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Sourdough Election Cake

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This sourdough election cake is an easy cake recipe that uses your sourdough starter. This traditional cake from American history is made with dried fruit, spices, buttermilk, brandy and molasses for a truly flavorufl cake!

This sourdough election cake is an easy cake recipe that uses your sourdough starter. This traditional cake from American history is made with dried fruit, spices, buttermilk, brandy and molasses for a truly flavorufl cake!
sourdough election cake on platter with slice in front
sourdough election cake on platter with slice in front

The other day I stumbled across this really fun historical recipe for a sourdough cake called an “Election cake”. The cake happened to be a recipe for a traditional cake served in the early America’s during election time. And guess what, it features sourdough starter! I knew immediately that I was going to make this cake.

When America was a young country and it was time to vote, families would gather together in towns to cast their ballots. Because some families would be coming from a long way off, and would usually spend quite a few days in town, this was often a time for large celebrations and parties, balls, visiting friends, and other fun activities! The government would often commission these election cakes to be baked and served at the festivities! The cakes were large – big enough to feed the whole community! In one of the first recorded recipes for this cake, Amelia Simmons writes that you need three dozen eggs, a quart of brandy, and fourteen pounds of sugar. Now that’s a cake!!

As time went on, slices of this cake were provided as an incentive to vote!

This cake, and others like it began to fall out of favor when cakes with baking powder (which are quicker and easier to bake) became popular!

plate with slice of sourdough election cake and fork

How to make a sourdough election cake

This cake, while it has a long list of ingredients, is rather simple to make, but like most sourdough recipes requires a time commitment. Here is the general method to make this cake, but please scroll down to the recipe card below for the full directions:

  1. Combine the flour, buttermilk and sourdough starter into a thick dough that you can form into a ball. Allow to rest, covered, for 8-12 hours.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat the butter, sugar, molasses, wine, and brandy together until its combined and fluffy.
  3. Stir in two eggs and the spices.
  4. Add the prepared dough from before to the spice mixture and combine.
  5. Stir in the dried fruit.
  6. Pour into a prepared bundt pan.
  7. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature until its doubled in size, about 1.5 to 2 hours.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  9. Enjoy!

The cake turned out to be fun to make. The spices in here are great – cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander and allspice – and make for a really nice “warm” cake. I love how this cake turned out – soft and fluffy, spicy, and chock full of bits of fruit. It doesn’t really need a frosting, but I am sure it would take one fabulously. I love how you can see little bits of where the starter didn’t get fully incorporated in. A mistake, sure, but it looks cool. I also feel like if you were to soak this cake in alcohol, it would be an awesome fruit cake!

Please Vote. And always be nice to others (during election time, especially).

side view of sourdough bundt cake
 
Another great sourdough cake I love is a one bowl sourdough jam cake!
sourdough election cake on platter with slice in front

Sourdough Election Cake Recipe

This sourdough election cake is an easy cake recipe that uses your sourdough starter. This traditional cake from American history is made with dried fruit, spices, buttermilk, brandy and molasses for a truly flavorufl cake!
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 378kcal
Author: Jenni

Ingredients

  • 4 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup mature bubbly sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine
  • 2 Tablespoon brandy
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped prunes
  • 1 cup dried currants cranberries or cherries (or a combination)

Instructions

  • In a large bowl combine the flour, buttermilk, and sourdough starter until you get a thick dough.
  • Form the dough into a round ball, place it in a greased bowl and allow it to rest on the counter, covered, for 8-12 hours.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the butter, sugar, molasses, wine, and brandy together until well combined. and fluffy.
  • Stir in the two beaten eggs and the spices.
  • Add the dough to this mixture and beat until the mixture resembles that of a thick cake. It works best to tear the prepared dough into small pieces.
  • Stir in the dried fruit.
  • Pour the cake into a greased bundt pan (you could also use a springform or dutch oven).
  • Cover the pan with a clean dish cloth and allow to rise until it is almost doubled in bulk (about 1.5 -2 hours)
  • Preheat your oven to 375F.
  • Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

This cake will keep for 3-4 days when stored wrapped well on the counter.
If you don't have a sourdough starter, you can substitute the 1/4 cup of sourdough starter for 1 tablespoon instant yeast mixed with 1 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of flour.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 140mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 28g

13 Comments

  1. I vote for this cake! Been meaning to get some starter goin again, this gives me a great reason to do it, thanks!

    1. Oh, that looks like fun, I am startin that starter!

  2. How cool is history? And when history and cooking get combined? Awesome! Thanks for introducing this to my life 🙂

    1. I know, I love history! 🙂 I might have to start looking into some more historical recipes to try!

  3. I love historical recipes too, from any country! I'm definitely trying this, Jenni. Looks delicious!

  4. Kate | Food Babbles says:

    Love the combo of history and baking here! I only recently learned about election cake. This sounds fantastic! Don't know if you're interested or not, but this cake would be perfect for the "spice" theme for BundtaMonth this month. Lovely!

    1. Thanks! 🙂 I actually just saw that this month's theme was "spice"! I will definitely add it!

  5. This is awesome! I love heirloom type recipes like this! It's enough to make me want to pull out my starter…

  6. I've never started a cake with a sour dough starter and liked the history along with it too. Glad you linked up to the Bundt A Month. Your cake is beautiful!

  7. Your cake is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for linking up to BundtaMonth! 🙂

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