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Old Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes

4.87 from 164 votes

Old Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes is a classic, vintage recipe. It’s a bit of a cross between a cookie and cake, not too sweet, and utterly delicious. Tea cakes are the perfect ending to any meal or a great mid-afternoon snack with coffee, tea, or milk.

Everything that I know of childhood comes from one tiny, rural town in Southwest Georgia. When I think back on it now, it seems almost like a fairytale. It was a place where children could roam around the neighborhood playing all day or ride their bikes “uptown” without a second thought.

Old Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes on a white serving plate.

There were very few worries there. People never locked their car doors and rarely locked their homes. It really was like growing up in the fictitious town of Mayberry. Or maybe I’m just remembering it through a child’s eye.

I can’t say why, but there are simply certain smells and tastes that bring childhood back vividly to mind. I seem to have so many memories that are inextricably associated with certain old Southern comfort food recipes.

These old fashioned Southern Tea Cakes are one of those recipes. Anyone near my age who grew up close to where I did knows exactly what a tea cake is. It’s not a cake, but it’s not quite a cookie, either. And it’s not overly sweet – just barely enough sugar to call it a dessert, actually.

They’re delicious with a cup of coffee or a glass of cold milk. And, if you grew up in southwest Georgia, you can take one bite of a teacake and in your mind, you’re five years old again.

I recently saw a comment questioning why anyone would want to make a particular recipe because it was “so 1965.” Maybe I see cooking a little differently from other people. For me, the preparation of good food is a way of showing love. And making those old recipes honors our ancestors.

Cooking is not always just a way to get food on the table so you can get on with something else. It’s about fellowship, too. A time to be together and enjoy each other’s company. And if you have an old family recipe like my Old Fashioned Tea Cakes to enjoy, all the better.

What are Tea Cakes?

Old Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes are a slightly sweet cookie enjoyed throughout the southeast. Many southern families pass heirloom recipes for tea cakes from one generation to the next.

Their texture is soft and tender in the center with just a hint of a crispy exterior. The short list of ingredients results in a simple flavor profile of butter, sugar, and vanilla. I’ve known older cooks who used them as a substitute for vanilla wafers in banana pudding and as the base for cheesecake crusts.

Old Fashioned Southern Teacakes on a white serving plate.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Cookies that taste like cake
  • Perfect texture
  • Not too sweet
  • Simple to make
  • Easily accessible ingredients

Ingredient Notes

This post contains affiliate links. Lana’s Cooking is reader-supported and earns a tiny commission at no extra cost to you when you shop from our links.

There’s nothing at all fancy in this recipe because it originated in a time and place when people made do with the little they had on hand. Very smart and frugal folks!

  • Butter – have it at room temperature.
  • Sugar – plain, white granulated sugar is all you need.
  • Eggs – they should also be at room temperature.
  • Buttermilk – here’s how to make a substitute if you don’t have it on hand.
  • Flour – you’ll need plain, all-purpose flour; I can always recommend White Lily!
  • Baking soda
  • Vanilla extract – no need to spend a lot for fancy vanilla to use in this recipe. A standard brand like McCormick is great!

The complete ingredient list with detailed measurements is included in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

How to Make Old Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes

Mix the Dough

Photo collage showing the six steps of mixing the dough.
  1. Using a hand or stand mixer, cream the butter until soft and pale yellow in color.
  2. Gradually add the sugar to the butter, beating well.
  3. Next, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add the buttermilk and beat well again.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and soda.
  6. Turn the mixer down to the slowest speed and gradually add the flour and soda mixture into the creamed mixture.
  7. Add in the vanilla.

Shape and Chill the Dough

Finished dough shaped into a rectangle and wrapped in plastic wrap.
  1. Shape the dough into a round or rectangle, cover with plastic wrap, and chill several hours or overnight.

Cut Out and Bake

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets.
Photo collage showing the process of rolling out and cutting the dough into rounds.
  1. If you chill the dough overnight, remove it from the fridge about 15 minutes before rolling so that it very slightly softens.
  2. Working with 1/4 to 1/3 of the dough at a time, roll the dough to a 1/4” thickness on a lightly floured surface.
  3. Cut the dough into rounds using a large biscuit cutter or a drinking glass dipped into flour. Gather the scraps together, re-roll, and cut until all dough is used.
  4. Place the rounds 1 inch apart on lightly greased baking sheets.
  5. Sprinkle tops lightly with additional sugar.
Cooked tea cakes on a baking sheet.
  1. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until the edges are very lightly browned.
  2. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and allow the tea cakes to cool for several minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Old Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes on a white serving plate.

Recipe Tips

  • When rolling out the dough, it’s important that it’s at least 1/4″ thick to give the tea cakes a slightly “cake-y” interior texture.
  • To make rolling the dough easier, you can use either waxed paper or parchment paper. Place one piece on your countertop, and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Put a portion of the dough on the paper and sprinkle its top with flour as well. Add another piece of paper to the top (making a sandwich of the paper and dough) and roll out.
  • To prevent the tea cakes from spreading while baking, make sure the dough is still quite cold as you roll and cut it. Then put the tea cakes directly into the oven to bake. Keep any extra dough covered in the refrigerator until needed.

