Christmas Tea Cakes

Sharing is caring!

Tea cakes are a Southern old-fashioned soul food treat renamed Christmas tea cakes with the use of Christmas cookie cutters and lemon frosting. (Mmm!)

This recipe puts a holiday twist on a favorite soul food recipe.

Christmas Tea Cakes

 

What is a Southern tea cake?

African American tea cakes are a somewhat fancy little Southern dessert. Especially when they’re served as holiday Christmas tea cakes!

Little round cakes. Light, airy, and sometimes compared to soda bread or pound cake.

Tea cakes are typically served with hot tea at gatherings like holidays, weddings, christenings, and family events. Or any other pomp and circumstance dress-up occasion (which Black folks love!).

How do you eat tea cakes?

This isn’t a pound cake recipe, tho! 

These little cakes are kinda like cookies – but they’re not. 

So what is a tea cake good at?

These sweet little biscuits, tea cakes are cherished in the South as the perfect accompaniment to high tea. (Pinkies up and teabags down!)

Christmas tea cakes are also delicious with a homemade Christmas eggnog recipe!

Why do you call tea cakes tea cakes?

Why do you call tea cakes tea cakes?

Thus, the “tea” part of the name derives from these delights served at teatime!

Where are tea cakes originally from?

Black folks’ tea cake is a Southern US tradition with African-American roots. 

Who made the original tea cakes?

It’s believed that the Black folks’ tea cake was created by enslaved African-Americans to reproduce the fluffy European confections that white Americans were accustomed to.

Who invented the tea cake?

Culinary historians say tea cakes may have evolved from the English tea cake. A light and sweet yeast-based bun often containing dried fruit flavors like prunes or raisins. 

African Americans made their own version of tea cakes based on what was available to them with limited baking supplies.

This recipe is the same old-fashioned Black folks’ tea cake recipe – only in the shape of Christmas tea cake cookies!

How do you make tea cakes?

How do you make tea cakes?

You can make a batch of these delicious treats in about 20 minutes! 

The best part about this recipe is that it only requires a handful of your pantry’s most essential ingredients. Nearly all of which you probably have in your kitchen right now!

 

Ready to learn how to make Christmas tea cakes at home?

Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s get baking!

Ready to learn how to make Christmas tea cakes at home?

Kitchen equipment for Christmas tea cakes

Shop my kitchenware!

Instant Pot Omni Plus oven  |  KitchenAid stand mixer  |  KitchenAid rolling pin  |  Amazon baking sheet  |  The Pioneer Woman measuring bowls  |  Pyrex measuring glass  |  The Pioneer Woman sifter  |  Amazon stainless steel mixing bowls  |  Kate Aspen heart-shaped measuring spoons  |  Amazon small rubber spatula  | Amazon cutting board |  Christmas cookie cutters  |   The Pioneer Woman similar plate  |  MacKenzie Childs similar tea towel  |  Anthropologie dish cloth  | Christmas sprinkles |

How do you keep the dough from being too sticky?

Ingredients for Christmas tea cakes

  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour or cake flour, plus 1 cup extra for rolling the dough ( I used all-purpose flour)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup of sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
  • ½ cup of evaporated milk
  • ½ tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • Christmas sprinkles, optional
Ingredients for the Christmas tea cake icing 

Ingredients for the Christmas tea cake icing 

  • 2 ½ cups of powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • 4 tablespoons of lemon juice

 

Instructions for Christmas tea cakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Using a stand or hand mixer, mix the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a medium-sized bowl for about 2 minutes until creamy. 
  3. Add the egg, lemon zest, sour cream, mayonnaise, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract.
  4. Mix until well blended to make the tea cake batter.
  5. Sift together the remaining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg over a sheet of parchment paper large enough to fit your baking sheet.
  6. Fold the parchment paper to pour the sifted flour mixture into the tea cake batter and then mix again.
  7. Add the batter to a lightly floured surface and roll the dough to approx ¼ inch thickness. This is where the extra cup of flour will come in handy to help with rolling because the dough is sticky!
  8. Cut out the tea cakes with 2 ½” up to 3″ cookie cutters.
  9. Place the cut-outs onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet about one inch apart. (You may need to bake more than 1 batch if all your Christmas tea cakes don’t fit on your baking sheet.)
  10. Bake until light brown (but don’t let them get too brown!). 5-6 minutes in the conventional oven and 3-4 minutes in the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven. (Tea cakes don’t take long to bake, so keep a close eye on them to avoid burning! Like a biscuit, you want them firm on the outside and fluffy on the inside.)
  11. When the tea cakes are finished baking and cooling, make the lemon glaze frosting by combining the powdered sugar and lemon juice. 
  12. Mix well with a whisk to remove any lumps from the powdered sugar.
  13. Use a small spatula or spoon to drop a dollop of icing onto each cooled tea cake and optionally garnish with Christmas sprinkles! (The icing will harden in about 5 minutes.)
  14. Serve Christmas tea cakes once the icing has dried, and enjoy!

Pro tips: 

  • I’ve found secret ingredients sour cream and mayonnaise are a must-have to effortlessly achieve a light and fluffy tea cake!
  • I divided my tea cake dough and froze the other half by placing it in a zip-lock freezer bag. This way, I only baked what I needed – about 15 tea cakes. ( I used a 2 ¾” round biscuit cutter.)

How do you make icing for cookies?

  • I replace the lemon zest with orange zest when making Christmas tea cakes. Orange citrus combines nicely with the nutmeg for a warm, sweet holiday appeal!
What is a tea cake called at Christmas?

Christmas tea cakes FAQS

What is a tea cake called at Christmas?

Christmas tea cakes are often called snowball cookies. Or lumped in with all holiday treats and simply called Christmas cookies.

