I have always thought that Ulysses S. Grant was the most handsome of our presidents. There, I said it.

If it can be said that the Civil War had a darling, from the Union point of view, that would have been Ulysses S. Grant. Most of his fame came from his deeds on the field, rather than his deeds in office. There is so much that can be said about President Grant. He was a devoted father. He was a talented horseman. He desperately missed his wife when he was away from her. He was squeamish at the sight of blood, so much so that he couldn’t bear rare meat. One could even say that he felt that it was his duty to try to help the United States recover from the Andrew Johnson presidency, and that he felt obliged to run for president despite his general dislike of politics. One could wonder how he dealt with the Lincoln assassination on a personal level, considering that he and his wife were supposed to go to the theater with the Lincolns the night that the 16th president was slain.

However, usually, when he comes up in conversation, most people either say something about the scandals that plagued his presidency or about his drinking. Usually in that conversation no one mentions that he wasn’t actually proven to have done wrong in association with these scandals. Also, the interpretations of his drinking vary. Some say that he just wasn’t able to handle alcohol very well, that small quantities impacted him greatly. This is a different image than that of someone who just can’t quench a thirst for fiery water.

If there was a pleasure that was to injure him more, however, it was smoking. At one point, Grant told a reporter that he enjoyed cigars. After that, the public sent him cigars, thousands of them. Grant received so many cigars that he actively gave them away. Even then, he had more cigars than he would have ever needed. Not surprisingly, he began to enjoy cigars more frequently. Not surprisingly, he later developed a case of terminal throat cancer.


The cake

This is probably the worst sentence ever, ┬ábut I wanted to do something with Grant’s cancer in this cake. For an unfortunate moment, the idea of doing something with tobacco crossed my mind. Then, my whole body recoiled in horror. But I wanted to get at those cigars that likely lead to his death. Then the answer came to me. I needed to focus not on tobacco, but the flavor of smoke itself. So, I decided to make a lapsang souchong tea flavored cupcake. The cupcake is filled with whiskey marshmallow cream and topped with whiskey buttercream. There is blue sugar on top. This is a nod to Union Army uniform, the blue coats that the soldiers wore when such coats were still available.