Old-fashioned Southern tea cakes

Old-fashioned Southern tea cakes

Total Time
30 min
20 min
10 min
Made with flour, butter, sugar, an egg, and vanilla, tea cakes are very simple cookies, perfect for an afternoon snack. The name for these cookies is a bit deceptive since they are not really cakes, but rather soft, delicate, and fluffy cookies with the texture of a cake. This buttery, not-too-sweet snack should be, as the name suggests, served warm with tea.


Unsalted butter

¼ cup(s), at room temperature

Powdered sugar (confectioner's)

2 Tbsp

Dark brown sugar

2 Tbsp

Vanilla extract

½ tsp


1 large egg(s), at room temperature

Self-rising flour

1½ cup(s)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using electric mixer, in large bowl, beat butter, both sugars, and vanilla until creamy. Add egg and beat until smooth, occasionally stopping to scrape down sides of bowl. Add flour and beat just until blended.
  2. Knead dough lightly in bowl just until smooth. Place dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Roll dough out to 1⁄3-inch-thick round. Using 11⁄2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out dough, gathering scraps and rerolling as needed, to get 24 rounds of dough.
  3. Place dough rounds on prepared baking sheet, spacing rounds 1 to 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are puffed and light golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve warm.
  4. Serving size: 1 cookie