Reading through my 1897 edition of Practical Housekeeping, I found the recipe for Old Hartford Election Cake on page 70:
Five pounds sifted flour, two of butter, two of sugar, thre gills distillery yeast or twice the quantity of home brewed, four eggs, gill of wine, gill of brandy, one quart sweet milk, half an ounce of nutmeg, two pounds raisins, one of citron; rub the butter and flour together very fine, add half the sugar, then the yeast and half the milk (hot in winter, blood-warm in summer), then add the eggs, the remainder of the milk, and the wine; beat well and let rise in a warm place all night; in the morning beat a long time, adding brandy, sugar, spice and fruit well floured, and allow to rise again very light, after which put in cake pans and let rise ten or fifteen minuets; have the oven about as hot as for bread. This cake will keep any length of time. For raised cakes use potato yeast if fresh made; it is always a perfect success. This recipe is over one hundred yeas old. -- Mrs. Eliza Burnham, Milford Center.
|Reconstituted Distiller's Yeast|
Once the yeast was ready, I mixed up the dough, using two bowls with half the recipe in each one. I warmed up the milk in the microwave before adding it to the flour, butter and sugar mixture. I used an inexpensive sweet white wine.
|Dough after step 1|
|Dough after first rise|
|Dough after second set of ingredients added|
|Old Hartford Election Cake ready for auction|