or on real china, as you prefer. And I think you just might want to keep it handy for midnight snacking, church affairs, potlucks and office parties.

Modern boozy nutty election day cake on a blue fiesta plate by bakethiscake

Turn Up The Cozy Factor, And The Music: When the world seems like its falling apart, fill your home with the wonderful aromas that seep out from your cake baking oven — ‘cause where there’s a nice homemade cake baking, the whole world seems to fill with harmony.

Bake a vintage cake card by bake this cake

Tools Needed for Nutty Boozy Election Cake:
Cooking spray or butter for greasing the baking dish
Cutting board and flat-blade knife (for chopping nuts and dried fruits)
2 medium bowls (for soaking dried fruits and fork-blending eggs)
2 large bowls (for Dry Ingredients and Batter Bowl)
Strainer (for draining soaked fruit)
Measuring cups and spoons
Rubber spatula, wooden spoon
13″ x 9″ casserole dish
Optional: Grating tool and mortar if grinding spices

Close up of modern sweet election cake made with baking powder by bakethiscake

Ingredients for Nutty Boozy Election Cake:
1 cup raisins or dried sweetened cranberries or dried chopped dates or mixture of all (think fruited trail mix)
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (we used pecans)
1/2 cup Spiced Rum or Bourbon (Substitute 1/2 cup hot water mixed with 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract)
1-1/2 cup unsalted butter (3 cubes), room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs, fork beaten
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Vietnamese cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground dried ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (grated from a pod or ground)
1/8 teaspoon ground Jamaican allspice (mortared from pods or ground)
1/4 cup milk (we used 2%)

Modern Sweet Election Cake without yeast in Casserole Dish by bakethiscake

Directions for Modern Boozy Nutty Election Cake:

A Little Advance Prep:

1. Set oven rack at center position and preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Grease a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with butter or cooking spray and set aside.

3. Chop to a small rough cut:
1 cup raisins or same quantity of dried sweetened cranberries or dried chopped dates or a mixture of all (think fruited trail mix)
1 cup pecans or walnuts

Tip: Select your favorite nuts and dried fruits. We used a mixture of chopped pecans, dried sweetened cranberries and a handful of good quality raisin-nut trail mix.
chopped nuts and mixed dried fruits for boozy election cake by bakethiscake

Soak fruits and nuts:
4. In a medium bowl, soak the chopped fruits and nuts (while you prep the cake) in:
1/2 cup Spiced Rum or Bourbon (Substitute with 1/2 cup hot water mixed with 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract)

Prep Butter:
5. Use the microwave for a few seconds to warm to room temperature, and set aside:
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 cubes)

Fork-beat Eggs:
6. In a medium bowl, use a fork to mix thoroughly, and set aside:
6 large eggs

Prepping for the sweet no yeast election cake by bakethiscake

Dry Ingredients Bowl:

7. In a large bowl, use a whisk to thoroughly blend:
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Vietnamese cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground dried ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (grated from a pod or ground)
1/8 teaspoon ground Jamaican allspice, (mortared from pods or ground)

Mixing dry ingredients for modern sweet election cake by bakethiscake

Batter Bowl:

8. Using a large bowl and an electric mixer, beat on high-speed (about 2 minutes):
the prepared room temperature butter

creaming butter for modern sweet election day cake by bakethiscake

9. Beat into the creamed butter on high-speed (about 1 minute):
2 cups granulated sugar

creaming butter and sugar for nutty boozy election cake by bakethiscake

10. Beat into the butter-sugar mixture on high-speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes):
the prepared eggs (6 large fork-beaten eggs)

Beating eggs into Election Day Cake batter by bakethiscake

Drain and Use Soaker Liquid:

11. Drain off the liquid from the soaking fruit-nuts mixture, reserving it.

Draining nuts and fruits for modern sweet election day cake by bakethiscake

12. Add the soaker liquid to the Batter Bowl ingredients and blend the liquid into the batter.

adding spiced rum or bourbon to election cake recipe by bakethiscake

Dredge Drained Soaked Fruits and Nuts:

13. Toss the drained fruit-nuts into the Dry Ingredients Bowl and mix well to coat the fruit with the flour mixture.

This will keep the fruit and nuts from sinking to the bottom of the baked cake.

dredging fruit and nuts in flour for election cake by bakethiscake

Blend Dry Ingredients With Batter:

14. Use a spatula to fold into the Batter Bowl, one-half portion at a time, (about 30 strokes):
the prepared Dry Ingredients (containing the prepared dried fruits and nuts)
1/4 cup milk (we used 2% milk)

Folding dry with wet ingredients for boozy nutty election cake by bakethiscake

Batter Up:

15. Spread the fully prepared batter into the prepared 13×9 casserole dish and smooth the top a tad.

Spreading nutty rum election cake batter in casserole dish by bakethiscake

Bake This Cake!

16. Bake at 325 degrees (slower oven) for approximately 55 to 60 minutes to golden brown or until center toothpick test shows no crumbs and internal temperature reads about 195 degrees at the center position. The center of the cake should rise up level or above the sides when fully cooked.

When the cake has thoroughly cooled, cut around the edges and sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar, dribble with icing or frost. Slice into squares 2″ x 2″ or smaller rectangles. Serves at least 24 generous portions.

Modern Election Day Cake with spiced rum in casserole dish by bakethiscake

I like the idea of a very light sprinkle of powdered sugar but for those who like their frosting sweet and spiked, here is a recipe for boozy frosting.

Modern Sweet Election Cake with rum frosting by bakethiscake

Boozy Buttercream Frosting:

Using a frosting bowl or deep medium bowl, beat on low to high-speed, increasing with the final ingredients (beating for about 3 minutes to fluffy and smooth):
1/2 cup unsalted butter, (1 cube, room temperature)
3-3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons Spiced Rum or Bourbon (Substitute 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract)
3 Tablespoons heavy cream to achieve desired consistency

Boozy Buttercream Frosting recipe by bakethiscake

And some liquid refreshments to go with your cake…

Spiked Election Punch:

Stir together in a big iced punch bowl with free floating fruit wedges.
2 Quarts Apple Cider (8 cups or 1/2 gallon)
1 Quart Lemonade (4 cups)
3 unpeeled apples, cut into wedges
2 unpeeled seedless oranges, cut into wedges
3 cups Bourbon or Spiced Rum

Hot Buttered Rum (Serves 4):

Stir over medium heat in a pot on the stove top until just simmering:
1 cup water
4 teaspoons Powdered Sugar
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Remove from heat and stir in:
1 cup Dark Rum

Serve immediately in warmed tumblers with grated nutmeg or cinnamon on top.

Thank you for getting through this election year with your patience hat on and for joining us for a vintage modern twist on the traditional Election Cake.

Modern Boozy Nutty Election Cake with spiced rum by bakethiscake

Goes to show that you can expect to be able to improve on history using our cherished traditions as a jumping off point for sharing the love.




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3 thoughts on “Nutty Boozy Election Cake Without Yeast is a Warm Group Hug

  1. Pingback: Election Cake, a Forgotten American Tradition - Christina's Cucina

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