Election Day Cake


2 packages active dry yeast

½ cup warm water (about 105 degrees F)

½ cup lukewarm milk (scalded, then cooled)

3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup raisins, currants, or dried cranberries, roughly chopped

½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, and cut into 8 pieces, plus more for greasing the pan

¾ cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup powdered sugar

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons milk of choice (all dairy and nondairy choices apply)

In a medium bowl, fork whisk the yeast and water until well blended, then add the milk. Gradually add 1 ½ cups of the flour, stirring with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until somewhat bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together the remaining 1 ¾ cups flour, salt, and spices in a medium bowl. Stir together the dried fruit and nuts in a small bowl.

Using a stand mixer or hand-held electric beater, cream the butter and sugar until light yellow and malleable. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the yeast mixture until just incorporated. (Note: if you are not using paddle attachments, stir the yeast mixture by hand.) Gradually add dry ingredients, beating until smooth after each addition. Gently add the fruit-nut mixture until evenly distributed.

Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan or large Bundt pan. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until the batter is puffy and doubled, 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.

 Cool for 10 minutes, then loosen from the edges of the pan with a knife. Invert and cool completely on a rack, about 30 minutes. While the cake cools, make the glaze.

In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and milk, until desired spreading consistency. Drizzle the glaze on the top and along the sides of the cake.

 Adapted from "Rare Bits: Unusual Origins of Popular Recipes" by Patricia Bunning Stevens