Easy and Delicious Tennessee T-Cakes Recipe - Cookies N' Crepes (2024)

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As I sit here, with a warm cup of Tennessee tea in my hand and the scent of freshly baked Tennessee T-Cakes filling the air, I can’t help but feel a sense of comfort and nostalgia. These delectable treats have been a part of my family’s traditions for as long as I can remember, and every bite takes me back to my roots.

This recipe is not just a recipe, it’s a story – a story of Frances Barkley’s legendary cakes that have graced the tables at many homes and events throughout Tennessee. With this recipe, you too can be a part of that story and create your own memories with these old-fashioned Southern treats.

What makes these Tea Cakes so special you might ask? It’s their simple yet delicious combination of ingredients – all-purpose flour, butter, white sugar, and dark brown sugar. The magic happens when these ingredients come together to create a light and fluffy texture with just the right amount of sweetness.

But don’t let their simplicity fool you; one bite of these Tennessee T-Cakes will have your taste buds dancing. They’re best served warm with a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top, accompanied by a cup of hot tea or coffee.

So whether you’re hosting an elegant tea party in Nashville or just looking for the perfect sweet treat to pair with your BBQ ribs and whiskey glaze, these Tennessee T-Cakes are sure to be a hit. So roll up your sleeves and let’s get baking!

Table of Contents

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

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Tennessee T-Cakes are a true southern delicacy that will transport you straight to the heart of Dixie with each and every bite. This simple yet scrumptious recipe is perfect for anyone who loves classic desserts that stand the test of time.

What’s not to love about these tasty treats? They feature deliciously buttery, melt-in-your-mouth goodness, complemented by the perfect balance of white sugar and packed dark brown sugar. Plus, they’re easy to whip up with just a few simple ingredients in no time at all.

If you’re looking for a popular treat that’s sure to be the hit of any party or gathering, then Tennessee T-Cakes are an excellent choice. They are a must-try for those who want to experience the best of what old-school southern baking has to offer.

So why wait? Get ready to indulge in some mouthwatering goodness with these unbeatable Tennessee cakes. Whether you’re enjoying them with a cup of tea or on their own, they’ll undoubtedly leave your taste buds craving more!

Ingredient List

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Essential ingredients

Here are the essential ingredients you need to make these irresistible Tennessee T-Cakes at home:

  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of salted butter, melted and hot
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 2 cups of dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg + 2 eggs
  • 3 ¾ teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Peel of 3 lemons, cut into small pieces

Optional ingredients

If you want to give your Tennessee T-Cakes that extra-special twist, here are some optional ingredients you might want to try:

  • Self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour for a different texture
  • Powdered sugar for dusting on top of the cakes
  • Whiskey glaze for a boozy kick

Make sure to experiment with different flavors and textures to make the recipe truly yours!

The Recipe How-To

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Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Step 1: Preheat Oven and Prepare Baking Sheet

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a baking sheet with salted butter.

Step 2: Mix Dry Ingredients

In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 2 teaspoons of baking powder.

Step 3: Mix Wet Ingredients

In a separate mixing bowl, cream together 1 cup of salted butter and 1 cup of white sugar until light and fluffy. Add 2 large eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Step 4: Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients

Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, mixing well after each addition. The dough will be stiff.

Step 5: Shape the Dough

On a floured surface, shape the dough into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 3 x 1 inch pieces.

Step 6: Bake the Cakes

Place the cakes on the prepared baking sheet about an inch apart. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes, until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before moving them to a wire rack.

Step 7: Dust with Powdered Sugar

Before serving, dust the cakes with powdered sugar by using a fine-mesh strainer.

Enjoy your homemade Tennessee T-Cakes! Serve as an afternoon snack or at your next “southern-style” tea party!

Substitutions and Variations

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In baking, making substitutions is not always recommended as it can significantly affect the outcome of a recipe. However, sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we need to make changes to ingredients based on availability or dietary restrictions. Here are a few substitutions and variations you can try with the Tennessee T-Cakes recipe.