Variations and Options

  • You can vary the tea cakes by adding lemon zest, nutmeg, or cinnamon. But I’d suggest you try the classic recipe first to judge which additional flavors you might like best.
  • Other flavorings can be added to the dough. Try half almond and half vanilla flavoring or substitute rum flavoring.
  • Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar while still warm.
  • To be really vintage and authentic, use half butter and half lard (or shortening) in your recipe. The lard will give the tea cakes an incredible texture.

Questions About Tea Cakes

How do I store tea cakes?

Store tea cakes for 7-8 days at room temperature in a covered container.

Do you have any serving suggestions?

Tea cakes are great with ice cream, mixed fresh fruit, or fruit jams and preserves.

How about a few ideas for dressing them up a bit?

Try dipping the tea cakes halfway in melted chocolate for a real treat!

Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


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Old Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes on a white serving plate.

Old Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes

Old Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes is a classic, vintage recipe. A cross between a cookie and cake, not too sweet, and utterly delicious.
4.87 from 164 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 30 servings
Calories: 189kcal
Author: Lana Stuart


  • 1 cup butter softened (2 sticks)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Additional sugar for sprinkling


  • Using a hand or stand mixer, cream the butter until soft and pale yellow in color.
  • Gradually add the sugar to the butter, beating well.
  • Next, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add the buttermilk and beat well again.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour and soda.
  • Turn the mixer down to the slowest speed and gradually add the flour and soda mixture into the creamed mixture.
  • Add in the vanilla.
  • Shape the dough into a round or rectangle, cover with plastic wrap, and chill several hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease two cookie sheets.
  • If you chill your dough overnight, remove it from the fridge about 15 minutes before rolling.
  • Working with 1/4 to 1/3 of the dough at a time, roll dough to 1/4” thickness on a lightly floured surface.
  • Cut the dough into rounds using a large biscuit cutter or a drinking glass dipped into flour. Gather the scraps together, re-roll, and cut until all dough is used.
  • Place the rounds 1 inch apart on lightly greased cookie sheets.
  • Sprinkle lightly with additional sugar.
  • Bake for 7-9 minutes or until the edges are very lightly browned.
  • Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and allow tea cakes to cool for several minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.


  • When rolling out the dough, it’s important that it’s at least ¼” thick to give the tea cakes a “cake-y” interior texture.
  • To prevent the tea cakes from spreading while baking, make sure the dough is still quite cold as you roll and cut it. Then put the tea cakes directly into the oven to bake. Keep any extra dough covered in the refrigerator until needed.
  • Store tea cakes for 7-8 days at room temperature in a covered container.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 189kcal | Carbohydrates 29g | Protein 3g | Fat 7g | Saturated Fat 4g | Trans Fat 1g | Cholesterol 33mg | Sodium 104mg | Potassium 32mg | Fiber 1g | Sugar 13g | Vitamin A 215IU | Calcium 9mg | Iron 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on March 1, 2011. It has been updated with additional information.

4.87 from 164 votes (145 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Michelle Jones says:

    5 stars
    I love this recipe. I have made it several times. I change up the type of extract I use. However, I never leave out vanilla extract. I just add to it with others. Sometimes I had 1/2 tsp of nutmeg or Allspice.

  2. 5 stars
    Looking forward to trying these but i do have a few questions. Can you put icing on these cookies and will they hold up well? What spices would you suggest to add different flavor and how long do these cookies stay fresh?,

    1. Hi Suzi – I’ve never seen these cookies with an icing — they’re delicious on their own — but I’m sure they’d hold up well as they’re quite sturdy. See the section in the post titled “Variations and Options” for flavoring suggestions. And, as stated in the post, they keep for at least 7-8 days in a tightly closed container at room temperature.

  3. 5 stars
    I have a recipe that called old fashion sugar cookies . But it’s the tea cakes I’m sure .. mine has cream of tarter in them an I make them in large pan like dish pan . Takes bag of flour bag of sugar qt butter milk a more ingredients crisco is the shortening called for . Makes 6 doz very large cookies. I mix it up separate in 6 an freeze works very well.. then Pat in round disk bake 6 at a time for 17 min they r wonderful.. if u like full recipe I’d be glad to share .. ??

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe for old fashioned tea cakes. It took me back to a sweet childhood memory of a family reunion at Grandma’s. They used a flatbed pickup truck to lay out the feast. The tea cakes were close enough to the edge for me, as a five year old, to reach them before the blessing was given. My older sister pushed them out of my reach, but I thought they were the best thing I had ever tasted! That was only 63 years ago! I’m making my family happy with your recipe! Thx again!

  5. Thank you Lana for the recipe. Been using for awhile and a true crowd pleaser. Just like my Grandmother use to make and ALWAYS have on hand.

    How many cookies do you get from this recipe?

    1. Hi Christy – I get about 30 cookies from this recipe using a large biscuit cutter. It just depends on what you use to cut them out.

