Voting in Atlanta today is a piece of cake — at least in one way.
Election cake — a dessert that dates back to colonial times — is making a comeback this year by way of the hashtag #makeamericacakeagain on Twitter, where people are sharing their photos of the homemade treat.
The trend was started by bakers Susannah Gebhart and Maia Surdam of OWL Bakery in Asheville, N.C., who “want people to know more about America’s culinary history and its connection to politics,” according to an interview with NPR.
Election cake — “sweet, spiced and fruit-filled” according to the Washington Post — were first made in the late 1700s as a way for women to participate in presidential elections when they still didn’t have the right to vote. An AJC archive story says the cake was often termed the Hartford Election Cake.
So how can you get your own in Atlanta? The Little Tart Bakeshop at 437 Memorial Drive NE in Atlanta is making the treat today with cardamom, sour cherries, and rum.
Want to try your hand at making your own? Try this Election Fruit Buttercake recipe from the AJC archives:
Election Fruit Buttercake
Hands on: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 1/3 hours
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup orange marmalade
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup candied fruit
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup evaporated milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch tube pan.
Cream butter thoroughly. Add sugar, orange rind and vanilla. Beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in marmalade.
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, combine nuts, candied fruit and raisins. Mix 2 tablespoons sifted dry ingredients with combined fruit and nuts. Set aside.
Add remaining dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with combined orange juice and evaporated milk. Stir in fruit and nut mixture and blend.
Turn into tube pan and bake about 70 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan at least 20 minutes before removing. Serve warm or cooled with Butter Hard Sauce.
Per serving: 516 calories (percent of calories from fat, 35), 8 grams protein, 79 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 20 grams fat (9 grams saturated), 81 milligrams cholesterol, 506 milligrams sodium.
Per serving with Butter Hard Sauce: 667 calories (percent of calories from fat, 38), 8 grams protein, 99 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 29 grams fat (14 grams saturated), 103 milligrams cholesterol, 585 milligrams sodium.
Butter Hard Sauce
Hands on: 5 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons light cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream butter thoroughly. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy. Add cream and vanilla. Blend. Chill until firm. Serve with Election Fruit Buttercake.
Per serving: 151 calories (percent of calories from fat, 48), trace protein, 20 grams carbohydrates, no fiber, 8 grams fat (5 grams saturated), 22 milligrams cholesterol, 79 milligrams sodium.
Notes for the modern kitchen: To better control the amount of salt in a recipe, always use unsalted butter when baking. Instead of bottled orange rind, use freshly grated zest from one orange. If you’re not a fan of candied fruit, substitute 1 cup chopped dried fruit, such as apricots. Butter and flour cake pan. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until cake begins to pull from sides of pan and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. For the hard sauce, use softened (room temperature) unsalted butter. For light cream, use half-and-half.
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