Orange Tea Cakes


I love the idea of sitting down for tea. You know what I’m talking about – sunny Sunday afternoons, a white table on a lawn, buttered scones and crumpets, a butler in coat-tails and possibly an English castle in the background. When I cannot recreate this scenario, however (which is surprisingly often), I like to pick up/make foods that are associated with tea-time. Scones (which I’ve attempted earlier) are one of my favorites but tea cakes come a close second.

The USP of tea food, I think, is that it’s sweet and pleasant but not too rich. Meaning, you can eat a lot of it and not sit in a dull, sugar-induced haze after. These tea cakes fit the bill perfectly – they’re spongy (no denseness at all, here), have citrus undertones, a dash of sweetness and a little crunch. They’re the sort of cakes you’d pile on a platter and eat (in one shot) while downing a pot of spiced tea.


Each cake is made with light batter that fluffs up into a little cloud of sugar and butter while baking. They’re flavored with spoonfuls of orange rind and a hefty slug of juice, for a sweet finish. They are then covered with a little vanilla-orange glaze, before being topped with crushed walnut. The result is a fun combination of sugary, fruity and nutty flavors, which would make it both a kiddie and adult favorite.

Orange Tea Cakes

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp vanilla

1/2 cup orange juice

1 tbsp orange rind, crushed

2 eggs

Cream together the butter and sugar for around three minutes. Break the eggs in, one at a time, and beat until everything is well incorporated.

Powder the sugar and then sift the flour, sugar and baking powder into a large bowl.

Stir the vanilla and orange rind into the orange juice.

Pour the flour and vanilla mixtures into the butter-sugar-egg mixture in batches, beating at the lowest setting until it’s all combined. The final batter will be thick and shiny, with the slightest tint of orange.

Grease a cupcake tray and pour in the batter (this much batter will make around 20 cupcakes).

Bake at 170 C for 15 minutes. It might take a little longer, depending on the size of your cupcake tray, so check with a toothpick before taking the trays out of the oven.


Vanilla Orange Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp orange juice

1/2 tsp orange rind

Stir everything into a bowl and beat until well combined and sticky.


Crushed Walnut

1 cup chopped walnuts

Toss the cup into a blender and pulse it until it’s coarse and crumbly. Make sure you don’t process it for too long, though, or it will start to leave oil and turn into a butter.

Once the tea cakes are cool, scoop them out of their trays. Add a spoonful of glaze on top of each (I turned them upside down, for fun) and then dip it into a bowl with the crushed walnut.

Eat it with a large pot of mint tea, with maybe a basset hound lying at your feet – preferably on a lawn somewhere.


2 thoughts on “Orange Tea Cakes

  1. Kavya

    Looks awesome and I love the glaze bit : will surely try it.
    Since i dont use eggs in my cake i have an eggless orange cake recipe that i use which comes out quite well. Here it is for you:
    sugar 3/4 cup
    1/3 rd cup oil
    1/3 rd cup orange juice
    zest of two oranges (grate the orange part alone; the whites make it a little bitter)
    1 cup yoghurt
    1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp baking soda
    2 cups flour
    1 tsp vanilla essence
    some walnuts crushed

    Mix the sugar and the orange zest. add the yoghurt to it and beat (by hand) till sugar dissolves. Add the oil. Then add the orange juice. Next add the baking powder and soda. Bubbles will form. Keep aside.
    Meanwhile sieve the flour and walnuts.
    After the bubbles subside, add the flour/walnut mixture little by little to the yoghurt/sugar/zest/oil/juice mixture. Mix well.
    Lastly add the vanilla essence.

    Bake for 30 mts on 185 degrees or till toothpick comes out clean.

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