Rutherford Hayes‘ beard always reminded me of Shredded Wheat cereal. I remember looking at it in a book about the presidents that my family had.
I understand that for other people, thinking about the presidents doesn’t match up with thinking about comestibles. For most other people who have taken an American history class, Hayes is one part of the Hayes-Tilden Compromise (aka The Compromise of 1877). The presidential election that gave us Rutherford B. Hayes was one of the most contested in American history. Samuel Tilden received more votes than Rutherford Hayes in the popular votes. The Electoral College tally was more complicated. 180 of the votes certainly went to Tilden. 165 of them certainly went to Hayes. 20 of them, from Oregon, South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida, were up in the air. In the end, Hayes was awarded all of the Electoral College votes that were in question with the understanding that he would remove federal troops from the southern states, effectively ending Reconstruction. This election remains the one with the narrowest Electoral College vote margin.
On a lighter note, many people might also know that no alcohol was served in the White House when Rutherford B. Hayes was president. This is part of how his wife, Lucy Webb Hayes, got the nickname Lemonade Lucy. (The other part had to do with her status as a temperance advocate.) However, it was President Hayes who decided that alcohol wouldn’t be a part of White House entertaining. He understood that pro-temperance forces were important to his party.
From the beginning of Head of State Cakes, I knew that I wanted to make a Lemonade Lucy cupcake. The cake is vanilla bean and lemon flavored. It is filled with homemade lemon curd. The frosting is lemon meringue frosting, and topped with yellow lemon pearls. No alcohol was harmed in the making of this cupcake. It looks like the cupcake didn’t suffer either. My son, who isn’t the biggest sweets fan, had some very specific questions about where these cupcakes were going…and that’s after he saw that there were two dozen of them.