2 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup dark unsulphured molasses
1 cup hot (not boiling) water
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Oil an 8x8-inch pan. Preheat the oven to 350f for a metal pan or 325f if using an ovenproof glass pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt with a wooden spoon. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sugar, and egg. In a small bowl or glass measure, stir the molasses into the hot water until completely blended.
Add about one-third of the flour mixture to the butter-sugar-egg mixture and whisk together just to moisten the ingredients. Then whisk in about half of the molasses mixture. Continue by adding another third o f the flour mixture, then the other half of the molasses mixture, then the final third of the flour mixture. Whisk just until all the patches of white disappear. Do not overmix.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean and the cake has pulled away somewhat from the sides of the pan. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
Serve warm from the pan, or turn the cake out onto a rack to cool. This is a good keeper and will stay fresh for several days, covered, at room temperature.