– Self-Rising Flour: If you don’t have all-purpose flour and baking powder, you can use self-rising flour instead. Since it already contains leavening agents, omit the baking powder and salt from the recipe.

– Brown Sugar: The recipe calls for both white sugar and dark brown sugar. If you don’t have dark brown sugar, mix 1 cup of white sugar with 1 tablespoon of molasses to make a DIY version. For a healthier option, you can substitute coconut or date sugar for white and brown sugar.

– Egg Substitutes: If you’re vegan or have an egg allergy, there are several egg substitutes available such as applesauce, mashed banana, or flaxseed meal. For this particular recipe, mix 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal with 6 tablespoons of water and let it sit for 10 minutes before adding it to the batter.

– Tea Variations: You can customize this recipe by changing the tea flavor according to your preference. Instead of using black tea bags, try using Earl Grey, chai tea, or even green tea bags for different flavor combinations.

– Shape Variations: The T-Cakes are traditionally rounds shape but that doesn’t mean you cannot experiment with other shapes. Use cookie cutters or molds to shape them into adorable stars or hearts for a special occasion.

Remember that every substitution comes with its own set of benefits and compromises when it comes to taste and texture. Keep in mind that experimenting with substitutions always run risks so be prepared for different results than intended.

Serving and Pairing

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Now, onto the fun part: serving and pairing! These Tennessee T-Cakes are versatile enough to be served for breakfast or dessert – it all depends on how you dress them up.

For breakfast, I recommend serving these cakes warm with a side of fresh fruit and a steaming cup of your favorite tea or coffee. The burst of sweet flavor combined with the caffeine kick is the perfect way to start your day.

If you’re serving them for dessert, try topping them off with a dusting of powdered sugar and a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. The contrast between the warm cake and cold ice cream is heavenly.

Feeling extra fancy? Host a tea party and serve these cakes alongside some other classic tea party favorites like petit fours, scones, and cucumber sandwiches. Trust me, your guests will be impressed.

Now, onto pairing. As a baker myself, I can tell you that when it comes to pairing desserts with drinks, there’s really no wrong answer. But here are a few suggestions that I think complement the flavors in these Tennessee T-Cakes:

– A hot cup of Southern-style sweet tea (how fitting!)

– A glass of milk – it may seem simple, but sometimes nothing beats a classic

– A glass of bourbon or whiskey – perfect for those chilly nights when you want something cozy and comforting

There you have it – whether you’re serving them for breakfast or dessert, these Tennessee T-Cakes are sure to make your taste buds sing.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

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As a baker, I know that we are always on the lookout for time-saving and stress-free strategies when it comes to preparing baked goods. That’s why I am excited to share some tips on how to make-ahead, store, and reheat these amazing Tennessee T-Cakes.


One of the best things about this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time without compromising its taste and texture. You can make the dough up to two days prior to baking and keep it refrigerated until you are ready to get started. When making the dough in advance, I recommend covering it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil before refrigerating.


Once the Tennessee T-Cakes are baked, they can be stored for up to three days in an airtight container at room temperature. If you want to keep them fresh longer, you can place them in the refrigerator for up to one week. To prevent them from sticking together, separate each layer of cakes with parchment paper.


Tennessee T-Cakes taste best when they are warm and fresh out of the oven. To reheat them, simply place them in a 350°F preheated oven for 5-7 minutes. Alternatively, you can place them in a toaster oven and heat until slightly crispy on the outside.

Overall, these easy-to-store Tennessee T-Cakes can be a great addition to any tea party or afternoon snack time. They have a nostalgic taste that will take you back in time and leave you asking for more. Try making these cakes ahead of time and enjoy their flaky goodness whenever you want!

Tips for Perfect Results

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Achieving the perfect Tennessee T-Cakes is a task that requires precision and particular attention to details. Here are some tips for baking the best tennessee tea cakes you’ve ever tasted.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to use the right ingredients, especially when baking. Make sure that your butter is at room temperature, so it mixes well with your dry ingredients. You also want to ensure that your eggs are fresh and at room temperature. In terms of flour, it’s best to use all-purpose flour or self-rising flour for Tennessee T-Cakes.

