Slow Days: Election Cake

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

At last it is Presidential Election Day in the United States of America. Or, should I say, the last day to vote in this unusual election season. It used to be that all votes were cast during one day, all around the nation. One day for voting. The counting took longer, depending on how difficult the roads were between a given town and the state capital. That was back in the dirt-roads-and-horseback days. Nowadays, vote counts are sent to state capitals by phone. But Election Day has never been the end of the story — the votes must be ‘certified’ in each state, which can take days if there is a recount. Then it is up to the Electoral College to vote, with their selection of the winner on December 14. That’s a long time from today!

Let’s have some cake today — one with a long history and a tradition of being a ‘good keeper’: Election Cake. In Colonial Days and the early days of the Republic, popular cakes were made with dried fruits. If the fruit or the cake was suffused in ‘strong spirits,’ it would keep for a long time, meaning less baking for the housewife. In Connecticut, there was the tradition of a cake for Election Day. It could be baked days in advance, then put in the picnic basket for the day-long trip to the village center to be served there at lunch. My mother said that the alcohol in the cake was because sale of booze was banned on Election Day. Maybe not, but getting voters drunk was an early form of voter coercion, hence the ban on alcohol sales. Last March, I baked 2 loaves of this cake, using sourdough [since we all have plenty of that these days, right?]. We ate some on New Hampshire’s Primary Day and the other loaf went to the freezer. We had some in September for state primary voting and the remainder this morning, just to remind ourselves that it was Election Day. We voted Absentee and turned in our ballots to the Town Clerk weeks ago. Kudos to Deb and John and the election team in Bennington.

Early Day 1 2 c flour  ½ cup + 2 Tbsp buttermilk  ½ cup sourdough, fed and bubbly 1-2 T water, as neededIn a large bowl combine the flour, buttermilk, and sourdough starter until you get a thick dough.  Add water if necessary. Form the dough into a round ball, place it in a bowl and allow it to rest, covered, for 8-12 hours
Evening Day 1 1 stick butter ½ cup + 2 Tbsp sugar 2 Tbsp molasses 1.5 tsp white wine OR Rum 1 Tbsp brandyIn a medium bowl, beat the butter, sugar, molasses, wine, and brandy together until well combined and fluffy.
1 egg 1.5 tsp cinnamon 1.5 tsp ground coriander ¼ tsp allspice ½ tsp ground nutmegStir in the egg and the spices.
Add the yeast dough to this mixture and beat until the mixture resembles that of a thick cake batter.
½ cup prunes, chopped ½ cup raisins/ cranberries/ cherries/ currents/ apricotsStir in dried fruit. Pour the cake into a greased “bundt pan (you could also use a springform or dutch oven)”. I used small loaf pans = two pans, 8x4x3”
Cover the pans 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.
This is the recipe I used, slightly adapted from the 
Nourished Kitchen.
Here is Fannie Farmer‘s recipe — lots of whiskey! In my handwriting, amounts for smaller batches.

We like to slice it and toast it lightly to serve at breakfast. A nice treat to mark the passing of the political year.

Election Cake served warm with fruit yogurt, bacon, apple cider, and frothy mocha cafe au lait: this is a breakfast to make one optimistic about an election outcome.

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