  6. My grandma made these for us every Christmas. However she did not leave her recipe when she passed because she did not have one. My Aunt picked up the tradition but would not share the recipe but gave us some each year until her stroke. With my mom passing this year, I wanted to make some of this tradition that’s been going on for so long. Your recipe was spot on. The only thing is my cakes did not brown on top. I put them under the broiler to get that hint of brown. Is there anything you can recommend to brown these delicious treats?

    1. Hi Roxanne — My tea cakes don’t brown much, either — just a bit around the edges. But there are a couple of things to try. First, make sure your baking soda is fresh (baking soda encourages browning). You can also increase the baking soda by an additional 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon. A bit of additional sugar in the dough could help as well — no more than 1/4 cup. Also, make sure you’re using a thick, good quality baking pan.

  7. love these cookies. my grandmother made them and sometimes would dip tops in chocolate. I have to admit, lol, I’d eat the whole bowl of raw dough rather than the cooked cookie! lol it is really delicious. we grew up in southeast Alabama.

  8. Amy Joseph says:

    5 stars
    My mother would make these all the time because she always have these ingredients in the pantry. I’m a southerner and this recipe brought back memories. Thanks for keeping classic recipes for the young cooks and some season cooks.

  9. Lana your recipe is great ,my tea cakes were a big hit ,shared them at a business meeting. I iced them with a lime glaze and added Pumkin spice .yummy!! Thank you for sharing.

  10. Debbie C. says:

    4 stars
    The tea cakes tasted good, just not as light tasting as I remember. Not sure if I over mixed the dough. Will have to try again before I move on to find something with a lighter cake like texture. Overall not bad. Thanks for sharing

    1. I hope you’ll give it another try. Be sure to roll the dough at least 1/4-inch thick. Tea cakes won’t have the exact interior texture you’d expect from a cake, but they won’t be quite as dense as a cookie, either.

  11. 5 stars
    This recipe DID NOT disappoint! Followed directions exactly as written and these came out delicious. However, I did extra on my vanilla extract😁. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Thank you for letting me know that you enjoyed the recipe! It’s definitely an old favorite in our family.

      1. 5 stars
        Hi, I grew up in Colquitt also! Walked uptown every week to library. Mayhaw festivL started during that time. We were served tea cakes with school lunches a couple times a week. I have looked for recipe for those school lunch cookies. I hope this is it. Not tried one with buttermilk. 🤞 Will try recipe tomorrow.

        1. Hi! Yes, we did use to walk uptown, to the library, anywhere really. It was a very safe place to grow up! Hope you enjoy the recipe.

  12. Pamela Streams says:

    Can I use regular milk in place of the buttermilk?

    1. you can make your own buttermilk, just add vinegar to regular milk. proportions on Google. only takes a few minutes for it to activate.

      1. Yes, you can. However, I’ve never found that “buttermilk” created in this way works very well in baking. If I need to make some, though, I prefer lemon juice over vinegar. Lemon juice gives a more mellow flavor whereas vinegar gives an acid tang. The proportions are 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or 1 tablespoon vinegar) plus enough whole milk to make 1 cup. Stir gently and let sit for 5 minutes.

  13. Your recipe is very good but what can I use instead of eggs
    Thank you

    1. Sorry, I can’t help. I’ve never tested this recipe with a substitute for the eggs.

  14. Betsy Palmer Collins says:

    5 stars
    I grew up in southeast Alabama in the Sixties and Seventies. My grandmother always had her famous tea cakes on hand. She used a Waterford cut glass water glass to press an impression onto the tea cakes and then sugar. You’re right – give me a tea cake and I am five again.

  15. 5 stars
    I grew up here in Vermont and my mom made these, only with the addition of freshly-grated nutmeg to the dough. Just enough to barely taste, but what a wonderful flavor the cookies had! She would also press in 3 large raisins on the top just before baking. Only 3 – tradition! Such good memories…

    1. The regional differences in recipes are so interesting! Thanks for sharing your memory.

  16. Paul Edwards says:

    Lana, “so 1965” people don’t realise what they are missing! I’ve so many memories.
    Mine do differ to yours on teacakes. Ours were in the bread direction with currents. Shape of a US dinner roll but much darker. We split them, toasted them and lathered on the butter (if we could afford it. Marge if not). Boring World if we were all the same though 🌍😂. Love your site. Thanks.

    1. Sounds like British (English) tea cakes. We thoroughly enjoyed those when traveling in Ireland and Scotland.

  17. Made these yesterday and they were delicious! Big hit with the family. I sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on some of them. YUM!

  18. Carolyn Trahan says:

    5 stars
    I have made these tea cakes for four years and everyone loves them best ever recipe

  19. Erin from Texas says:

    5 stars
    Excellent! This is my first time to bake or eat tea cakes. They are for a tea party themed baby shower. I followed the recipe exactly as written. Ended up refrigerating the dough for 48 hrs, rolled and cut as instructed. The tea cakes turned out perfect in color, shape and taste. On the 3rd and 4th batch, I added a little sugar and then sugar/cinnamon before baking. Scrumptious! A few tips: roll dough to 1/4” as directed and don’t over bake. Any thinner and the cookies tend to over bake and become crispy throughout. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Happy to know that you enjoyed the recipe! Yes, you’re right – they should not be rolled thin.