How many dozens does this recipe make?

This recipe makes about 3 dozen tea cakes, depending on the size of your cookie cutter or biscuit cutter.

How many dozens does this recipe make?

How do you keep the dough from being too sticky?

  • This recipe includes secret ingredients sour cream and mayonnaise to easily yield a tea cake with a moist and fluffy cake-like consistency. 
  • It also calls for an extra cup of flour for ease in rolling the dough. 
  • Lightly spread the reserved flour on the counter before rolling the tea cake dough – but don’t use it all there!
  • You’ll want to add more flour as your continue rolling to keep the dough from sticking.

What is a Russian tea cake?

Have you ever heard of Russian tea cakes?

While I’ve never had a Russian tea cake, one of the main characteristics is that they are very thick and round in shape. And the consistency tends to be even more like cake. 

They often have a delicate sugar coating on top that doesn’t stand out until it’s gone (which means only one bite).  

The Southern tea cakes look similar but may include glazed icing as its decorative touch, especially when making Christmas tea cakes.

How do you tell when tea cakes are done?

Bake until light brown (but don’t let them get too brown!)

Like a biscuit, you want Christmas tea cakes firm on the outside and fluffy on the inside!

How long do fresh tea cakes last?

These pastries will last you up to 1 week before they start tasting stale. As long as you keep them at room temperature in an airtight container.

Do you freeze your Christmas cookie stash?

I usually divide my teacake dough and freeze half by placing it in a zip-lock freezer bag. 

The dough will last in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then simply unthaw, cut into rounds and bake!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Tea Cake Recipe

How much do you love this Christmas tea cakes recipe?

Have you had it?

Would you make it? 

Comment below and lemme know. 

Then subscribe HERE for all the soul food!

The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
What is soul food? Soul food recipes are African-American recipes full of flavor! A legacy of Southern cooking the Black way. Check out this collection of the best soul food recipes!
Check out this recipe!
 The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide

Christmas Tea Cakes

Christmas Tea Cakes

Tea cakes are a soul food Southern old-fashioned treat renamed Christmas tea cakes with a holiday twist using cookie cutters and lemon frosting!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Keyword: African American tea cakes, Black folk tea cake recipe, Black folks tea cakes, Black people food, Christmas tea cakes, soul food, Southern desserts, southern food, Southern tea cakes, vegetarian
Servings: 36 tea cakes
Calories: 143kcal
Author: Shaunda Necole

Equipment

Ingredients

Ingredients for Christmas tea cakes

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 cup extra for rolling the dough (I used all-purpose flour, but you could also use cake flour)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup butter unsalted & softened
  • 1 cup sugar granulated
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract

Ingredients for the tea cake icing

  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Using a stand or hand mixer, mix the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a medium-sized bowl for about 2 minutes until creamy.
  • Add the egg, lemon zest, sour cream, mayonnaise, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract.
  • Mix until well blended to make the tea cake batter.
  • Sift together the remaining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg over a sheet of parchment paper large enough to fit your baking sheet.
  • Fold the parchment paper to pour the sifted flour mixture into the tea cake batter and then mix again.
  • Add the batter to a lightly floured surface and roll the dough to approx ¼ inch thickness. This is where the extra cup of flour will come in handy to help with rolling because the dough is sticky!
  • Cut out the tea cakes with 2 ½” up to 3″ cookie cutters.
  • Place the cut-outs onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet about one inch apart. (You may need to bake more than 1 batch if all your Christmas tea cakes don’t fit on your baking sheet.)
  • Bake until light brown (but don’t let them get too brown!). 5-6 minutes in the conventional oven and 3-4 minutes in the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven. (Tea cakes don’t take long to bake, so keep a close eye on them to avoid burning! Like a biscuit, you want them firm on the outside and fluffy on the inside.)
  • When the tea cakes are finished baking and cooling, make the lemon glaze frosting by combining the powdered sugar and lemon juice.
  • Mix well with a whisk to remove any lumps from the powdered sugar.
  • Use a small spatula or spoon to drop a dollop of icing onto each cooled tea cake and optionally garnish with Christmas sprinkles! (The icing will harden in about 5 minutes.)
  • Serve Christmas tea cakes once the icing has dried, and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • I’ve found secret ingredients sour cream and mayonnaise are a must-have to effortlessly achieve a light and fluffy tea cake!
  • I divided my tea cake dough and froze the other half by placing it in a zip-lock freezer bag. This way, I only baked what I needed – about 15 tea cakes. ( I used a 2 ¾” round biscuit cutter.)
How do you make icing for cookies?
  • I replace the lemon zest with orange zest when making Christmas tea cakes. Orange citrus combines nicely with the nutmeg for a warm, sweet holiday appeal!

Nutrition

Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 78mg | Potassium: 45mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 31IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg
Save it so you can make it!Pin this recipe to remember it later.
Nutrition Facts
Christmas Tea Cakes
Amount per Serving
Calories
143
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
1
g
2
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
7
mg
2
%
Sodium
 
78
mg
3
%
Potassium
 
45
mg
1
%
Carbohydrates
 
31
g
10
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
20
g
22
%
Protein
 
2
g
4
%
Vitamin A
 
31
IU
1
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
49
mg
5
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Follow:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating





 

[email protected]
The Soul Food Pot - presented by Good Cheer LLC
All rights reserved.

The Soul Food Pot & Shaunda Necole may earn compensation from advertising, affiliate marketing links, brand collaborations and sponsored posts at no cost to you. Although this site may participate in affiliate marketing and brand collaborations, all opinions are the site's own. LTK affiliate privacy policy HERE

This site uses cookies to deliver its services & analyze traffic. By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies. Learn more here: privacy policy