Election Cakes

C. Bertelsen)
The Buckeye Cookbook 1883 (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)

Leafing through some files the other night, I came upon these recipes, squirreled away for some future use. It’s late in the game — the 2008 election is over and others have blogged this, no doubt — but I think that those of you who eat, drink, and obsess as much over politics as you do food will find this interesting.

All the recipes come from The Buckeye Cookbook: Traditional American Recipes, first published Minneapolis in 1877 and then later by Buckeye Publishing in 1883 (reprinted by Dover Publications).

The election of 1876, with Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel J. Tilden sparring for the White House, saw the invention of these cakes, joining the cake line-up along with traditional twelve-pound Election Cakes (or Muster Cakes), but that’s another post.

Rutherford B. Hayes
Rutherford B. Hayes


One cup sugar, half cup butter, three eggs beaten well together, level tea-spoon soda stirred in half cup sour milk, two small cups flour; flavor with lemon, pour in small dripping-pan, bake half an hour, and cut in squares.

-Miss Flora Ziegler, Columbus

Samuel J. Tilden
Samuel J. Tilden


One cup butter, two of pulverized sugar, one of sweet milk, three of flour, half cup corn starch, four eggs, two tea-spoons baking-powder, two of lemon extract.

—Mrs. T. B; Chicago, Ill.

Hayes won, but whether or not the cakes had anything to do with that remains a moot question.

© 2008 C. Bertelsen

One thought on “Election Cakes

  1. Hi, readers may also be interested in another (1988) reprint of Buckeye Cookery by the Minnesota Historical Society Press’s Borealis Books. It has an excellent introduction by Virginia Westbrook. It’s out of print but available used.

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