New-York Historical Society’s Recipe of the Week: Election Cake

A civically minded recipe from the Duane Family cookbook collection. During the 19th century, Election Day was considered a holiday and women would bring special celebratory cakes to polling sites to feed the male voters, many of who traveled a long way to vote. Read more about the collection, plus see all the recipes to cook or bake here.

Election Cake

3 cups of warm milk
1 cup of sugar
1 yeast or buy 2 cts worth
Add enough flour to make a stiff batter at night—
In the morning add:
3 cups of sugar
2 1/2 of butter—better to use 1 cup of lard and 1 1/2 of butter
1 egg
1 lb raisins
1/2 lb citron
1/2 oz mace
[Note: You can substitute allspice or cinnamon]
4 nutmegs
[Note: 1/2 a nutmeg is equal to 1 tsp ground nutmeg; because nutmeg and mace have a similar flavor, consider halving the nutmeg]
1/2 gill wine
[Note: “Gill” is a liquid measurement equal to four ounces in the U.S. and five ounces in the U.K.]
1/2 gill brandy
This makes fore good sized loaves—It will be easy to half this quantity—
If you don’t get fresh lard use all butter but it’s common to use lard in country

 

Historic Recipe for Election Cake