The Boss of Southern Cuisine: Old Fashioned Tea Cakes

In CHEF H.D. HARRIS, Home and Entertaining, Jim Noetzel by Lola Magazine

The “Us Up North” Kitchen 

300 North Allen, 71101


Try adding this true North Louisiana favorite to your Christmas baking list this year

When I make Tea Cakes, it takes me back to my childhood when our babysitter, Ms. Rosie Faye, made them. I remember watching her as she would beat the butter and sugar together by hand until fluffy. The smell of the batter after she would add the vanilla and nutmeg still lingers to this day. She and her mother, Ms. Angie, were and probably still are hands down the best at making tea cakes in the entire south. 

Whenever someone brings up the subject of tea cakes, my Dad who is now 86,  always says, “You know who makes the best tea cakes? Ms. Angie!” Now I make them for him and here’s my recipe.  Enjoy! 

Old fashioned tea cakes

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1¾ cups white sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs, room temperature

¼ c whole milk

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp of baking soda

½ tsp of baking powder

½ tsp ground nutmeg

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. 
  • In a separate bowl, combine sugar and softened butter. Beat with a mixer or by hand just until fluffy. Do not over beat. 
  • Gradually fold in eggs, vanilla and nutmeg. 
  • Add milk and mix until blended. Dough should still be somewhat fluffy. Sprinkle with flour if necessary. 
  • Scoop 12 heaping tablespoons of dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet or Silpat. 
  • Bake for about 8-10 minutes until lightly brown. Do not let the bottom of the cookies burn. 
  • Remove and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
  • tip: to reduce sugar, use ¾ cup of sugar and 1 cup of sugar substitute