Baking- Sweets,  Cupcakes,  Dessert

Election Cake

Happy Election Day! I hope if you’re in the US, you’ve already dropped off your ballet or are heading down to the polls today to vote. This year there are five states voting to legalize weed for recreational use. Currently, 33 states have legalized medical and 11 states have legalized recreational use. Additionally, a total of 470 seats in the U.S. Congress (35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats) are up for election on November 3, 2020, including two special elections for U.S. Senate. This is in addition to the obvious Presidental Election. I hope that you go out and vote. But if you voted by mail, I hope you make A Traditional Election Day Cake!

Early Voting Available on SMU Main Campus - SMU

Traditionally, election cake is made in towns where larger election parties happened. These cakes were often made by the women of New England families to welcome people who traveled in their town for the election. Every family had its own Election Cake recipe and it varied from town to town. Mrs. Henry Hudsons was different than the Fannie Farmers’ recipe. The New England Historical Society has a great article that tells the history of election cakes including the original Fanny Farmer Cake.

How to Make a Traditional Election Day Cake?

For this recipe of A Traditional Election Day Cake, I’m adapting from Serious Eats. I don’t have fresh figs since they’re not in season so I used dry figs and don’t like the taste of Ginger so I removed it and added Cardamon instead.

This is a yeast cake. I’ve made two or three different yeast cakes this year. One of my favorite ones includes lots of kneading and it’s soft and springy. I’ve only made this cake using my machine because it is a looser wet dough. I saw some recipes online that suggested adding enough flour so you can roll it out. I opted for a wet batter version, like the one featured on Tasting History. This version does not need proofing time.

I made this cake two ways while testing the recipe. One I melted the butter and the other I had it really soft. Both turned out pretty good. I found that the butter worked in better melted, but left a more brioche taste when it worked in softened. If you’re like 90% of bakers who forget to take their butter out to soften, you won’t go wrong by over melting it in the microwave. If you’re using softened butter, make sure the butter is fully worked in before moving on to the next step.

Traditionally this is a cake baked as a loaf. I thought it would be prettier as a bunt cake. So the pans I used were my standard Bundt Cake Pan and a Mini Angel Food Cake Pan. I decided to bake the mini cake simply because I wanted some to have at home. The large one was going with my fiance to the polls for all the poll watchers to enjoy.

For the sugar glaze, you can make it as thick or as thin as you want to. Just be sure to glaze it when your cake is cool so it stays in place. Traditionally, Whiskey or Brandy would be used in the glaze. I just used milk today because it was going to the polls and I want everyone to enjoy it. Just substitute the milk for brandy and mix it together.

An Election Day Note

I stopped by the poles and voted this morning. For my American audience, I hope you take the time to vote or have already voted. There is a lot of negativity and stress on the news today, so unplug, relax and be kind to each other. It is OK to disconnect from the news and social media. It is OK to not answer the phone from that overzealous (insert political party here) family member. Just get back to them tomorrow or in a few days. I doubt we will even have a projection of a winner tonight. The newspaper my friends works for is estimated Thanksgiving at the earliest. The news is about to get nasty and toxic. So I just ask, be extra kind to everyone you come in contact with this week. It costs nothing to be kind.

Election Day Cake

Celebrate Election Day with a traditional Election Day Cake.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, New England
Servings 16 Slices


  • Bunt Pan or 2 Bread Pans.


For the Cake

  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 2 packages of active dry yeast
  • 4 cups all purpose flour split
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Cardamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried figs (or any other dried fruit, chopped to raisin size)

For the Brandy Glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  • In the bowl of the Stand Mixer, add warm water, yeast and honey and let rest for 5 minutes.
    Grease and flour two 8.5 inch loaf pans or a bunt pan.
  • In a large bowl mix 3 cups of flour with cinnamon, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
  • When yeast is foamy, Add 1 cup of flour and mix together using a spoon.
  • Then add butter and mix until incorporated. Add brown sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Add in eggs an mix until just combined. Lastly mix in flour (reserve a 1/2 cup)
  • Toss raisins and figs in remaining flour and then stir them into the cake batter. Knead until dough looks smooth and combined.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake loaves for 50 to 60 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Place pans on wire racks to cool after 5 minutes, remove from pans.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together confectioners sugar, milk, and vanilla. Spoon over the tops of the fully cooled loaves and allow to drizzle down the sides.


For a more authentic cake, add a tablespoon of whiskey or brandy to the glaze.
Keyword Bundt, Election Day, Holiday

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