Wilton scavenger hunt and election day cake

The Hartford election cake is an election day tradition.

The Hartford election cake is an election day tradition.

Frank Whitman / For Hearst Connecticut Media

Election day at the Wilton Historical Society brings the eighth annual scavenger hunt for kids followed by the serving of election day cake. On Tuesday, Nov. 5, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., kids 8 and up can peer into the corners, lofts, nooks and crannies of the society’s historic houses and barns, searching for the answers to clues.

The cost for members is $10 per child per family; non-members pay $15 per family. Register at info@wiltonhistorical.org or call 203-762-7257. The Wilton Historical Society is at 224 Danbury Road.

According to the historical society, election day was a day of great celebration in the 18th and 19th centuries. Voters traveled to major cities like Hartford to cast their ballots and then stayed to socialize and celebrate. Often, city residents hosted elaborate banquets where the dessert course consisted of coffee, hot cider, and a generous portion of election cake.

Full of fruits and nuts, this confection is a cross between bread and cake. While there are numerous versions, one recipe from 1890 includes butter, sugar, flour, eggs, baking powder, raisins, currants, citron, almonds, vanilla, and milk.

Election cake is often associated with Hartford because it was served at the elaborate parades and balls held in the early 1800s, but Connecticut recipes date back to 1771, when it was likely eaten during daylong town meetings or as a reward for their service after a long day of voting. Sometimes political party advocates handed out election cake to those who voted a straight ticket.