Southern Tea Cakes Recipe
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4.7 from 33 votes

Deep South Old Fashioned Tea Cakes

Southern tea cakes made the old-fashioned way. Simple ingredients just the way Granny made them.
Course cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American, southern
Keyword cookies, flour, old fashioned, powdered sugar, rolled, tea
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Author Divas Can Cook


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter-flavored shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg room temperature
  • lemon zest 1 small lemon
  • 1/2 vanilla bean scraped
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk


  • In a large bowl cream together butter and shortening until creamy.
  • Mix in sugar until well combined.
  • Mix in egg.
  • Mix in lemon zest and vanilla bean paste. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
  • Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk.
  • Turn dough onto a smooth surface and knead until dough is soft.
  • Shape into a disk and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour (or freeze for 30 minutes)
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Remove dough from fridge and plastic wrap.
  • Knead dough to soften it.
  • Roll dough to 1/4-inch thick.( I rolled the dough on parchment to prevent sticking)
  • Use a round cookie cutter to cut out circle shapes.
  • Place cookies on prepared pan about 2 inches apart. (see note)
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes until bottoms are lightly golden. (see note)
  • Remove from pan and place on cooling rack to finish cooling.
  • Once cooled store in airtight container.



1. The dough should be cold when going into the oven. So if needed pop the cut cookies into the fridge to chill it again. (If you work at a steady pace you probably won't need to chill it again since it does stay cold for a while)
2. Do not over bake the cookies! They will not get golden on the tops and will continue to cook as they cool.