Tea cakes recipe

(590 ratings)

Tea cakes are a simple bake to make for afternoon tea. They take a little while to prove but the active time is minimal and they're so delicious!

tea cakes
(Image credit: TI Media)
  • healthy
Preparation Time30 mins
Cooking Time15 mins
Total Time45 mins Plus proving time
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories252 Kcal13%
Sugar17.3 g19%
Fat4.7 g7%
Saturated Fat2.6 g13%
Salt0.16 gRow 4 - Cell 2
Protein6.6 g13%
Carbohydrates46.4 g18%
Salt0.16 gRow 7 - Cell 2

Tea cakes are a classic British bake that go wonderfully with a cup of tea in the afternoon (or morning!). Despite this recipe for tea cakes requiring a little bit of time to let the dough prove, the actual time you'll be physically preparing them is under half an hour, and we think they're well worth the effort. These will keep for a couple of days in an airtight tin, but in our experience they never last that long. They're delicious, fresh from the oven, spread with butter so they're still warm when you eat them.


  • 500g bread flour, sieved
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g cubed butter
  • 7g fast action dried yeast
  • 40g caster sugar, plus 3tbsp for the glaze
  • 220g mixed dried fruit
  • ½tsp ground ginger
  • ½tsp ground cinnamon
  • 300ml warm milk, plus extra for brushing




  1. Rub together the butter, salt and flour with your fingers to make a breadcrumb-like texture. Add the yeast, dried fruit, sugar and spices and mix thoroughly.
  2. Create a small well in the middle of your mixture using a spoon. Add most of the milk to the flour mixture, reserving about 1/4 of it, and mix until you have a soft dough. Knead your dough on a floured surface for around ten minutes, until it is smooth and springy. Grease a mixing bowl and leave your dough in it, covered, for around 2 hours. Your mixture should double in size during this time.
  3. After this first rise knock the dough back by kneading it briefly again, until it feels elastic again. Divide into 12 for average sized tea cakes, or six for bigger ones (but remember these will need extra time in the oven!). Arrange on a greased baking sheet and cover.
  4. Leave your mixture to rise again in a warm place, for around one hour, until your tea cakes have doubled in size.
  5. Heat your oven to 220C. Brush your tea cakes with the remaining milk to glaze them. Bake in the middle of the oven for around 10 - 15 minutes, until golden. Warm 3tbsp caster with 3tbsp of water until it's dissolved. Use this glaze to brush your tea cakes with.
Rosie Conroy
Food Writer

Rosie is an experienced food and drinks journalist who has spent over a decade writing about restaurants, cookery, and foodie products. Previously Content Editor at Goodto.com and Digital Food Editor on Woman&Home, Rosie is well used to covering everything from food news through to taste tests. Now, as well as heading up the team at SquareMeal - the UK's leading guide to restaurants and bars - she also runs a wedding floristry business in Scotland called Lavender and Rose.