What's a Tea Cake? — Texas Tea Cake Company (2024)

What's a Tea Cake? — Texas Tea Cake Company (1)

A question we are commonly asked here at the Texas Tea Cake Company is "What is a tea cake?" According to historians, the American tea cake was created over 200 years ago by African slaves in the southeastern United States. Tea cakes were initially made by plantation cooks for the guest of white slave owners. These tea cakes, which Etha Robinson describes as rustic approximations of European teacakes1, were typically made with simple ingredients such as sugar, molasses, eggs, and vanilla when available.

Following emancipation, tea cakes became a staple of southern heritage2. Because they used fairly simple, on-hand ingredients, both richer and poorer households could make tea cakes for special occasions or just regular days. Nearly every southern family has someone (a Big Mama, an uncle, a Gama, a grandfather) in their family tree who made tea cakes. As Kelly Starling Lyons notes in her children’s book Tea Cakes for Tash, tea cakes are about more than the cookie itself, they are about making a connection.

What does a tea cake taste like?

Well, that depends on who you ask. Tea cakes have a very distinctive and unique taste. We have heard the taste of tea cakes described in many ways:

  • Sugar cookies with spices

  • Butter cookies with a cake-like consistency

  • Sweet cornbread or pound cake in a cookie–biscuits form

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.

But the best way to know what a tea cake tastes like, is to try one yourself! Click here to order your tea cakes today.

Works Cited

What's a Tea Cake? — Texas Tea Cake Company (2024)


What does Teacake mean? ›

noun. a small cake, cookie, tart, or the like, for serving with tea or punch.

Why do they call tea cakes tea cakes? ›

Afternoon tea, typically served with sandwiches, scones, and cake, was where the higher classes would gather. The term "tea cake" is said to have originated from the custom of serving cake with tea.

What is tea cake's real name in their eyes were watching God? ›

Vergible Woods, known as Tea Cake, is the third husband of Janie Crawford, the protagonist of Zora Neale Hurston's novel Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937).

What is special about tea cake? ›

Tea cakes are soft roll-out cookies that are tender, chewy and pleasantly dense. They are a cookie with a cake-like texture. The ingredients are very simple (flour, sugar, butter, milk, nutmeg, and eggs), and the gentle flavor of nutmeg is what makes these so special.

What do the white men call tea cake? ›

What do the white men call Tea Cake? The white men call him Jim. Whom has Tea Cake seen alive, and who has died in the flood? Tea Cake meets up with Stew Beef, Ed Dockery, Sop-de-Bottom, 'Lias, Coodemay, Bootyny, and Motor Boat when he returns to the Everglades.

Is Tea Cake good or bad? ›

Hurston depicts Tea Cake as not simply a good or bad person, but instead as a real person who is complicated and not easily understood. At times, Tea Cake is motivated by pride, as when he refuses to leave the Everglades at first sign of the impending hurricane, prioritizing money over safety for Janie.

Is a hot cross bun a tea cake? ›

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.

What does a 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.

What's the difference between tea cake and regular cake? ›

Tea cakesare typically denser than sponge cakes as they contain more butter and are often made with a lower amount of rising agents like baking powder.

What does nanny mean when she says that she is a cracked plate? ›

The term "cracked plate" is often used to refer to something that is no longer perfect or in pristine condition, and Nanny is using this term to convey the idea that she has been through difficult experiences and is no longer the person she once was.

Did Tea Cake actually hit Janie? ›

Turner brings her brother to meet Janie, Tea Cake decides to beat Janie to show Mrs. Turner who is the boss. Janie accepts the punishment even though she hasn't don't anything wrong, and then Tea Cake takes care of her injuries. Both men and women in the community see that what Janie and Tea Cake has is special.

What did Tea Cake steal from Janie? ›

Still wary of being ripped off, Janie doesn't tell Tea Cake about the two hundred dollars that she has pinned inside her shirt. A week later, Tea Cake leaves early, saying that he is just running to get fish for breakfast. He doesn't come back, and Janie discovers that her money is missing.

What is the black history of the Tea Cake? ›

In enslaved households, molasses and other ingredients took the place of sugar and white flour in teacakes, and each family developed its own closely guarded recipe. Over time, teacakes become inextricably linked with Southern African American culture.

How did Tea Cake's death affect Janie? ›

Tea Cake's awful death devastates Janie, and she confesses that "she was too busy feeling grief to dress like grief." In contrast to Joe's funeral, Janie does not look like a widow at Tea Cake's funeral, but she certainly feels the sorrow and the pain of being one.

What is tea cakes personality? ›

Main traits of Tea Cake impress the reader with its diversity. This character may become cruel and tentative, fair and absent-minded, loving and independent, serious and playful. Tea Cake's creativity is the key to Janie's development.

Who flirts with Tea Cake? ›

After a while in the muck, Janie begins to grow jealous of Nunkie, a chunky girl who flirts with Tea Cake in the fields. As the season goes on, Nunkie grows bolder and bolder and is always falling over Tea Cake and playfully touching him.

How does Janie feel about Tea Cake at the end of chapter 10? ›

Even after only visiting with Tea Cake for a short period of time, Janie feels like she has known Tea Cake all of her life. Tea Cake brings excitement and new experiences to Janie's life, starting with the game of checkers.

Are tea cakes African American? ›

Tea cakes are an integral part of African American food culture. Originating over 250 years ago, these cookies were a recipe passed down verbally through generations.

What is a synonym for Tea Cake? ›

synonyms: tea biscuit. type of: biscuit, cookie, cooky. any of various small flat sweet cakes (`biscuit' is the British term) any of various small cakes or cookies often served with tea.


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