    2. Betty Mazie says:

      5 stars
      My 78 year old husband wanted me to make him some “tea cakes like Momma used to make”. Since I was the recipient of his Mom’s recipes, I went digging. I found it…BUT there was no mention of flour at all. So, I turned on my iPad and searched Old Fashioned Tea Cakes. When I got to yours, I knew immediately I had THE recipe. Other than the flour, they were exactly the same. I had worked in the kitchen with her enough that I knew the basic prep, but your comments were very helpful. Bottom line, I made two double batches. Amazing!!!! I made the mistake of sharing with his four siblings. So now I spend a lot of time making tea cakes and the next two generations are loving them also. Thank you!

      1. My pleasure, Betty! My original recipe was from my great-aunt and her instructions said “enough flour to make a stiff dough.” It took me a couple of tries to figure out the exact amount needed :-)

  20. Kim Billhimer says:

    Good my mom’s English and she loved these. With ta in afternnon.

  21. 5 stars
    Am 70 years old, I grew up on southern tea cakes. This was always a Saturday afternoon treat.

  22. 5 stars
    Perfect and not too sweet.

  23. 5 stars
    These tea cakes are delicious! They were also very easy to make. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  24. Can you make these using self rising flour?

    1. I’ve never tried these with self-rising flour, Diane. The reason is because the buttermilk and soda in the recipe are meant to produce a reaction that causes the cookies to rise slightly. I expect that if you make them with self-rising flour, you’d get a higher rise with a cake-like result instead of a cookie. If you decide to give it a try, I’d like to know how they turn out for you.

  25. I made these tea cakes and they are a hard as a rock not like my mother’s I think they need more milk, your measurement must be wrong plus they are hard to roll out not pliable.

    1. I’m sorry you didn’t have a great result from the recipe! I’ve literally made this recipe hundreds of times and never had hard cookies as a result. It’s almost impossible to know what went wrong without actually being in the kitchen with you, but I can only guess that perhaps you mis-measured some of the ingredients.

  26. Deborah :) says:

    5 stars
    This has become a favorite at our house. I use half butter and half butter flavored Crisco and half vanilla half almond extract. They are so delicious. We love them plain but will use cookie cutters and decorate for special occasions. Thank you so much for this recipe!!!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that your family likes them, Deborah! They’re an old, old favorite of mine.

  27. 5 stars
    Thank you! I tried a million recipes and this by far was the best!

  28. Lana, I wonder if the teacakes can be made as slice and bake? Rolled cookies are just to fiddly for me these days.

    Good memories of good food…


    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I’ve never done that, but it might work. Just don’t know for sure. Why don’t you give it a try and let me know how it turns out?

    2. 5 stars
      In response to MrsSW,
      This recipe is nearly exactly like my family’s recipe which is how I know it’s a good one! Our recipe actually calls for creating rolls and then slicing and baking. The result is a more cakey cookie. Both ways create tasty ones. Shaped cookie cutters are though fun for themes.

    3. Shandle Pearson says:

      How did the tea cakes come out without chilling them.

  29. Joan Hawkins says:

    Sounds pretty much like the foods I grew up with in central south Georgia. I had been looking for my grandma’s tea cake recipe and went through quite a few before I finally gave up. But, I did find where her sister shared in in her church cookbook. I am actually scared to, I am afraid it wont taste likes hers because it wont be her making them.
    Keep the wonderful recipes coming. I save atleast q or 2 from every email. Hope you are are staying safe down there. My home town just reported their first class yesterday.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I hope you’ll give this recipe a try, Joan. I think you’ll be pleased with it.

  30. Denise Devers says:

    Like everyone else said, your post was awesome & brought back so many good memories! I was raised in Texas in a small country town right on Red River, North of Wichita Falls called Burkburnett. My Mother, Grandmother & aunts were the best cooks ever, I was introduced to the Tea Cakes @ Vacation Bible School. We’d get 1 with a glass of Kool-aid & you couldn’t wait until the next day to get another. Nobody could cook Cornbread Dressing, Fried Chicken, Pinto Beans, Fried Okra, Cornbread, Fried Potatoes with Onions in the pan & Fried Salmon Croquets like my family did ? I never even missed the meat when we didn’t have it. I very rarely fry anything anymore, but back then, seems everything was fried! Again, thanks so much for the memories & the recipe. I’m making these tomorrow for my husband & grandsons.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      You’re welcome, Denise! Hope everyone enjoys the Teacakes :-)

  31. Charlotte Moore says:

    I was searching for a good teacake and came across yours. I made them and my husband loves them. I enjoyed reading your story about your family and their cooking.

    We live in North GA about 40 miles north of Atlanta.

  32. Dianne Evans says:

    Love your tea cake recipe! I have my Aunt Jessie’s tea cake recipe…She told me to cut them out with a “snuff can”!!!! That’s how she cut them out. Haven’t been able to find a snuff can, haaaa but my 3 inch biscuit cutter works just fine!!!! I grew up in Ochlocknee…very familiar with Colquitt! Love your site!

  33. These are very delicious!!! But I have a question, can I use the boxed cake flour?

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I wouldn’t recommend it. Cake flour would change the texture dramatically.

