Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

Southern Kitchen
Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

About the recipe

Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes are a kid-friendly dessert snack served with your favorite tea. 

Chef and cookbook author Virginia Willis put a reader’s adaptation of her late mother’s tea cakes to the test, and Willis barely had to make an adjustment. Other than adding a little more flour, recipe tester Willis found that Dorothy Sims’ adaptation of her late mother’s pinch-of-this, dash-of-that cookies worked great.

Serves: Makes about 5 dozen

Hands On Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes


5 cups self-rising flour

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup lard or vegetable shortening

2 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick silicone baking sheet or parchment paper; set aside.

Sift flour into a large bowl; set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and lard with the sugar until pale yellow. Add the beaten eggs. Add buttermilk and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add flour and mix until well-combined. Transfer to a piece of plastic wrap and shape the dough into a disk. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time (keeping the remainder chilled), roll the dough out between sheets of plastic wrap to 1/8-inch thick. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, cut into rounds. Place the tea cakes on the baking sheet.

Bake until pale golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool slightly, then remove the tea cakes to the rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.