Molasses Cake Bars

This recipe is from the “Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook 1968", one of the first cookbooks I purchased after I got married. Surprisingly, although my cookbook is starting to fall apart and the pages are getting brown and crinkly, I had never made this recipe before, perhaps because it isn’t a “kid’s” recipe.
These are, however, easy to make, smelled wonderful while baking and cooling, and tasted delicious with a cup of coffee or tea.  They are not as rich as many gingerbread recipes,  but just as tasty.  Another keeper.
I took the liberty of adding a teaspoon or so of grated orange peel from my freezer “stash” to the icing for a little more interest.  I have had to purchase a very small jar of instant coffee to keep on hand for recipes like this one and My Mom’s Best Cookies.  I froze some of these after frosting them, and they were good right out of the freezer.           
Molasses Cake Bars
     ½ Cup Shortening -- 3 1/4 oz
     ½ Cup Sugar -- 3 1/2 oz
  1     Large Egg
     ½ Cup Molasses -- light - 5 1/2 oz
  1 ½ Cups Sifted All Purpose Flour -- 6 oz
     ½ Teaspoon Salt
  1 ½ Teaspoons Baking Powder
     ¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  1      Teaspoon Instant Coffee Powder
  1      Teaspoon Cinnamon
     ½ Teaspoon Cloves -- ground
  2      Cups  Powdered Sugar -- 8 oz
          Dash  Salt
  1      Teaspoon  Vanilla Extract
          Light Cream -- as needed
Cream shortening and sugar; add egg; beat well.  Mix in molasses and 1/2 cup water. 
Sift together remaining ingredients.  Stir into creamed mixture.
Pour into greased 13 x 9 x 2" pan.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.
While warm, frost with Powdered Sugar Icing.  Mix icing ingredients for a thin glaze.
Cut into 24 squares.


  1. Happy holidays. They sound good.

  2. Have a very Merry Christmas! I love your blog so much and feel, after years of following, that you are a friend. Be blessed this holiday and in the coming year.

  3. Sounds good. I love anything with molasses. I assume it will work with butter instead of shortening as I don't have shortening. I have been going through several of your and Myrna's recipes from the fifties, truly a simpler time and intend to make them over the next few weeks.

    I am impressed by the amount of knowledge and work in your blog. The fact that you have actually made all the recipes is very apparent and different from many recipe blogs. Thank you for continuing to post. The Iowa Housewife is an oasis of sanity in an increasing crazy world.

    May you and your family have a joyful and peaceful Christmas.

    1. There is only a small ratio of fat to the total recipe, so I would think substituting butter would work OK.
      Merry Christmas to you.

  4. I might have to give these a try using gluten free flour. I will take to a Sunday eve gathering we have every other week. Potluck so that would be perfect for a dessert and something I could eat. I have celiac so many foods I have to forego not knowing the ingredients. I always bring something I know is safe for me to eat.


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