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Southern Tea Cakes – A Taste of History

By February 27, 2024No Comments1 min read

img 1037Clients at the Bucyrus Cooking Club this week baked and enjoyed Southern tea cakes, a staple in the Black culinary tradition, as part of Black History Month activities.

Similar to sugar cookies, Southern tea cakes are distinguished by their cake-like interior and slightly domed top. They’ve been described as a rustic approximation of European tea cakes that the enslaved women made for plantation owners and their guests. Kitchens in those big houses had luxuries like sugar, butter, nutmeg and vanilla; but enslaved people could substitute molasses and lard to add to the eggs, baking soda or baking powder, and flour.

Following Emancipation, as more of the ingredients became readily available, the humble tea cake became closely associated with Black American culture. As freed people move north during the Great Migration, they brought with them their tradition of making tea cakes.

Working with chilled dough made earlier, the clients rolled it out and cut the tea cakes out for baking. They then enjoyed the warm treat while sipping on tea.

Want to try making Southern tea cakes yourself? Here’s a simple recipe:


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