Theodore Roosevelt’s Clove Cake

October 12, 2017

This recipe for vintage Clove Cake comes from the kitchen of Theodore Roosevelt, more particularly, from his wife, Edith. We discovered the recipe here in the First Ladies Cookbook. They say this was Teddy’s favorite cake.

Clove Cake

Roosevelt Clove Cake

Clove cake drenched in warm caramel sauce

Roosevelt Clove Cake

My picky three year old asked for seconds

This old fashioned cake tastes slightly similar to gingerbread. It was popular at the turn of the century to make cakes using molasses and raisins and this cake is no different. The Roosevelt’s suggested to serve the cake with slices of crystallized ginger on top, but since I knew my kids would never go for that, we topped ours with a warm caramel sauce and dollop of whipped cream instead. My pickiest eater devoured a slice and asked for seconds. I think she thought it was chocolate cake (shh… it’s our little secret). We’ll include the recipe for the caramel sauce below. It’s exquisite.


1/2 cup of butter (room temperature)

1 cup of sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup of molasses

1 teaspoon baking soda, mixed in the molasses

1/2 cup of milk

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon cloves, cinnamon, and allspice

1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg

3 cups raisins or finely chopped dates*


  1. Mix butter and sugar until fluffy; add eggs, beating well.
  2. Add molasses with soda, milk, and flour that has been sifted together with the spices. Beat well. Add raisins/dates.
  3. Bake in greased 8-inch tube or bundt pan at 350F for 40-45 minutes.
  4. Brush the top with butter, and garnish with overlapping slices of crystallized ginger. (Our preferred method is to top the cake with warm caramel sauce and whipped cream).

*soak raisins prior to adding to cake for a more plump consistency



  • 3 ½ tbsp butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Combine the butter, sugar, cream and vanilla in a small saucepan and cook it over low heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.
  2. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat and cook for 5-6 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Serve over cake.

Author: Andrea

Former news reporter and Capitol Hill press guru, wife, mom, and pastry addict.

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