Election Day Cake: Vote Spelt Flour

You don’t need to re­gister to en­joy this elec­tion day cake.

Al­though Dunkin’ Donuts prob­ably sup­plied the vast ma­jor­ity of morn­ing nour­ish­ment at many of the polling places around Phil­adelphia yes­ter­day, way back in the day, it was the loc­al wo­men who baked for the fest­iv­it­ies that tran­spired on Elec­tion Day. Since 1771, the Elec­tion Day Cake was baked to give strength to the people who had traveled in­to the polling town to cast their votes and to so­cial­ize. With no com­puters to quickly tab­u­late res­ults, there was a lot of snack­ing done through the night as the votes were coun­ted.

Elec­tion Day was a big deal then, and these cakes were made for the cel­eb­ra­tions. The cake be­came known as the Hart­ford (Con­necti­c­ut) Elec­tion Day Cake. Politi­cians there served it to men vot­ing a straight party tick­et. In a time when whis­key was the pre­ferred meth­od of vote buy­ing, did this cake seal the deal?

Al­though every fam­ily had their ver­sion of the cake, some of the re­quis­ite spices in­cluded nut­meg, cin­na­mon, mace and cloves, along with nuts and brandy. The cake al­ways con­tained rais­ins, and it re­sembled a clas­sic Eng­lish fruit­cake. Yeast was the leaven­ing agent then.

North­east Times read­er Betty Ann R. emailed me with the ques­tion: “Have you ever heard of or used spelt flour? I saw a re­cipe for chocol­ate chip cook­ies and it used that kind of flour. I was won­der­ing where I could get it?”

Dear Betty Ann R.: Spelt flour is in the wheat fam­ily. It’s an an­cient grain, cul­tiv­ated for cen­tur­ies in cent­ral Europe and the Middle East.  It is some­what like whole wheat flour. It con­tains glu­ten. Spelt flour is very nu­tri­tion­al with a bit few­er cal­or­ies than whole wheat. Eas­ily di­gest­ible, it is some­times tol­er­ated by people with wheat is­sues. Spelt flour is as­so­ci­ated with Ger­man and Pennsylvania Dutch cook­ing/bak­ing. The flour was favored by pret­zel and bread makers. It has been re­dis­covered as a health food here, and it can be pur­chased in many health food stores, as well as at Weg­man’s

Did you Rock the Vote yes­ter­day? By now, the vot­ing res­ults should be tal­lied. Wheth­er you’re cel­eb­rat­ing a vic­tory or lick­ing the wounds of de­feat, try a bite or two of the fol­low­ing cake. The old re­cipes for Elec­tion Day Cake seem to part­ner nicely with spelt flour. The fol­low­ing re­cipe is my ver­sion of the cake, us­ing spelt flour with the ad­di­tion of chocol­ate chips. It got the votes at my house.


3 eggs

1 cup oil   

3/4 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

¾ cup whole grain spelt flour

1½ cups all-pur­pose flour

¾ cup sug­ar

1 tsp. cin­na­mon

½ tsp. nut­meg

¼ tsp. ground cloves

¾ tsp. salt

1/3 cup chopped rais­ins

¼ cup chopped wal­nuts

2/3 cup dark chocol­ate morsels

-Pre­heat oven to 350.

-Grease a tube or bundt pan with Crisco. Set aside.

-In a large bowl, whisk eggs thor­oughly. Add oil, milk and vanilla and mix well.

-On a large sheet of wax pa­per or in an­oth­er bowl, thor­oughly mix to­geth­er the flours, sug­ar, cin­na­mon, nut­meg, cloves and salt.

-Add the rais­ins, wal­nuts, chocol­ate chips and mix in­to dry in­gredi­ents. 

-Fold the dry in­gredi­ents in­to the egg/oil/milk/vanilla mix­ture. Do not beat. Mix gently just un­til everything is com­bined.

-Pour bat­ter in­to pan and bake for about 40 minutes or un­til tooth­pick in­ser­ted in­to cen­ter comes out clean.   

If you like cin­na­mon, spelt flour com­bines to make this great-tast­ing break­fast or snack cake.


½ cup but­ter

½ cup sug­ar

2 eggs

1 tsp. bak­ing powder

1 Tb­sp. cin­na­mon

1 cup whole grain spelt flour

1 Tb­sp. milk

½ tsp. vanilla


½ cup ground al­monds

½ cup brown sug­ar

1 egg

2 Tb­sp. milk 

½ tsp. vanilla

-Pre­heat oven to 350.

-Cream to­geth­er sug­ar un­til light and fluffy.       

-Beat in eggs one at a time.

-Mix in the bak­ing powder and cin­na­mon.

-Mix in the spelt flour and milk just enough to in­cor­por­ate in­to mix­ture.


-Make the top­ping: Mix to­geth­er the ground al­monds, brown sug­ar, egg, milk and vanilla. Spread mix­ture over the top of the un­cooked cake.

-Bake 30-35 minutes un­til tooth­pick in­ser­ted in­to cake comes out clean.

Eat well, live long, en­joy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at Whats­cook­in­NEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the North­east Times, 2512 Met­ro­pol­it­an Drive, Tre­vose, PA 19053)

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