Old Fashioned Molasses Cake Recipe (From 1942)

In Cookbook, Recipes | Delicious and Quick Recipes for Real Food by Lisa Soldo-Johnson2 Comments


My Grandmother created some of the fondest memories of my childhood. She was a real-life Superwoman, a mother of eight, a farmer, a gardener, a cook, a housewife, an employee, and a beautiful Godly German woman who managed her way through the Great Depression while still giving a helping hand to strangers in need.

Through her example, she has taught me the value of hard work, dedication to family, and how to bake a down to earth, made-from-scratch, old-fashioned molasses cake.

What I find most charming about my Grandmother’s recipes are the dates she would scribble on the top of the little 2×3 index cards that carried all of her handwritten recipes. This recipe was dated 1942. The thing I appreciate most about her baking is her cakes and cookies were always made from scratch. I also love that there was something fresh and delicious baking in her oven every time we came to visit.

ingredients needed for molasses cake

Years ago, a good portion of the nation’s food production came straight from the farmers.  Mass food production was a technology that was only getting started during my grandmother’s generation. The ingredients she used came from her farm and were cleaner and healthier than they are today.

Like most of my family recipes, because of the way food production has changed our food supply, I try to improve the quality of the ingredients by replacing them with clean, organic options without compromising the texture or flavor. My goal is to keep each recipe as close to the original as possible while making it healthier for my family to eat.

My Grandmother’s old-fashioned molasses cake recipe is an excellent example of how easy it is to replace a few essential ingredients and improve the quality of the dessert.

In this recipe, I replaced Crisco vegetable shortening for the organic Spectrum brand. I also substituted the buttermilk, creating an equivalent by combining organic milk, Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, and baking soda.

The result is a cake that is sweet and flavorful rather than bitter and bulky which can often result from the use of processed buttermilk. I also use organic eggs rather than conventional. The result is a delicious, down to earth, old-fashioned molasses cake.  A recipe worth passing down for generations.

Advice from Lisa’s Kitchen: This cake always tastes better the day after it has baked.  Moisture soaks into the cake giving it a deeper flavor and texture than when first out of the oven.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you’ve made it please share it with me by tagging @culinary.butterfly on Instagram or @culinarybutterfly on Pinterest, or by using the hashtag #culinarybutterfly on Facebook

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Old Fashioned Molasses Cake Recipe Yum
1942 Old Fashioned Molasses Cake is packed with brown sugar, cinnamon and spice flavors that make this cake a delicious classic that pairs perfectly with vanilla ice cream or homemade whip cream.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword baking
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword baking
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
  2. You will need 4 mixing bowls. Whisk the milk, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until lightly foamy.
  4. In a third bowl, blend the dry ingredients including flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  5. Using a standing mixer or hand mixer, beat the shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar and molasses in a large bowl until creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add in the eggs and continue to beat until combined. Beat in the milk mixture.
  6. With the mixer running, slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the batter until completely blended. The batter will look slightly grainy.
  7. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the walnuts and raisins, mixing lightly until just combined.
  8. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Serve warm with icecream or whip cream.
Recipe Notes

When it comes to baking, always use the freshest ingredients for the best results.

Recipe by Bertha Lauer for www.culinarybutterfly.com


    1. Author

      Hi Gail,
      If you take a look at the ingredient list, it will say 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves. Hope that helps!

      Have a beautiful day

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