Muster – A Cake

I wanted to post this article before the election but I didn’t know what to write. There was so much bantering and bickering going on that I used the potential backlash as an excuse to not write… but now that the electoral college has cast their votes making Donald Trump the official President Elect to be inaugurated in January, there’s a conversation I still feel is important: voter turnout.

Early results showed that voter turnout for this year’s presidential election was around 55%. The number of eligible, registered voters showing up to the polls hasn’t been that low since the  ’96 Clinton (D) v. Dole (R) election. I’m interested to know what caused people to seemingly not care as much and how we can make people more willing to vote for whom and what they think is right.

Enter: the election cake.


Election Cake (or as it was originally called, ‘muster’ cake) dates back to Colonial America. Women would bake these naturally-leavened spice cakes and give them to the men summoned by the British for military training. Only after the American Revolution did it evolve into what we know it as today. Elections used to be a time of celebration; for communities to come together and have a big ol’ party. The cake was generally commissioned by the town to encourage people to come to town hall and vote. (It was also a sneaky way for women to be involved in the voting process.)

This year, Old World Levain kickstarted a grassroots project encouraging home and professional bakers to create their own election cake in an attempt to bring back a historic tradition. Even though this year’s election is over, I know I’ll be continuing to bake these cakes annually to help ‘Make America Cake Again’.


I used the Election Cake (2) in Formulas for Professional Bakers from OWL’s website with the following: a ‘spice blend’ consisting of 1 TB cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp sumac, 1/4 tsp ginger and 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 2 TB barley malt syrup to replace 2 TB honey, no sherry or boozy fruit, and topped with a black tahini frosting. The cake was dense and not too sweet; exactly the way it should be.

P.S. Yes, that’s a cat plate. It was a rummage sale find by my aunt who then gifted it to me for my birthday this year.