Ria's Collection: TEA CAKE

Monday, February 7, 2022


Tea Cake
There was a time in my life when I enjoyed cakes with some kind of frosting on them. It's slowly changing now and I see myself baking more plain cakes than frosted ones. I end up making frosted cakes mostly for some kind of a celebration these days. When I say plain cakes, I don't mean that they are boring. Instead, they are simple cakes where the main ingredients shine through. A good butter cake is our favourite and whenever I bake them, I try to get the best possible butter that I can lay my hands on. I love using Irish butter for it because they are extremely high in fat content and their flavour truly makes the cake shine!

Tea Cake
A tea cake can be made in three ways. The first one is where dried fruits are steeped in tea overnight and added to the cake batter while baking. The second one is the kind I've eaten the most in my life. It's a slightly dry cake when compared to a butter cake and is flavoured with caraway seeds. Both cakes are enjoyed with a cup of tea (or coffee!) and hence the name Tea Cake. The third one is like a cross between a cake and a cookie and is baked commonly in the Southern states. Oh, that reminds me of Snowball cookies which are also known as Mexican & Russian Tea Cakes! Do share if you know of any other tea cakes that I am not aware of! I love learning new things!

Tea Cake
I wasn't sure how Ian & Zara would enjoy this cake because it uses very little butter and they both are used to very buttery cakes. I was definitely surprised when they devoured the cake slices. They took to the taste of caraway seeds very well. Please know that caraway seeds are not the same as shah jeera. Caraway seeds are also known as cake jeerakam in Kerala. It has a very distinct flavour. It's widely available in most grocery stores here.

This recipe comes from Mrs Bava Lukose and is a keeper just like all the recipes I've tried from her book Suriani Pachakam. The cake keeps getting better by the day and it slices like a dream! She uses a different method for making the batter from what's done traditionally.  Try this recipe when you are looking for something simple & tasty to go along with your cuppa next time!

Tea Cake
Makes one 9 inch loaf
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 eggs, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon caraway seeds 
Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C and line a 9-inch loaf tin.
Sift the dry ingredients and keep them aside.
In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer beat the butter until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and eggs alternately and mix well for 15 seconds after each addition. It will become a very fluffy and light coloured mixture.
Add flour & milk alternately and mix on low speed until just combined. Fold in the caraway seeds and pour the batter into the cake tin.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then turn it out onto a rack and cool completely. 
Slice them into thick slices and enjoy! Store the leftover cake in an airtight container for up to a week.
Like how I mentioned earlier, this is a very tasty basic cake. I wouldn't recommend any frosting for this, it's meant to be served plain. This will make a delicious cake to take with you for picnics. I cannot wait for it to be warmer here in Minnesota, just so that we can explore the outdoors as much as we can!


Preetha said...

Thank you! I love tea cake and will give this a try!

HUTCH said...

Looks delicious! I would love to try out this recipe. Could you please tell if I can bake the same amount if batter in a 7 inch round pan?

Ria Mathew said...

Hello Hutch, 7 inch is a little small. You can split it between 2 pans but the cake will be thinner and the timing can vary as well.

Ria Mathew said...

Preetha, thank you! Please let me know how you liked it!

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