May 13 is Primary Election Day in West Virginia. Not since May 10, 1960, has West Virginia played such an important role in national politics. Record-breaking numbers have voted and will vote in the Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. Ron Paul is on the ballot for Republicans as well as John McCain.

Republican campaign potentates researched personal preferences of likely voters before and during the Bush campaigns. This is called microtargeting. Knowing which church you attend, which sports you like, which magazines, newspapers, books you read, what clubs you belong to, what you eat are part of information campaigns use to snag your vote. Seems bizarre, but nevertheless, Karl Rove and other Bush organizers bought into the theory. Who's to argue? It worked. Not to be outdone Democrats followed suit.

Political party databases are loaded with personal information on registered voters. Like it or not, they know you well by knowing your brands.

It is fun to speculate which foods candidates and supporters might favor.

In The New York Times on April 16, Kim Severson's article "Studying the Intersection of Politics and Pantry" suggests followers of presidential candidates might choose different foods: Hillary Clinton supporters might prefer honey, fig Newtons, butter. John McCain's crowd probably favors Splenda, margarine, chunky chocolate chip cookies. Sugar in the Raw, Starbucks coffee and soft chocolate chip cookies are apt to please Barack Obama's flock. Severson listed many other snacks and foods in her article.

Perhaps some 2008 candidate food favorites will be added to the list of traditional Election Day refreshment.

Traditional Election Day cakes are great to feed poll workers after a hard days work. One very old election cake recipe calls for a pint of yeast, 5 pounds of flour, 2 pounds of sugar plus eggs, butter, lard and "sweet milk". Enough cake to feed a small town.

• • •

An updated Election Cake

2 packages active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup lukewarm milk (scalded and cooled)

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (divided)

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon mace

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup raisins

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4-5 tablespoons heavy cream

Make a sponge: In an electric mixer bowl dissolve yeast in tepid water. Add cooled, scalded milk to yeast and water. Add 1 1/2 cups flour to yeast mixture. Beat until dough is smooth. Cover and let rise in warm place until very light and bubbly, 30-45 minutes.

Mix together remaining 1 3/4 cups flour, minus 2 tablespoons, with spices. Set aside.

Toss raisins with nuts and 2 tablespoons flour.

In a large mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Beat well.

Blend in yeast mixture. Add dry ingredients. Beat until smooth after each addition. Fold in raisin-pecan-flour mixture.

Butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F. When cake rises almost to top of pan place it on second rack from bottom in preheated oven. Bake until golden brown, 40-50 minutes.

Cool 10 minutes in pan. Invert onto a cake rack.

Whisk confectionery sugar, vanilla and milk until smooth. Pour over cake while still warm.

Hoot and Holler Whiskey Cup Cakes are derived from an old Appalachian cake recipe, no doubt served on Election Day.

The "whiskey" was probably moonshine when this concoction was developed. These are "grown up" cup cakes, not for children or non-drinkers.



• • •

Hoot and Holler Whiskey Cup Cakes

1 cup all-purpose flour, more for the pan

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon mace

1 stick unsalted butter, more for the pan

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup molasses

1/2 cup raisins

2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

1/4 cup bourbon whiskey (or dark rum or peach brandy)

Preheat oven to 300 F. Spray 12 regular muffin tins with oil. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time.

On medium low speed add dry ingredients. Add milk.

Combine baking soda and molasses. Add bourbon. Add to batter. Fold in raisins, pecans.

With an ice cream scoop, spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Place in oven. Bake until set, about 30-35 minutes.

Insert a knife in center of cup cake. When knife comes out clean, cup cakes are done. Turn out onto a platter.

For added moisture and flavor, stick holes in baked cup cakes with toothpicks or skewers while still warm. Pour whiskey over cupcakes to add moisture and flavor.

Ice with store-bought cream cheese frosting if desired.

Trending Video

Recommended for you