William Howard Taft was one of the first presidential biographies that I read when I decided a few years ago to embark upon a project to read a biography of each United States President. There are several things that stood out to me about him then. One of them is that he took dance lessons as a boy, and that his familiarity with dancing served him well later in his career. Under President McKinley’s administration, Taft was appointed Governor General to the Philippines. Dance was an important part of the culture there, and his comfort with dancing served him well diplomatically.

Another memorable episode in his life is his friendship with Theodore Roosevelt. Once the men were very close, then like many who were close, they became estranged. Later as older men they were able to put some of their differences aside. Their story felt a little AdamsJeffersonian, but only on the surface.

Like many presidents, Taft had an ambitious wife. She had big plans for her husband. He always had a love for law and the bench. She had her eyes on more executive functions. In the end, they both achieved their goals for him. In addition to serving the country as President. William Howard Taft also served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, appointed by President Warren Harding. Taft is the only man to have held both offices. 

Finally, Taft is the president who started the tradition of the president throwing out the first ball of the baseball season. Every president, with the exception of Jimmy Carter has participated in this ceremonial throw since at sometime in his presidency.


The cake: 

Because Taft was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, I wanted to play with the idea of Supreme. This cupcake should be decadent. The cake itself is a dark chocolate cupcake. It is filled with semisweet chocolate ganache. It is topped with a whiskey caramel flavored cream cheese frosting. For garnish, this cupcake has more chocolate ganache as well as homemade Cracker Jack, a nod to Taft’s baseball-related trendsetting. Though chocolate cupcakes aren’t my favorite, these flavors played very well together, and have given me some ideas for future presidential cupcakes.