Posted by: Erica Retrochef | June 22, 2009

Picnic Day: Election Day Cake!

I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing

  • Apple pie with a dutch crumb topping (Miranda @ A Duck in Her Pond)
  • Buttermilk spice cake (Mary @ One Perfect Bite)
  • Chocolate cherry pie
  • Dilly Potato Salad (Gloria @ Cookbook Cuisine)
  • Election Day Cake
  • Election Day Cake For the letter “E” recipe, the only things I could thing of were eggs or eggplant; I looked through my archives and found three “E” dishes which could qualify. Egg nog was eliminated because we never took a picture of it (shame, because Grandpa’s Egg Nog is quite the party drink), and egg drop soup, while delicious, savory, and inexpensive for large groups, just doesn’t feel very picnic-like. Election Day Cake, however, is a recipe that’s designed for large groups.

    Election Day was originally a huge party in the US, a day when people didn’t work, but instead hung out in the town square and had picnics and various patriotic activities. Like any good picnic, it meant cooking lots of food for lots of people. So big loaf-like cakes, yeast-based fruitcakes basically, were baked for the occasion and became known as Election Day Cake. (Credit where credit’s due, I originally got the recipe and idea to make it from Historiann.) I learned quite a lot of things, including “baking powder is a wonderful invention” (yeast is a hassle!), and “your puny kitchen mixer is no match for Election Day Cake” (but I did get a new mixer out of the deal).

    Whenever I try a 100+ year old recipe, I am amazed by the cooking skills of our forebears, who managed to make a huge batch of cakes with no power tools and wood-fired stoves and all sorts of inconveniences. Of course, the picnic participants will only enjoy the delightful cake and its bits of candied citron, and won’t have to bake the thing themselves. It really is delicious, and if you’re ever going to an actual Election Day party, I highly recommend making it — it’s both tasty and an excellent conversation piece.



    1. What a great cake for a picnic 🙂

    2. Hi Erica,

      Wasn’t the picnic fun! Thank you so much “bringing” the Election Day Cake. It was a huge success. I adore that you included notes on its origin and history. And a good time was had by all…

    3. What a great post–very funny about the mixer.

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