What is Election Cake?
Election Day was considered an important holiday in early New England, ranking second only to Thanksgiving. Dating back to 1771, the first yeast-leavened Election Cake—also known as Oak Cake, Hartford Election Cake, and Training Cake—was baked in Hartford. Another name for Election Day was Training Day. Ruled by the English, colonial American farmers were called to military practice for training sessions. They traveled (sometimes for days) and descended on the nearest designated towns for days of training (mustering).
All involved had to keep up their strength, and Election Cake filled the bill. It was served either at a church supper preceding the town meeting, or sold outside the polling place, to help sustain voters. It was a way for women to participate and celebrate the holiday even though they weren’t allowed to vote.
The cake itself is basically an English fruitcake, and the first recorded recipe of it is from the 1796 second edition of Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery.
This year you can celebrate Election Day on Tuesday, November 7, at the Wilton Historical Society where you can enjoy not only the delicious, traditional Election Cake, but also participate in a treasure hunt.