A Family Favorite – Tea Cakes

My family has been so blessed that our elders live into their eighties, nineties and beyond. My grandfather lived to be 102!

Tea Cakes were one of his favorite desserts. So when we celebrated his 100th Birthday we had tea cakes for sure. I love making this recipe because it always makes me feel closer to him.

I also love it because it is full of flavor. The milk powder is toasted and so it gives a caramel like flavor from the sugars in the milk. I make them in a small batch so we end up with 9-12 little cakes. It is the perfect compliment to the end of a meal without being too much.

I like to keep them on the counter on a covered cake plate. They don’t last long but a few days is okay with me. I hope you enjoy the recipe and it gives you all the feels too.

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Tea Cakes

These were a favorite of my grandfather. I had so much fun recreating it. I hope I made him proud.
Course: Everything Else
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Buttermilk, Driy milk powder, tea cakes


Tea Cakes

  • 1/4 Cup Dry Milk Powder
  • 3/4 Cup Buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1-1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour, sifted
  • 1-1/12 tsps. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 6 Tbs. Unsalted Butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 2/3 Cup Granulated White Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 Lg. Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla


  • 4 Tbs. Unsalted Butter
  • 4 Tbs. Water, can use juice
  • 2 Tbs. Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 Cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt


Tea Cake

  • Preheat oven to 300°
    Spread the dry milk powder onto a pan lined with parchment paper and "toast" it. You are looking for a light golden brown color. This should take about 5 minutes.
    In a small bowl, whisk together cooled powder and buttermilk, until dissolved.
  • Increase oven temperature to 350°
    Line an 8x8 pan with standard size cupcake liners. You should have room for 9-12.
    In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand up mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and both sugars, on medium speed.
    Reduce speed and beat in egg and vanilla.
    Be sure to scrape down sides as needed.
  • Alternating with buttermilk, add the dry ingredients, in thirds. Be sure to start and finish with dry ingredients.
    Beat until just combined. Do not over mix!
    You can stir remaining dry spots, gently with a spatula.
  • Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 of the way up. I use a 2 ounce scoop.
    Bake for 15-20 minutes. A tester should come out with just a few moist crumbs.
  • Cool in pan for 5 minutes then cool completely on a rack.


  • Once the cakes are fully cooled, make the glaze.
    In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the water and brown sugar. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Do not let it come to a boil.
    Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
    Whisk in confectioners sugar and salt. Stir until thick and shiny.
  • Carefully dip and twist the tops of each cake in the glaze, until well coated Allow the excess to drip off.
    Set cakes back on cooling rack to let glaze set and harden
  • Cake will last 4 days in an airtight contatiner.

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