The Edible Bracket 2011

Last year's winners of the MNCAAPG Best Bracket contest are back. This March Madness season, we will be documenting foods associated with the competing schools. Consider it March Madness, Top Chef Edition.

UCONN Huskies (Storrs, CT): Hartford Election Cake


Together, we have spent 11 years of our life in Connecticut.  And when we think of Connecticut cuisine, we tend to think of the Italian cuisine prevalent in Southern Connecticut.  The apizza of Wooster Street, the Italian ices, the cannolis

But being so familiar with Connecticut meant that we couldn’t just cook up an Italian feast and slap the Huskies’ name on it.  (Here’s hoping Fairfield pulls it out.)  We knew there had to be a food more particular to the central part of Connecticut.  And so we stumbled upon a uniquely central Connecticut food: Election Cake.

Apparently, the Puritans who lived in Hartford (OK, so it’s not exactly Storrs, but it’s close enough) were really into Election Day.  And not so into celebrating other holidays (being puritanical and all).  So to celebrate Election Day they made a cake.  A really delicious cake. 

Hartford Election Cake
from the Washington Post

For Cake
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
3 1/4 cups flour, divided
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsps. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs

For Glaze
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsps. milk

Mix together yeast and warm water, then add milk.  Mixture should foam (very) slightly.  Add in 1 1/2 cups flour in stages until mixture is well blended.  Cover and place mixture in a warm place for about 45 minutes, until size of mixture has doubled.

While yeast mix is rising, mix together 1 3/4 cups flour with the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Set aside.  Chop the raisins and the pecans and mix together in a separate bowl. Set aside. 

When yeast mix has risen fully, cream together the butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, beating between the addition of each egg.  Add yeast mixture and blend well.  Add dry ingredients slowly, blending well.  Finally, add in the raisins and pecans, mixing them in well.

Grease and flour a bundt pan, and pour (or, more accurately, nudge) the batter into the pan.  Cover and let rise until batter has reached almost the top of the pan (around 2 hours).

Place pan in 350-degree oven for around 35-40 minutes, or until cake is golden.  Let cool for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto a plate to finish cooling.

When cake has cooled, pour glaze on top.  Make glaze by whisking together the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and milk.