Just What Are Tea Cakes Anyway?

In the South

If you grew up in North America, especially the Southeastern United States, tea cakes are a traditional dense, large cookie, made with sugar, butter, eggs, flour and milk. I have a wonderful Southern TeaCake recipe that I want to share with you, that many from the south say is “just like Momma use to make!"

United Kingdom

But, if you grew up in the United Kingdom, you know them as a kind of bread or cake. The name is commonly used for whatever bread or cake is traditionally served for afternoon tea within a region. The name can be applied loosely to any kind of cake that is sturdy enough to be picked up with the fingers, and is normally not frosted.

The more traditional type are usually toasted and served with butter and jam for breakfast or a light midmorning snack. Tea cakes can also be a light, sweet, yeast-based bun containing dried fruits.

Russian TeaCakes

One of my personal favorites is a Russian teacake, that is typically served at Christmas or Hanukah, and also at weddings! You may have also heard them referred to as Mexican Wedding cookies. This is reportedly because in the 1950's when the US's relationship with Russian began to wand, the name was changed to Mexican Wedding Cookies. What ever you call them, they are delicious and easy to make.

Tea Bread

Now, if you are like me, and always thought of teacake as a sweet tea bread, or coffee cake, you won’t be disappointed either. I have included several scrumptious tea bread recipes that can be made ahead of time or frozen.

They also make lovely gifts to give your friends and family! Try wrapping in parchment paper and tying up with a pretty ribbon. Attach a hand written recipe card, along with a couple of tea bags of your favorite teas, and you’ll have a truly personalized gift that any Tea Lover will love!

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