Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day Cake

Fresh out of the oven and before glazing.
YUM!  Ready to eat.
     In honor of Election Day 2010 I dug out a recipe I had cut out of a magazine years ago.  Apparently, this is a traditional cake recipe that was made every election day for decades after the Revolution. It is leavened with yeast and has a slow raising time.. 5-7 hours and so was usually mixed up the night before.  Yeast was not all that reliable back then, and many a housewife lay awake worrying that her cake would not raise correctly.  It was a matter of pride to serve up a beautiful Election Day Cake.  I had never made a cake with yeast before so I was excited to try it.  I did make a few changes to the original recipe.  I'm not a huge fan of raisins so I used half raisins and half dried cranberries for the fruit.  I used orange juice instead of brandy and I baked it in my mini bundt pan so I could share it with some friends.  (Bill and I certainly do not need a big bundt cake for just the two of us!)   And, it is just as well that I planned to give most of it away.  This is one delicious cake!  Yep, I think we have just found (or is that rediscovered?) a new tradition!  Really you need to try this one- it is so good. I can see lots of possibilities with this recipe.. Next time I think I will see what cranberry juice will taste like..and for sure some pecans.
1 envelope dry yeast
1 T sugar
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brandy (can sub orange juice or cranberry juice)
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp mace
1/2 cup flour, for raisins

1 cup powdered sugar
2 T milk
 1 tsp vanilla

1) Dissolve yeast and 1 T sugar in warm milk.  Stir in 1/2 cup flour.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in warm place until sponge becomes bubbly, about 2-3 hours.

2) Pour brandy or juice over raisins in a small bowl and set aside to soak for 2-3 hours.

3) When ready to prepare batter, cream butter and 1 cup sugar together in a large bowl.  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat the mixture until light and fluffy.

4) Drain brandy or juice off raisins.  Set raisins aside.

5) Combine 1 cup flour with spices and stir into butter mixture alternately with brandy or juice.  Add yeast mixture and beat thoroughly.  Mix raisins with 1/2 cup flour and stir into batter.

6) Pour batter into a well-buttered tube pan or loaf pan and let dough rise until nearly doubled in bulk.  This dough rises slowly and should sit in a warm place for 5-6 hours or overnight.

7) Bake at  350 for 50-60 minutes.  Cool slightly before removing cake from pan to cool on wire rack.  Spread cooled cake with glaze.

GLAZE:  Mix  powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until well combined and spread on cake.