Election coming up? Get out there and vote! Then celebrate with this easy, egg-free election snack cake. Swirled with blue and red, then frosted, it’s a reminder that no matter where we stand, we are ultimately united.
Darlings, as we head straight into another election season, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. In my case, that means baking a simple cake to share with you. Did you know only 60% of the registered voters in the United States voted in the last presidential election? Only about half voted in the last mid-term elections. If baking a cake will encourage you to vote, let’s bake!
This cake is different than the traditional election cake, which voters used to receive at the polls after turning in their ballots. That cake was baked in a bundt pan, not as sweet, and somewhere between a cake and a bread. The recipe I linked to is worth checking out for the cake’s history. Nowadays you just get a sticker after voting. That’s okay though, we’ll bake our own cake!
Why bake an election snack cake?
This swirled snack cake is a great reminder to VOTE!
When you go to a restaurant, you like to know that the kitchen staff will prepare your favorite dish just the way you like it, right? Think of this country like a restaurant. The topics are your menu items, and the kitchen staff is the elected officials. Everyone doesn’t fit in the kitchen to cook. Since you can’t do it all yourself, choosing staff that cooks the way you like is important. You may not love everything about their cooking style, but you’re definitely going to vote for someone who cooks the way you prefer most of the time. Right? Vote.
If you have little people (aka – future voters), baking with them provides an excellent opportunity to talk about the importance of voting. My girls were with me during the shoot for this cake. We had a great talk about how officials are elected and why it’s our civic duty to vote in all elections. We talked about looking at the issues, where each candidate stands, and the importance of thinking through our vote before casting. Then we talked about how each person elected is accountable to the people who voted for them.
Honestly, I’m not sure how much they understood or remember from the conversation. But they’re young and it’s a start. The kids are old enough this election to start seeing the division between parties and different viewpoints. My big goal for this cake, and the inspiration behind the design, is to teach them that elections aren’t a war.
About the cake’s design…
Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” And yet, with the 24/7 news media, the internet, and the talking heads that get more clicks and ad revenue with increasingly divisive messages, that’s where we are. But I believe it doesn’t have to be that way.
We can have different opinions on how to accomplish things. But if we all work to the same goal – a peaceful and safe country where we can raise our families without fear, find opportunities if we work hard enough, and be active and fruitful members of our communities – in the end, it all works out.
It doesn’t work if we let fear and anger guide decisions. If we won’t listen to each other. And if we are just looking for what benefits us the most no matter who or what it hurts. We aren’t separate layers of red and blue.
We are one big pan mixed together. And like a jambalaya, chili, chopped salad, or swirled cake, together we are better than our individual parts. It doesn’t mean we lose what makes each of us unique, but we see ourselves as parts of a larger community.
This is why I chose to keep the frosting a single color. Red and blue are the colors used by the two major political parties here in the US. Since we’ve got a patriotic thing going, the frosting is white for two reasons. First, vanilla cake gets vanilla frosting because it tastes good. Second, the colors of the American flag are red, white, and blue, so by using a white frosting, we have red, white, and blue cake.
I’m all for having special cake for a presidential election, but this recipe is too good to store away for once every 4 years. It’s just as delicious for any other patriotic holiday, so let’s make that happen, yes? 😉
A few recipe notes…
You might notice the recipe is tagged under the “Baking for B2” category which I introduced in this small-batch pumpkin muffin post. That means it’s easy to adapt for those with common allergies. So that means if you need a snack cake that’s vegan and dairy-free, this one fits the bill! If you’d rather use regular milk and butter in the frosting, that works too! The cake is egg free regardless, so no substitutions there.
As always, if you are baking for allergies, make sure all your ingredients are safe by reading the labels. For example, this election snack cake would be perfect for a friend’s son. But if I were to make it for my nephew, I’d need to find a different butter for the frosting because the non-dairy butter sticks I like to use contain pea protein. Legumes are a no-go for my B2.
To keep the cake texture from getting too dense, make sure not to over-mix. This is easy to do when you have to split batter and stir in additional color. I prefer to mix cakes like this by hand for that reason. Make your batter in a large bowl. When it’s mostly mixed (a few small flour streaks might remain), divide it in half and color. By the time you’ve colored your batter, everything is perfectly mixed!
Use gel food coloring to get the vibrant colors shown with only 2-3 drops of color. You can find gel food coloring online or at many craft stores. You can use liquid coloring, but you’ll need to add a little more. Natural food coloring won’t give you colors that are quite as vibrant, but it’s an option should you need it.
Since it’s a simple cake, I keep decorations basic by leaving the frosting uncolored and adding sprinkles. You can also pipe on the word “vote” if you’re making this for an election. To add sprinkle letters, I placed a letter-shaped cookie cutter on my cake and then spooned sprinkles into it. Use food-only tweezers to remove rogue sprinkles. I used non-pariels (round sprinkles) on this cake. If you can find jimmies (the sprinkles that look like sticks), they’re far easier to work with.
The top and bottom of the cake are cake sparkles in red and blue. If I were making this for a Labor day, Memorial Day, or 4th of July barbecue, I would just use a red, white, and blue sprinkle mix. Do what works for you, darlings. Cakes are perfect canvases for kitchen creativity.
I hope you love this election snack cake recipe darlings! Give it a try, snap a photo (tag me!), and go vote!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (see notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup milk (see notes)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (i.e. - vegetable, canola, avocado oil)
- 4 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- red and blue food coloring
- 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened (see notes)
- 2 cups powdered sugar (see notes)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- fun sprinkles! (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Spray or butter an 8-inch square pan and line with parchment paper. This makes it easy to lift out your cake. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
- Combine the milk, sugar, vinegar, oil, and vanilla extract in a smaller mixing bowl.
- Pour the contents of the small mixing bowl into the large mixing bowl and stir until just combined. If you have a few small streaks of flour at this point, it's okay.
- Divide the batter into 2 equal portions. Color one with the red food coloring and the other with the blue food coloring.
- Spoon the batter into your prepared baking pan. To get the best swirl, alternate spoonfuls of red and blue batter along the bottom of the pan, then top each dollop with a spoonful of the opposite color. Use a chopstick or butter knife to swirl the dollops together. Tap on the counter twice to help ensure even batter distribution.
- Bake for about 30 minutes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. One or two moist crumbs are okay. Set the cake pan on a rack to completely cool.
- While the cake is cooling, prepare your frosting. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a large bowl and a hand mixer), cream the butter on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Add the powdered sugar, salt (if using), and vanilla extract. Stir on low speed to combine. Add a little more powdered sugar for a stiffer frosting, or a little milk if the frosting is too thick.
- Once the cake is cool, remove it to a serving board (if you'd like) and frost. You may also frost in the pan. Use an offset spatula to smooth the icing.
- To decorate, you may top with a simple dusting of pretty sprinkles. If you'd like to create the word "VOTE", place letter-shaped cookie cutters on the cake, one by one. Use a small spoon to add just enough sprinkles to fill the base of the cutter, then carefully lift the cutter off the cake. Repeat for the remaining letters. Enjoy your cake!
- Leftover cake may be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated up to a week. Remove a few minutes before serving to let the frosting soften slightly.
- If you'd like to make this cake gluten-free, use a 1-to-1 all-purpose gluten-free flour blend in this cake. It works nicely.
- For a dairy-free cake, use your favorite non-dairy milk. I recommend using the "unsweetened" version to avoid adding extra sweetness to the cake. If you only have sweetened milk, I'd recommend cutting down the sugar to just 2/3 cup.
- You may use non-dairy butter here too. Salted or unsalted butter works, but if you use salted butter, omit the pinch of salt.
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