4th of July Desserts: Care for Dessert, Mr. President?
We present you with a complete list of the presidents and their favourite desserts that you can choose for your 4th of July desserts, because a president can have a sweet tooth, too! Some desserts, like chocolate chip cookies and Boston cream pie, will be more familiar, while others, such as cry babies, calas, and fat rascals, will require a little explanation. Happy reading this July 4th!
The Earliest Presidents
George Washington: the cherry lover is noted for adoring his wife’s ‘great cake’, a type of Christmas cake with lots of fruit, nuts, alcohol, and spices. He was also a fan of hoecakes with honey, a breakfast option from a Native American recipe.
John Adams: being from New England, he of course favoured the apple pan dowdy as a dessert. This is similar to an apple pie, but with brown sugar or molasses.
Thomas Jefferson: mentions of his favourite dessert all point to Monticello muffins, which are very simple breakfast scones similar to buttermilk biscuits.
James Madison: ice cream, ice cream, and more ice cream. He and his wife popularised the dessert even before the creation of freezers. He also enjoyed cinnamon cakes.
James Monroe: his favourite dessert was cry babies – a molasses and cinnamon cookie that can sometimes have chocolate or raisins included. Monroe also enjoyed cream jumble cookies.
John Quincy Adams: described as being “a curious mixture of the simple and sophisticated.” The only dessert information we could find mentioned was a preference for fruit.
Early 19th Century Presidents
Andrew Jackson: loved his wife’s burnt custard. Also floating islands, which is boiled custard with a whipped meringue topping.
Martin Van Buren: his favourite dessert was Charlotte Russe, which is a trifle-like French dessert with custard or cream contained in a round wall made from lady fingers. A beautiful dessert.
William Henry Harrison: pneumonia tragically killed Harrison a month after his inauguration so mentions of food were scarce. He did request that they serve pound cake at his inauguration, though.
John Tyler: a fan of the pudding pie! They mixed fresh coconut into the filling of his favourite dessert before pouring it over the graham cracker base.
James K. Polk: this president’s favourite dessert was the classic vinegar pie, common in the south, and most comparable to a silky custard pie.
Zachary Taylor: his pick was the Creole favourite, the calas. Known as a dumpling, a rice fritter, and a doughnut all in one, the French Quarter street vendors used to call out, “bel-calas-tous-chauds” to let people know the beautiful calas were still hot!
Millard Fillmore: while he was responsible for putting the first iron cook stove in the White House, therefore modernising it, we couldn’t find any mention of a favourite dessert for this president.
Franklin Pierce: loved New Hampshire fried pies, which also go by the name, “crab lanterns.” These crabapple pies look just as cute as they sound.
Later 19th Century Presidents
James Buchanan: the first and only bachelor Commander-in-Chief, his favourite dessert, apees, came from his hometown of Philadelphia. These are butter and spice cookies with German origins. He also liked moss rose cake, which was a type of almond cake.
Abraham Lincoln: a great fan of Mrs. Lincoln’s tart lemon custard pie, and her white cake – a cake that only uses egg whites, and white icing. Not out of place in the White House, if you ask us.
Andrew Johnson: was a sweet potato pudding kind of president. This delicious pudding can sometimes include coconut milk, other times orange juice, but sometimes just sugar cane or molasses.
Ulysses S. Grant: it’s said his Italian chef produced a simple rice pudding that pleased him immensely. The General was also a fan of Boston cream pies.
Rutherford B. Hayes: was partial to delicate cornmeal batter cakes, which can have the same toppings as regular pancakes.
James Garfield: this president’s favourite was American classic, the apple pie, with sour apples and made complete by a lattice top.
Chester A. Arthur: his dessert weakness was the rich layered chocolate cake, Devil’s Food Cake. Very understandable with its intense chocolate flavour.
Grover Cleveland: the only president to serve non-consecutive terms enjoyed white cake and cinnamon spiced snickerdoodle cookies.
Benjamin Harrison: his favourite dessert was the birthday bonbon! This is basically egg whites, powder sugar, dates, almonds, and cherries. Yum.
Early 20th Century Presidents
Theodore Roosevelt: fat rascals were his favourite. More precisely, a family recipe for the raisin-filled sweet biscuits that were served hot from the oven. He also loved Sagamore Hill sand tarts, cookies named after his property in Oyster Bay, NY.
William Howard Taft: this steak and potatoes type president is said to have loved a good old fashioned pumpkin pie.
Woodrow Wilson: there are lots of records for this president’s favourite dessert. We have the simple tea cake, peach cobbler, something called a Georgia Kiss Pudding, and Charlotte Russe.
Warren G. Harding: this president’s dessert pick were almond cookies made at home by his waffle-loving-wife.
Calvin Coolidge: noted as being an adventurous eater, Coolidge enjoyed ice box cookies, with brown sugar and walnuts, but there’s also mention of apple pie made with pork.
Herbert Hoover: loved Grandma Hoover’s cream peach pie, but is also said to adore the Thanksgiving favourite, sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows. Does this main accompaniment count as a favourite dessert?
Franklin Delano Roosevelt: a fan of blueberry pudding, but he liked fruit cakes – a dessert he enjoyed all year round.
Harry S. Truman: this president loved the rich taste of butterscotch cookies, and we can’t blame him. He also enjoyed Ozark pudding, with apples and nuts.
Later 20th Century Presidents
Dwight D. Eisenhower: said to enjoy the classic apple pie, as well as marble cookies that included chocolate and pecans. Eisenhower also loved his wife’s recipe for ‘million dollar fudge’, which had chocolate, marshmallow, and nuts inside.
John F. Kennedy: though partial to French cuisine, president Kennedy’s favourite dessert was said to be cream cheese and frozen strawberry delight.
Lyndon B. Johnson: enjoyed ranch apple fried pies, as well as his wife’s recipe for chocolate nut drop cookies. Fun fact, his wife’s nickname was Lady Bird. For this reason people referred to these as Lady Bird Chocolate Cookies.
Richard Nixon: adored his wife’s recipe for sugar cookies with lemon zest. Nixon also loved ice cream and fresh fruit.
Gerald Ford: this president’s choice was butter pecan ice cream, fresh strawberries, and sometimes lemon pudding. Ford apparently requested removing the sugar bowl from the dining table in support of the protests against high sugar prices at the time.
Jimmy Carter: his favourite dessert was the delicious peanut butter pie… We’re actually surprised this is the first mention of peanut butter so far!
Ronald Reagan: his favourites were coconut macaroons and jelly beans! He loved jelly beans so much that he apparently ordered more than 300K to distribute throughout the Capitol, the White House, and some other federal buildings.
George H.W. Bush: he was a big fan of his wife’s chocolate chip cookies, and the apple-cranberry brown betty.
21st Century Presidents
Bill Clinton: also a fan of the classic chocolate chip cookie, Clinton’s other favourite included cinnamon rolls, and baked pies.
George W. Bush: this punctual president’s favourite dessert is one we didn’t even know existed, the apple cider creme brulee. Yum!
Barack Obama: Obama’s said to enjoy salted caramel chocolates as well as a crustless coconut pie.
Donald Trump: the current president’s favourite desserts include the classic chocolate cake, and cherry vanilla ice cream.
We compiled this presidential dessert list by consulting a variety of sources that all show a different side to past and present Commanders-in-Chief. We hope you learned something new like we did!
You now have many ideas for 4th of July desserts. Happy 4th of July!