  34. I remember these cookies. My grandpa would dip them in his coffee
    Are they crisp, not hard though? I have an older friend who talks about them being crisp and would like to make some for him. I didn’t get my grandma’s recipe. I will try these.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Carol – they’re not hard at all. The outside is slightly crisp and the inside is slightly soft.

  35. Elizabeth Kagwi says:

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I remember teacakes from my Great Grandmother’s house in Michigan. I was seven years old! They are the perfect treat. Not to sweet–just right.

  36. Mary Wash says:

    The Tea cake delicious!!!-Do you have a recipe for the Old Fashioned Gingerbread that was sold at community stores back in the 50’s. (the name would vary sometime be called Bear Track, old fashioned ginger tea cake) I would love to have the recipe, about ten years ago, I was visiting east Tx (Longview) and discovered them at a neighborhood grocery store and they were made locally by Mallery Bakery, bakery has since going out of business. can you help me out with the recipe? Look forward to hearing from you.

  37. Love the way you look at food and family. So happy you are bringing some of the older recipes back. A good recipe is a good recipe. I have spent years looking for certain recipes from my childhood and young adult years. These teacakes are one – my husband grew up in Atlanta. I finally found one very similar to the teacakes his loved grandmother made . It did not call for eggs. I’m happy to try this one.

  38. Love your stories and your recipes. There are always going to be haters. Just ignore them. The old recipes are the best.

  39. Hi. I came across this looking for my mama’s (her mama’s and probably HER mama’s) teacake recipe. My mama was such a good southern cook. Her recipe calls for the ingredients but not the measurements! She knew just how the dough would look after throwing in all the ingredients. This was always so aggravating to me – I needed measurements! I’m going to give this one a try. Thanks. By the way, your description of your hometown could be the description of mine – a little town in NC. Living in different places and trying to describe the freedom and lack of fear we had growing up and likening my hometown to Mayberry, just gets ‘Your kidding!” or “Yeah, right.” responses from people. Oh, for those days to come back!

  40. I really miss my Grandma’s tea cakes. She put lemon in hers. I have tried to duplicate hers, but every one I try just doesn’t make the cut. I don’t think I will ever find it, I believe it was just her touch that made them so good. I can smell them now.

  41. Lana, I don’t remember reading this. Thank you for the wonderful compliments on my cooking. It humbles me to be in the same category with Aunt Bernice, Uncle Clayton, Gama, Polly & and of course your Daddy. Love U

  42. Melissa @ My Recent Favorite books says:

    I really enjoyed your post, — it brought back some wonderful memories of my Grandmother’s cooking! She passed away over 3 years ago, but I still remember how she made the “best” Biscuits and Gravy, Raisin Creme Pie, and I loved her Beans and Cornbread!

  43. Please do pull all your memories together and create a book. Although I was born and raised in Canada, my childhood contains a similarity to some of your memories. Times were gentler then and I regret that my children and grandchildren’s memories will not be the gentle, warm and safe times we knew. America is no longer free nor does she now belong to the people. We have voted into office people who put love of money and power ahead of love of America and the price we have paid is the loss of our country. These people have Uncle Sam by the throat! Wake up, America, and reclaim our country by voting these scoundrels out of office!

  44. Rosalyn Raper says:

    The most wonderful memory of my childhood is my mama Sue’s teacakes. She was my maternal grandmother and died around 1955, but I can still smell and taste these wonderful treats. I failed to get her recipe and have tried so often to duplicate, but not with too much success. I am definitely going to try these and see what happens. I grew up in Pontotoc County near Ecru in North Mississippi and those peaceful childhood memories, just so heavenly.
    Thanks again. Rosalyn

  45. Pamela Carson says:

    I,too, lived in a very small south Georgia town, Ray City, when I was young, and after reading this post, I think we’re related lol. Brought tears and really wonderful memories of my mother (who absolutely made the best cornbread dressing ever!). I miss her every day, but when I make those biscuits or that cornbread dressing or her cream cheese pound cake, she’s right there with me. Thank you, even for the tears. :)

  46. Sandra Smith says:

    Yum, yum…I’m from a little town, Adairsville, Ga. Everything you said, seems i could have written it, word for word. Im cooking these tea cakes now, as i cook some homemade chicken soup for supper. Ah, the smells do bring back memories, and yes doing it like our old folks did makes it so special, and the love that hours into it…there’s more than people realize in there. Thanks for the recipe.

  47. Sally Brown says:

    Hi Lana, Mom and I had lost Ma Booth’s Old Fashioned Teacake recipe but I knew it was the same as soon as I saw your list of ingredients. I made some last night and they took me way back in time. These were a real treat during the great depression when sugar was so hard to find. I like to use it as a History lesson for my Grand kids and it gives me a chance to tell them my memories of their Great, Great, Great Grand Mother.