Secondly, one key thing that you should remember is to not overmix the batter. This can lead to tennesse tea cakes that are tough and dense. Instead, mix the batter just enough to combine all of the ingredients evenly.

Another tip is to watch the oven closely while baking. Overbaking can result in a dry and crumbly cake while underbaking can make it dense and doughy. A useful trick is using a toothpick inserted in the center of your tennessee tea cake; if it comes out clean, then the cake is done.

One last tip for making perfect Tennessee T-Cakes is to let them cool before dusting with powdered sugar or icing/glaze—this prevents all those lovely toppings from melting into the cake’s surface.

Following these tips will ensure that you bake flavorful tennessee tea cakes with a light texture and perfect crumb!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Tennessee Tea Cakes recipe is a true Southern delicacy that is perfect for any occasion. Whether it’s for a tea party, BBQ or dessert after dinner, this recipe will surely satisfy your sweet tooth. The combination of packed dark brown sugar and all-purpose flour creates an incredible texture and depth of flavor that you won’t forget anytime soon. And with endless variations and substitutions available, you can customize it to suit your personal taste.

Don’t miss out on this delicious treat! So gather your ingredients and get ready to indulge in a batch of homemade tea cakes that will have you feeling like you’re in the heart of Nashville. The story behind Frances Barkley’s legendary tea cakes continues to be a favorite among many, especially those who seek the best old-fashioned Southern tea cakes.

As Ernest Hemingway once said: “I drink to make other people more interesting”, our Tennessee T-Cakes recipe is here to make every occasion more memorable. So go ahead and try this amazing cake recipe from Martino Bakery yourself – we guarantee you’ll love it!

Easy and Delicious Tennessee T-Cakes Recipe - Cookies N' Crepes (8)

Tennessee T-Cakes Recipe

I have not tried this recipe. I got it from Copy Kat Chat.

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Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Keyword: < 30 Mins, Dessert, Easy

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 14 minutes

Calories: 345.3kcal


  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted and hot
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • powdered sugar (for garnish)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Add the brown sugar and white sugar to the melted butter and set aside (some of the brown sugar will melt).

  • In mixer with paddle gently mix egg and bourbon vanilla.

  • Add the butter and sugar mixture to the egg mixture and beat on low until mixed well.

  • Add flour all at once to mixer. Mix well; you will see it look just like it did on the program, sticky and ribbon-like. I used a measuring cup to pour it into the paper cups without the mess of a melon baller.

  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 14 minutes, turning at 7 minutes.

  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Keep in closed container after cooled.

  • Note: (makes a Wilton mini tin full).



  • no vanilla, instead use 2 tsp key lime.


  • no vanilla, instead use 2 tsp lemon juice.


  • Poke hole in hot t-cakes with large frosting tip. Fill with your favorite Hot Fudge Sundae topping.

Your Own Notes

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Serving: 60g | Calories: 345.3kcal | Carbohydrates: 47.5g | Protein: 2.9g | Fat: 16.3g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 71.7mg | Sodium: 155.1mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 35.3g

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Easy and Delicious Tennessee T-Cakes Recipe - Cookies N' Crepes (9)


Steven is a chef by heritage, so it’s no wonder why baking is such a big part of who he is. To share his passion for all things sweet, he created cookiesncrepes.com. It’s the perfect platform to indulge in delicious treats, all with a sprinkle of his signature flare.

Easy and Delicious Tennessee T-Cakes Recipe - Cookies N' Crepes (2024)


What is a teacake in the USA? ›

In the Southeastern United States, a teacake is a traditional dense large cookie, made with sugar, butter, eggs, flour, milk, and flavoring.

What is tea cake like in their eyes were watching God? ›

He is a troubadour, a traveling bluesman dedicated to aesthetic and joyful pursuits, and he presents a vivid contrast to Janie's second husband, Joe Starks, a politician and businessman. Tea Cake is, as his name implies, a veritable man of nature or natural man, who seems at ease being who and what he is.

