Pumpkin Spice Election Cake is a nod to the season. The pumpkin and sourdough in this cake make it both moist and nutritious.
Election cake is a very old cake that has its roots in English fruitcake. Originally, before the Revolutionary War, it was called Muster Cake, a naturally leavened cake that was baked by colonial women and given to men who had been mustered for military training by British troops. After the war was won, to encourage voting, as women still could not vote, the boozy fruit and spice cake was baked by colonial women and brought to town hall meetings. Election Day was a festive occasion, with lots of food and booze flowing. Now women can vote, but we still need to encourage everyone to vote. Why not celebrate the day with a sourdough cake?
Pumpkin is in season in October and November, and everyone seems to be excited about pumpkin spice. Understand that pumpkin spice has no actual pumpkin in it, just the spices. However, pumpkin itself is incredibly healthy. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Its low-calorie content makes it a weight-loss-friendly food. The nutrients and antioxidants may also boost your immune system, protect your eyesight, lower your risk of certain cancers and promote heart and skin health.
Pureed pumpkin is NOT the same thing as pumpkin pie filling. Pie filling has many other ingredients that are not suitable for this.
Why sourdough? Sourdough is a natural leaven that has a lot of nutritional benefits. Sourdough acts as a probiotic, meaning that the bread’s fiber helps feed the good bacteria in your gut. These bacteria are important for maintaining a stable, healthy digestive system. Sourdough is also lower in gluten than other forms of bread. You can use a freshly fed starter, or you can use discard, whichever you happen to have around. I happened to have just fed mine, so that’s what I used.
What Kind of Dried Fruit Should I Use?
You can use whatever your favorite fruits you would use for fruitcake. I recommend not using candied fruits to reduce the sugar content. My wonderful neighbor gave me some unsweetened sliced oranges she had died in her dehydrator. I also had some currants on hand, raisins, and dried cherries. You are also welcome to add nuts if you wish.
What about the Booze?
I used Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey because it has a lot of warmth from the cinnamon. It also goes very well with all the other spices in the cake. However, if you don’t like that much zing, you could use rum, brandy, or your favorite bourbon, scotch, or sour mash whiskey.
Does this Pumpkin Spice Sourdough Cake Take a Long Time?
Yes, it does. The initial soaking of the dried fruit takes about an hour. If you want to use freshly fed sourdough, you might also have to wait for that. After making the batter for about a half hour, the cake bakes for about an hour. Like fruitcakes, they should be made a few days before being served and fed a little liquor daily. So plan on at least two days before the cake is ready to eat. It’s worth it, too. The cake is moist and flavorful.
~~ — Fruit Mixture — ~~
- ½ cup Orange peel, dehydrated
- 1 tablespoon Currants
- ¼ cup Raisins
- ¼ cup Cherries, dried
- ¼ cup Cinnamon Whiskey
~~ Dry Ingredients ~~
~~ Wet Ingredients ~~
- ½ pound butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup starter
- 15 ounces pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- ½ teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- ½ teaspoon Espresso
~~ — Decoration — ~~
- 8 Maraschino cherries
- 2 slices Orange, dried
~~ Glaze ~~
- Cinnamon whiskey
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup espresso
- If the orange peel is not in small pieces, run it through the food processor first. The pieces should be no larger than one-half inch.
- 1/2 cup Orange peel, 1 tablespoon Currants, 1/4 cup Raisins, 1/4 cup Cherries, 1/4 cup Cinnamon WhiskeyPut the orange peels, currants, raisins, and cherries in a bowl and add 1/.4 cup of cinnamon whiskey. Stir. Set the mixture aside for at least one hour to absorb the liquor.
- 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cocoa, 1 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon mace, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon saltPut the dry ingredients in a sifter and sift them into a bowl. Set the bowl aside.
- 1/2 pound butterPut the butter into the mixer and cream it until it is light and fluffy.
- 1/2 cup brown sugarAdd the brown sugar and beat it until it is incorporatated into the butter.
- 2 eggsAdd the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.
- 1 cup starter`When the eggs are fully mixed in, add the starter and beat.
- 15 ounces pumpkinAdd the pumpkin and beat.
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons molasses, 1/2 teaspoon EspressoAdd the vanilla and Fiori di Sicilia, espresso and beat. Add the honey and molasses and beat.
- Reserve the liquid used for the fruit mixture and put the remaining fruit mixture in the batter. Stir thoroughly.
- Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.
- Finally, add the dry ingredients and beat the batter for an additional two minutes.
- Line your springform pan with parchment paper. Heat the oven to 300.
- 8 Maraschino cherries, 2 slices OrangePour the batter into the pan. Spread it out, and if desired, decorate it with fruit to spell out VOTE. Let the cake sit while the oven is heating up.
- Put the cake in the oven and bake for 1 hour. The cake is done when it reaches 190 on an instant-read thermometer or when a toothpick comes out clean,
- Cinnamon whiskey, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup espressoMix leftover fruit mixture liquid with the sugar and espresso. Spoon that over the hot cake until it is all absorbed. Let the cake sit at least overnight before cutting into it. You can continue feeding it whiskey as desired.