    1. Your comment makes me really happy, Sally. I love being able to keep the old recipes and memories live for others.

  48. linda martin says:

    i am 66 years old. my mother made tea cakes. she made them and rolled the into dough like her biscuits . she then pinched off enough of the dough and rolled it like biscuit dough and pressed it into the pan like biscuits. i cannot find a recipe like this

    1. Hi Linda – this is a fairly stiff dough. I would think you could handle the way you’ve described.

  49. erica thompson says:

    I have been looking everywhere for a recipe like my grandmother’s. She didnt roll hers out like cookies but she baked them in muffin tins (I grew up here in the Heart of Dixie or Alabama). Been looking everywhere but I cant seem to find one similiar to it anywhere. First time baking these but thinking about giving this a try, should I add more milk to thin it out and cut down on the flour?

  50. Pat Hayslip says:

    Lana, I also grew up in South Georgia near the Florida line and we always had the Old Fashioned Teacakes. I lost my mom’s recipe years ago and was so glad to find yours.
    I can’t wait to make them. I know they will be delicious.
    Food and fellowship goes together like biscuits and syrup and everyone should enjoy them.

  51. I too grew up in southwest Georgia…Thomasville. Anywhere near your small town? My grandmother’s kitchen was the first room we checked out when we got there. Mainly because that’s usually where she was but she always had something great to eat and most of the time she had her teacakes. They were the best! She gave me her recipe which while similar to yours didn’t use eggs and weren’t rolled out. She always patted them out by hand. I’m going to try yours this time and see how the difference taste!

    1. Sheila – I grew up in Colquitt (Miller County) which is fairly close to Thomasville. I hope you enjoy the teacakes recipe!

    2. oh my goodness, can’t believe this, two Thomasville girls found you. How amaizing is that? Would love to hear from Sheila.

  52. My maternal grandma lived in Iron City just south of Colquitt. We have been trying (unsuccessfully) to recreate her teacakes for years. My daughter actually brought another effort over just last night … while good, still not the real deal. I can hardly wait to try your recipe.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Dixie. I’d love to know what you think about the teacakes after you make the recipe!

  53. Nick Holt says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I will be baking them this afternoon. My Granny used to make tea cakes for us quite often. I never could master her recipe. She never had to write anything down, hence no recipe for me. As a man, I love to cook the old-fashioned way: Chicken and dumplins, fried corn ( always field corn, never sweet corn, cause we never heard of sweet corn) fried okra, field peas, butter beans and collard greens along with fried corn bread. I come from the Tri-state area (Ala, Fla, Ga) Everything was home grown. My most favorite desserts were Lane Cake (the six layer kind) and Nanner Pudd’n . I now need to come back to the present from your website. Thank you for the trip!

  54. what a wonderful site. I was recently going through my Bigmama’s recipes, and found the recipe for teacakes. I made them and the memories flooded back. I was trying to explain what teacakes are to my husband (he is afflicted by being a Yankee, but we don’t hold that against him, we just take his hand and try to lead him down the right road). Your recipe was right on. The only difference was that my Bigmama did not ever cut out the cookies as we were always in too much of a hurry for her teacakes, that she cut them up (southern dumpling style) and baked them. Wonderful memories – great piece of southern heritage!

    1. Thank you so much, Kim. It’s comments like yours that keep me writing, cooking, and photographing for this little blog. If you have any other Southern favorites you’d like to see here, please be sure to let me know!

  55. I love this post! When I saw the tea cakes it took me right back to my elementary school days in Richland Ga. The lunch ladies use to make them for us. What town are you from? Thanks for this post. I loved it!

    1. Brandy – I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and that it brought back fond memories for you! I’m from Colquitt in Miller County. Far southwest corner of the state.

      1. I am from SW Georgia also, but a little farther SW than you. I was born and raised in Thomasville. Married a Marine and moved to Onslow County North Carolina (home of Camp LeJeune). We only moved once (Hawaii) then moved back.
        Love your stories, and could fill a book of my own.
        I hope to try your Tea Cake recipe as soon as the Christmas rush is over and I can slow down a little. My grandma always made them, I can’t remember her making anything else. I have tried so many different recipes, they just don’t taste like hers. And I have asked all of her kids if they remembered the recipe, I don’t think they were allowed in the kitchen when she was cooking.
        Cook on Southern gurl.

  56. Judy English says:

    This past summer our son and his wife asked us to come to the beach and visit them while they were on vacation. They have a five year old daughter , and a nine year old son. I decided I would take some desserts. First I made a pound cake for the adults, and then I decided I would make a chocolate cake for the nine year old boy that he loved, and then I pondered what to make for our sweet Caroline. I decided to make the teacakes because my mom had made them many times when I was a little girl. When it was dessert time the night we got there, I opened up the two cakes and Caroline asked what I had made for her. When I opened the tupperware container and she had to look inside. She looked up at me with her big eyes and said, “Grandma, Those are just plain cookies.” I was so afraid she was not going to like them. After she ate the first one she wanted another and she and her brother finished them while we were there. Now she begs me to make them for her. She says they are the best teacakes in the world. So maybe I have started a memory that they will carry with them after I am gone.

