Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes Recipe

Indulge in Southern Charm with this Classic Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes Recipe

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Step into the warm embrace of Southern hospitality with this timeless Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes recipe. Reminiscent of lazy afternoons on the porch and cherished family gatherings, these tender and buttery treats are a beloved tradition in Southern kitchens. With simple ingredients and a touch of nostalgia, let’s embark on a journey to rediscover the joy of homemade tea cakes.

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  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered nutmeg


  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream Butter and Sugar: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add Eggs and Vanilla: Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Then, mix in the vanilla extract.
  4. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and powdered nutmeg.
  5. Incorporate Dry Ingredients: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, mixing until a soft dough forms.
  6. Chill Dough (Optional): For easier handling, you can chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  7. Shape the Dough: Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes, such as rounds or squares.
  8. Bake: Place the shaped tea cakes onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them slightly apart. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden.
  9. Cool and Serve: Allow the tea cakes to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve and enjoy with a cup of hot tea or coffee.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Texture Variation: For a softer texture, you can substitute half of the butter with vegetable shortening or margarine.
  • Flavor Enhancements: Add a dash of cinnamon or lemon zest to the dough for a hint of extra flavor.
  • Glaze or Frosting: Drizzle the cooled tea cakes with a simple powdered sugar glaze or frost them with your favorite frosting for a sweeter indulgence.
  • Dipped in Chocolate: Dip half of each tea cake in melted chocolate and let them set for an elegant touch.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

  • Keto Option: Replace the plain flour with almond flour and use a low-carb sweetener like erythritol or stevia instead of granulated sugar. Adjust the quantities to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs.
  • Low-Carb Variation: Swap out the granulated sugar for a sugar substitute like monk fruit sweetener or a blend of erythritol and stevia. You can also use coconut flour instead of plain flour for a lower carb count.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I freeze the tea cakes for later? A: Yes, these tea cakes freeze well! Once cooled completely, store them in an airtight container or freezer bag, separating layers with parchment paper. They can be kept frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Q: Can I use salted butter instead of unsalted butter? A: Yes, you can use salted butter, but you may want to reduce the amount of added salt in the recipe to avoid over-salting the tea cakes.

Q: What’s the best way to store leftover tea cakes? A: Store the cooled tea cakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. You can also store them in the refrigerator for longer shelf life.

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In conclusion, these Old-Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes are more than just a sweet treat; they’re a cherished symbol of Southern culinary heritage. With their delicate crumb and buttery flavor, they’re sure to evoke fond memories and create new ones with every bite. Whether enjoyed as a midday snack or served at special occasions, these tea cakes are a delightful indulgence that transcends time. So, gather your loved ones, brew a pot of tea, and savor the simple pleasures of life with this classic recipe.

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