Tea Cakes are it turns out a highly contentious topic. A search online shows that there is no single, overarching definition of what defines a tea cake, in fact there are a plethora of definitions, each more divergent that the one before.
In America (especially in the south), tea cakes resemble a basic cookie or biscuit. In the UK, tea cakes resemble bread rolls or yeast bun which are served toasted with butter and spreads. The Swedish tea cake is a type of soda bread. In Australia, tea cakes are dense cakes usually dusted with icing sugar, caster sugar and/or cinnamon.
It is this, Australian type of tea cake which most recently came from my oven. The idea of this type of tea cake is that the cake should be able to easily be picked up and eaten without the necessity of a fork. This is not a highly sweet, frosted cake. Regardless of the type of tea cake, tea cakes are universally non-iced cakes whose flavours are not overpowering.
To experience your very own – Tea Cake Experience, have a go at the recipe below. Note that below the recipe are a few alterations which I plan on making next time.
Apple Cinnamon Tea Cake
- 2 Eggs (separated)
- 3/4C (165g) Caster Sugar
- 1 1/2 C (225g) Self-Raising Flour (sifted)
- 3/4C (180ml) Milk
- 45G Butter (melted)
- 1/2Tsp Vanilla
- 1 Apple (cored and sliced)
- 10G Butter (melted)
- 1Tbsp Caster Sugar
- 1/2Tsp Cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 190C or 170C fan forced
- lightly grease and line a 20cm spring form cake tin
- Using an electric mixer beat egg whites until firm peaks form
- Add sugar gradually (1Tbsp at a time) beating constantly until mixture is thick and glossy
- Add in egg yolks one at a time
- Using a metal spoon, gently fold through flour alternating with wet ingredients (milk, butter, vanilla). Begin and end with flour
- Pour mixture into prepared tin
- Arrange apple slices on top and bake for 30-35 minutes (until skewer inserted comes out clean)
- Upon removing cake from oven – brush hot cake with melted butter and sprinkle with combined sugar and cinnamon to make cinnamon topping.
- Serve warm
This is a lovely cake – the apple and cinnamon topic is fabulous, however the rest of the cake is quite plain (good texture, but very plain flavour wise). Next time I will be adding a layer of cinnamon sugar half way through pouring the cake into the tin. Alternatively, when preparing the tin sprinkle a combination of cinnamon and sugar along the sides of the tin.
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