  57. Peggy Keys Brunson says:

    I was sitting at my desk looking at recipes for tea cakes and ran across your lifetime of memories. Wow! did that take me back. I was telling my grandchildren about the same things. When I read Aunt Burr-niss’s name that really cracked me up. We had an Aunt Rose Ella (called in Florida) Aint Ro-zella. Too funny. I also come from a cooking family. My Mom is a great cook, you talking about good dressing ooh! I am also a great cook. We have a big family and I cook for them a lot, and when I cook I cook with lots of love. Thank you for the memory lane I just went down. God Bless you!

  58. PJ Knight says:

    Lana, I read the recipe for the fried catfish, then the cheese grits. I lingered over the chicken and dumplings …. and then finally when I got here to the teacakes, I cried. Thank you so much for saving and sharing these heirloom recipes that feed our souls as well as our bodies.

    1. Thank you so much! Your comment just made all the effort that goes into this blog completely worthwhile!

  59. Renee (Kudos Kitchen) says:

    What a wonderful post Lana. I loved reading all about the memories you have via the food you create. Perfect!

  60. alex at a moderate life says:

    Hi Lana, what a lovely site you have! I am now following you on twitter. My favorite thing about visiting food blogs besides wonderful recipes and beautiful food photography is to hear the stories of why a food became a comfort food and why it feeds the soul. It’s one of the reasons I started the hearth and soul recipe hop so folks could share these intimate memories! I love your tea cakes and I will be making them for my girls! all the best, alex@amoderatelife

  61. My mama grew up in Dawson, GA, and I always loved hearing her stories of how it was “back in the day.” Your blog reminds me of her stories. She is also one that doesn’t especially love to cook, but she has a few really good things. And teacakes are one of the things she makes well.

    Great post!

  62. SMITH BITES says:

    what lovely memories Lana and you know i’m a sucker for a good story!! i think that some of why i cook IS for those memories and i don’t care if it’s soooo ‘1965’ – in fact, i think those are the recipes i enjoy the most – it connects us to a place and time in our own history as well as connects us to those that have passed on – those recipes keep our stories alive!

  63. Such a great story lana! What a lovely post, and the tea cakes look delicious :)

  64. to me this is the best story (memory post). I love when people remember and associate the food with their memories. I’m sure these cookies are awesome!

  65. Those tea cakes remind me of my “ma” she’s going to be 100 this year and she used to make those for me. I have her recipe.. reminded me I need to make me some ( unless your bringing me a treat to work Sunday !!!!)
    I’ll still try yours cause they look yummy. Keep telling the storys we love to read them.

  66. claudia lamascolo/aka pegasuslegend says:

    I dont remember when I saw a more perfect picture of this kind of cookie, the sparkle of sugar is magnificent would love to dive into the screen and grab one!

    1. Wow, Claudia – thank you so much! I tried really hard to make that photo special and I liked the way it turned out, too.

  67. Love your stories Lana.
    I grew up in the burbs but so much of what you say was the same for me. Just a much simpler and carefree time.
    It sounds like your Gama & I have something in common..”Just not born to be a cook” lol

    1. Ha! Teri – you could totally make these teacakes. Really – they’re not difficult at all!

  68. Charlotte says:

    I grew up in Mobile, Al and have so many of the same food memories that you do. I remember the teacakes my grandmother used to make, they looked much like yours only not as perfectly round. I guess Nany didnt cut hers out with a cookie cutter or jelly jar! Thanks for the memories!(almost broke out in song there!)

  69. Love the nostalgic connect with the food post. Makes it so much more delicious and meaningful! Thank you for sharing this special window to your world Lana. These tea cakes sound wonderful!

  70. Cookin' Canuck says:

    I’d love reading your childhood memories and I agree with you about our parents and grandparents recipes – they are meant to be made with love and cherished.

    1. Thanks, Dara. I do cherish all those old recipes. I especially love the church cookbooks that were published back in the 70’s and 80’s in my hometown. I refer to them often!

  71. Oh boy!!! Yes Aunt Margie was a WONDERFUL cook. I don’t remember anything that she prepared that wasn’t delicious. Wish you and BeeBop could be here Sunday for dinner. Can’t believe that your baby sister is 50. Guess that means bringing out family recipes and gathering in the clan.

    1. She was a wonderful cook, wasn’t she? And a fantastic hostess, too. I remember her beautiful china especially.

  72. I grew up in a tiny Kentucky town that sounds very similar to yours. We didn’t get our first traffic light until my senior year of high school & our idea of fun was “cruising” main street from Cee Bee on one end to Ferrell’s Burgers on the other!

    Once I went off to college, my Mama often shipped me care packages with her yummy tea cakes inside, and all my friends would pile up on my tiny dorm room bed and eat them while I read the sweet letter that came inside the box. Such special memories!

    1. How sweet, Beth! I can just picture you and your friends eating teacakes in your dorm room. Glad I could bring that memory back for you.

  73. Stephanie says:

    Gorgeous post! I love everything about it- your nostalgia, your photos, your storytelling- everything! And the teacakes sound fantastic too :)

    1. Thank you, Stephanie. I may be doing even more nostalgic posts in the near future :-)

  74. Feast on the Cheap says:

    What a wonderfully nostalgic post! Sounds like you’re from fantastic stock ;)

  75. Being from middle Georgia, I can relate to your story in so many ways. Wouldn’t it be a better world today if we could all still live as simply as our Mom’s and Dad’s did. I’ll have to try your tea cake recipe. My hubby loves the ones his Mom used to make but I haven’t been able to perfect my recipe so far.