Are tea cakes healthy? ›

Tea cakes contains 120 calories per 28 g serving. This serving contains 7 g of fat, 1 g of protein and 15 g of carbohydrate. The latter is 11 g sugar and 0 g of dietary fiber, the rest is complex carbohydrate. Tea cakes contains 3 g of saturated fat and 10 mg of cholesterol per serving.

What does tea cake taste like? ›

Here at the Texas Tea Cake Company we say that tea cakes taste like a less buttery shortbread cookie with vanilla, spices, and a hint of sweetness.

Why is it called Texas cake? ›

Some sources say it may have first shown up in a Texas newspaper, which is why it's called "Texas" sheet cake, while others claim the name comes from the fact that it's the size of Texas. Regardless of its origins, this cake is truly a crowd-pleaser.

What are fairy cakes called in America? ›

A cupcake (AmE), fairy cake (BrE), or bun (IrE) is a small cake designed to serve one person, which may be baked in a small thin paper or aluminum cup.

What is Tea Cake's real name? ›

"Tea Cake" is the nickname of Vergible Woods, a vagabond who becomes the third husband of Janie Starks in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Does Janie actually marry Tea Cake? ›

Not long after Jody's death, Janie marries Tea Cake, and soon realizes that he has many concerning traits. He steals the money she hides from him, spends it entertaining other women, and gambles in an illegal and dangerous dice game to get it back for her.

What did Janie do when Tea Cake died? ›

Watching her husband die, Janie says, is too much for her to bear, and she wishes that the dog had killed her instead. Janie questions and pleads with God, wondering why "Tea Cake, the son of Evening Sun, had to die for loving her."

What is the unhealthiest cake? ›

Unhealthiest: Red Velvet Cake

Red velvet cake comes in many different variations, but most of the time, artificial food coloring is used and the icing loads on the fat and sugar. It can have anywhere from 250 to 500 calories, so choose wisely.

What is a healthy snack to have with a cup of tea? ›

Healthier savoury options are avocado, pure (unsalted) nut butters, reduced-fat versions of hummus and tzatziki, tomato salsa and oily fish. You can find lots of other sweet and savoury treat ideas in our healthy recipe finder.

Should tea cake be refrigerated? ›

Tea cakes are best consumed at room temperature (approx. 22°C to 25°C). Tea cakes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

What is a Chinese tea cake? ›

Compressed tea, called tea bricks, tea cakes or tea lumps, and tea nuggets according to the shape and size, are blocks of whole or finely ground black tea, green tea, or post-fermented tea leaves that have been packed in molds and pressed into block form.

What is birthday tea cake? ›

Celebrate in style with Bite's Birthday Tea Cakes, a confetti-flavored treat topped with sweet icing and sprinkles. Whether it's a birthday party or any festive occasion, these cakes are the perfect bites. We keep these tea cakes frozen and ship them refrigerated.

What is wedding cake flavor? ›

The wedding cake flavor is how the cake actually tastes. This includes the cake batter, fillings, frosting, icing or other toppings, which all ultimately affect the taste. Wedding cakes often have more than one flavor, which makes it easier to incorporate both your and your partner's preferences.

What is the difference between a bun and a teacake? ›

Teacakes are often larger and flatter with a slightly harder consistency, meaning they can be enjoyed with a range of condiments, including jams and marmalades. A Hot Cross Bun is softer, with more spices baked in, so is often just enjoyed with butter.

Why do they call them tea cakes? ›

Outside the South, the words “tea cake” mean any cake served with tea. But to Southerners, tea cakes are more than that. They are the nostalgic cookies—crispy and golden around the edges, soft and cake-like inside—that are perfect for tea, or just about anything else you choose to drink.

What is another name for tea cake? ›

Although they are widely known, tea cakes have not always gone by this name. They are referred to as currant buns or spiced buns in some regions of the UK. Similar baked goods have different names in other nations.

What are tea biscuits called in America? ›

In most of North America, nearly all hard sweet biscuits are called "cookies" and savoury biscuits are called "crackers", while the term "biscuit" is used for a soft, leavened quick bread similar to a savoury version of a scone.

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