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President William McKinley is one of those presidents who stands out in a history class not because of who he was, but because his presidency marked one of those pivotal eras in American history. When you get to the McKinley unit, you’re likely to hear about how his administration set the stage for the United States to become a force in the Pacific. You might read that McKinley was the president that put the United States on the path to world power. Alongside these ideas, you’ll hear about the Spanish American War, and the annexation of Hawaii. McKinley is the part of the presidential line-up where you start to recognize their names again: McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson….

1901 should have been a good year for President McKinley. He had just begun his second term in the White House as the first incumbent to be elected to a second term since the Civil War darling, President Grant.  Instead, 1901 was the year that killed President McKinley. At the Pan-American Exposition, a world’s fair held in New York, Leon Czolgosz shot him at close range. While the Secret Service had begun informal part-time protection of President Cleveland a few years before, McKinley’s assassination is the event that led to the congressional request that the president be protected on a full-time basis.

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The cake:

Because of McKinley’s role in the annexation of Hawaii, I wanted to play with tropical flavors for his cupcake. The cake itself is pineapple-flavored. Inside is a bit of mango-flavored whipped cream. The cupcake is topped with macadamia nut buttercream. Those who tasted this cupcake gave it rave reviews. I was a bit more critical though. I loved the flavor of the cupcake, but I didn’t love the texture of this particular cake. However, I have some ideas about how to maintain the flavor and fix how it feels.

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