    1. Tricia – I hope you and your hubby like this one. It tastes exactly the way my aunt’s teacakes always did.

  76. France @beyondthepeel says:

    Being from both Quebec and Saskatchewan in Canada, you might imagine I have never had a teacake. I am so delighted that you shared these. It’s like traveling but through food and sharing memories with a complete stranger. I will try to imagine your childhood while eating these.

    1. And I’m delighted that I could share a little taste of the South with you! I do hope you’ll try these teacakes and enjoy them.

  77. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle says:

    You are so right Lana and I can conjure up special moments even now with my beloved Grandma, just thinking of Pecan Butter Balls or one of her many German specialties. So 1965? That evokes family meals of substance that I still love even if I made some adjustments for today; spaghetti with real Parmesan and not from a green can comes to mind!

    1. I’m sure there’s some psychological explanation for it, Barbara, but for me food has a very powerful way of bringing back old memories. Especially the older recipes that were always present in my childhood. And who cares if it’s “so 1965?” Age really has nothing to do with the quality or enjoyment of a recipe!

  78. OMGoodness! I think we must be sister. My Mama made the exact same things that yours made and they were the best. You brought back a lot of good memories of my Mama and her cooking and meals around the table with the family. I love teacakes and can’t wait to make these even though I have been on a diet and trying not to eat a lot of sweets, but what the heck!

    1. Pat – Just make a batch, have one or two for yourself, and share them with the neighbors. They’ll be your friends forever ;-)

  79. Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food says:

    What a simply lovely post, Lana, and it evokes so many similar memories for me. I guess I “know” that the rural South can’t actually be all that different from other places, but in my heart I do think of it as special in terms of the way family, food, a slower pace, and the importance given to easy chat and wonderful story-telling all came together for me personally.

    1. I think of it as special, too. And even though it is different now, Barbara, you can still find little areas in the South where life still moves slowly. Where there’s still time to sit around the dinner table with family and tell old familiar stories. Where families still have annual reunions and churches still have homecoming (with “dinner on the grounds”).

  80. Tea cakes remind me of Aunt Margie. She always had a batch on hand, and stored them in one of those large clear gallon-plus size jars with the screw on top. When we went to her house, having tea cakes available was just as constant as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. I know that Uncle Bud would like a batch of these, to remind him of his one true love.

    Miss P

    1. I remember it now! That big jar with the screw lid. I *knew* there was someone in the family who always had teacakes at their house, but I couldn’t remember who. Aunt Margie was an outstanding cook! And not just ordinary things, either. She would tackle any recipe no matter how complicated. I bet Uncle Bud would like some of these, too. And a slice of chocolate pie – his favorite :-)

    2. Jerry Walker says:

      I had an Aunt Margie and Uncle Bud in FT. Worth Texas that did the same.

  81. Mama Kelly aka Jia says:

    Isn’t it funny how many memories we associate with food? That’s one of the reasons I’ve always made cooking real food for my kids a priority. Thanks for sharing so many happy moments!!

    1. Absolutely! And having them cook with you creates memories that they will pass down in years to come :-)

  82. begin with a Sunny Outlook says:

    I love reading your stories about the past! Your childhood town sounds like the town I grew up in. It was grand! All your recipes are fabulous, and I agree, cooking is a way of showing love to your family.

    1. I love making those old recipes that remind me of wonderful times in the kitchens and dining rooms of my family members. It creates continuity from generation to generation and keeps their spirit alive for today’s little ones.

  83. Thanks for the precious memories, L. All of us southern girls have our tales to tell about the wonderful, loving cooks we grew up with, and I loved hearing about yours. It made me think of my Mama, my “little Mama” and my Ma’Mama – true southern ladies and marvelous cooks everyone. Love you. B.

    1. Thanks, B. I have so many more memories that I could have shared but I’ll save them for another time. I was afraid the length of this post would scare off too many people :-) Love ya, too.

    2. Bishop Smith says:

      Thank you for your stories about your grandmothers and your precious mother. I also come from a family of great women cooks. Your stories literally almost brought tears to my eyes as you spoke of the “good old days.”
      Thank you for sharing from your heart the wonderful childhood memories of that down home southern cooking recipes. My grandmothers were great cooks and of course, but my Mom was the best. I remembered most all her recipes for the wonderful meals except her mouth watering tea cakes. When I think of her tea cakes the kids in the neighborhood would fight to get one, and of course my brothers and sisters would also. The love that was put into the tea cakes will always be special to my heart and childhood memories. I am a minister and a guy, but I loved cooking my mother’s food, she has since gone to heaven, but she will never be forgotten. I feel as I cook her meals I can feel her presence and her laughing with me ! May the Lord bless you good. Keep telling your old time stories for there are a lot of” old school” people out here that experienced so many of the same memories of childhood. Blessings to You, Bishop Alfonzo Smith, Senior Pastor Redeemed Church Detroit, MI PS thanks for the tea cake recipe!!!!