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Before women were allowed to vote, they baked "Election Cakes"

After the American Revolution, women brought 'election cakes' to voting sites to encourage voter turnout. Women couldn't vote at the time.

Image credit: An election cake recipe published in 1889 from 'Hartford Election Cake and Other Receipts' by Ellen Wadsworth Johnson. Image:

27th Oct 2016

Before women could vote, they baked "Election Cakes" to entice men to the polls

After the American Revolution, women brought cakes to voting sites to encourage voter turnout. Women couldn't vote at the time, so unfortunately, whipping up a storm in the kitchen was one of the only ways American women could contribute to the democratic process of the American nation.

"It was mostly women who were baking and men who were voting, especially in the early [history] of this cake," Surdam told NPR. Surdam and Gebhart are encouraging bakeries nationwide and home bakers to pay homage to the "election cakes" baked by women centuries ago.

What was "election cake?" The Election Cake, before the republic was established after the Revolutionary War, was called Muster Cake and served at 'Muster Days,' where colonists gathered to watch and partake in Militia trainings," they said, noting that Hartford, Connecticut, was a hub of "Election Cake culture." In the 1770s, professional bakers got paid to bake election cakes that were served to officials who were counting votes, Gebhart and Surdam said, noting the first recorded election cake dates back to 1796.  

Americans needed eight pounds of flour and over four pounds of butter. The ingredients made it sound something like a fruity bread.

Why the huge quantities of ingredients? The cakes were meant to feed loads of people!

In fact, Election Day used to be a important holiday on par with Thanksgiving or Christmas. Candidates put on large parties to increase voter turnout.

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Voters (men) sometimes voted in saloons before the Prohibition era, the Constitution Center blog stated. To say it was a boozy affair might be the understatement of all time. "... any kind of political partying today is nothing in comparison to America's past behavior," the Constitution Center noted.

Check out this recipe for election cake posted on Cooking Channel. The story first appeared on MIC Network

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