Happy Election Day.
Wow, what an important election year this is. I personally believe voting is a private matter and I respect everyone's voting choice, no matter what candidate you choose. Two weeks before the election, I spent some time in Washington DC.
Discovering our nation's capitol became more of a spiritual journey. Depicting our nation's history, though bloody and brutal, and our presidential past enhanced my appreciation for this country.
There is no other president more well known than Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Memorial is one of the most visited sites in the DC Mall area. Old, wise and interesting - Abe Lincoln is a beloved icon of our nation's past and path to freedom.
The old colonial streets ignite the sense that the 1800's are still alive. It's one of the most preserved cities in the US. It's old. It's beautiful. It's amazing. The best part of DC is that American flags fly high everywhere. It gave me a sense of patriotism that I haven't felt since childhood.
After living abroad several times, I at times, lost my sense of American identity because I was so upset by the lack of support, education and affordability within the food, drug and health industries. Many cultures were anti-American, and it took me a long time to appreciate the good of this country.
DC (and Phili) inspired me to touch base with our nation's history. I picked up Lincoln's second inauguration speech, the Bill of Rights and a quill pen, hoping to take up the art of calligraphy and understanding.
When in DC, be sure to also visit the Ford's Theatre, the place where Ab Lincoln was assassinated. Across the street is the place where Lincoln passed away.
In celebration of election day, I decided to make this historic form of white cake - vegan style.
It's quit easy to make, and will be the perfect sweet to eat (or binge on emotionally) while watching the polls. Sadly, one side of the party will be disappointed on November 8th.
According to the blog that states the original recipe, "There are reports attributable to President Lincoln that this cake of his wife's was the best he ever ate...This delicious cake was the invention of Monsieur Giron, a Lexington [KY] caterer, who created it in honor of the visit to that city in 1825 of his fellow Frenchman, Lafayette. The Todd family acquired the recipe and cherished it ever after." (click on the link).
Mary loved to entertain, and she was known for this white cake recipe that she adopted from the Kentucky baker. Her Southern hospitality welcomed countless individuals into the Lincoln home for entertaining. She made this cake even as the First Lady.
"My wife is as handsome as when she was a girl, and I, a poor nobody then, fell in love with her; and what is more, I have never fallen out." Abraham Lincoln
And love can sometimes find its way through the gut. Abe and Mary had a true love, but separated during their engagement for 18 months. Eventually, they both found their way back to each other with the aide of mutual friends.
This is a test, that no matter who's in office - love is something that is tough for every man and woman.
On this election day, I hope you can spread the love of history with the traditional cake made specifically for vegans.
The original Mary Todd's cake is found on this link. I altered the recipe by replacing 1 cup of applesauce for the six egg whites. Usually 2 egg whites = 1 egg. 1/3 cup of applesauce = 1 egg.
I ramped up the vanilla with 1.5 tablespoons. I started with one tablespoon and added the other half after completely mixing the batter. The extra vanilla minimizes the sugary taste and bumps up the vanilla taste.
Today, Americans consume too much sugar. Since I used applesauce to replace the egg, I reduced the sugar from two to one cups. This way, it stays sweet, just like white cake, without too much sugar.
By far, this is one of the best cakes I've ever baked. Sometimes the old and simple recipes are some of the best.
I used a small bundt cake pan, but you can place the batter directly into one large bundt or angel food cake. The original cake was made similar to angel food cake. Alternatively, you can use two nine-inch pans.
I followed the directions on the original recipe with the exception of placing the vanilla in the creamed butter. I used an egg beater to mix the cake, but you can certainly use a mixer.
Mary Todd's Vanilla Almond Cake - Vegan Style
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
Makes: Approximately 10 small bundt cakes, 1 large bundt cake, 1 large angel food cake OR Two 9-inch round cakes
3 cups of all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup vegan butter at room temperature (2 Earth Balance buttery sticks)
1 cup almond milk
1 cup applesauce
1 cup blanched almonds, finely chopped
1.5 tbsp vanilla extract
Begin by finely chopping or food processing the almonds. And preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together the butter, vanilla and sugar until smooth. Sift the flour into the sugar-butter mix, alternating with the milk. I added the flour and milk in four batches. Add in the almonds and beat vigorously until mixed together.
With a spatula, fold the applesauce into the cake flour. Be careful not to over mix at this point. Pour the mixture into the greased pan and place it in the oven.
The cooking time varies on what pan you use. The small bundt cakes cook in 20 to 25 minutes where one bundt/angel food pan requires more time. The cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool for 10-15 minutes. Use a plate or a wire rack and place it on top of the cake pan. Turn the wire-pan upside down so the cake gently slides out of the pan and onto the plate/rack. Enjoy!
What is your favorite historic recipe?
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Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com