Grace’s Tea Cake Recipe

Almost every year, I throw a Garden Party and  the item which must be on the menu are Martino’s teacakes, moist and delicious teacake_cranberryheavenly confections. Martino’s has been around for decades and is located in Burbank.  In an effort to duplicate the recipe, my friend Ann Jones provided me with a recipe that she hears is pretty close in the results in flavor and texture.


A teacake is different in various parts of the world.  In the Southeastern United States, a tea cake is a traditional dense large cookie, made with sugar, butter, eggs, flour, milk, and flavoring.In the rest of the United States, a tea cake is a spice cake topped with powdered sugar. Sometimes it may contain fruits such as apricots, blueberries, or cranberries.

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk, divided us
  • For the glaze
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk or sift together flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  In another bowl, cream sugars and oil. Add vanilla.
Add 1/3 of the eggs to sugar mixture and mix. Repeat 2 times. Mix for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk and mix. Add flour mixture and mix 3 minutes. Finally, add the remaining buttermilk and mix until smooth. Batter will be thin. Pour into cupcake tins.

Bake 20 minutes. Test with a clean toothpick to make sure cupcakes are done. Frost with a glaze.
To make the glaze, melt butter until golden. Add to confectioners’ sugar, along with vanilla and water. Whisk until the texture is smooth and creamy. Dip cooled teacake tops into the glaze. Place on a rack and let them sit until the glaze hardens. If it is a humid day, refrigerate them in order to speed the process. Makes about 24.

Behind the Scenes of a Garden Party with Chef Jay

THE CHALLENGE: All Chefs have egos but MCCN Editor Crystal Johnson asked Chef Jay Bonilla of MCCN’s En La Cocina Para Mi Amor to put aside his ego to go where no chef really wants to go…work with food prepared by other people for… a Garden Party event.   He beautified donated items such as finger sandwiches(cucumber sandwiches), cupcakes, teacakes, fruit and Quiche for a Garden Party.  The former executive chef of D’Cache Restaurant in Toluca Lake, CA is a marvel.  Make no mistake he found a way to leave his mark with vinaigrette for the apple walnut based salad which left a buzz among the 70 women served and taste for more of what Chef Jay has to offer.

PART TWO: Teach inexperienced young adult males and teen volunteers the art of presentation and serving.

*Chef Jay talks with MCCN Editor while serving.

Look for up coming interview with Chef Jay about the challenge. 

Tea /Garden Party Menu

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I love tea parties.  I throw a garden party every year.  Thus, MCCN is excited about the exposure that Alice in Wonderland is giving to the age old tradition.  Garden parties are great for the spring and often in the winter people hold annual Holiday tea parties.  Enjoy trying out these menus suggestions.  I will note among one of my favorite things on my menu for tea parties is teacakes.  Martinos Bakery in  Burbank, CA is famous for their teacakes.

The traditional menu for a full afternoon tea usually consists of:

•a cup of soup •piece of quiche

•side salad

•tea sandwiches (Cucumber, Watercress, curry chicken)

 •scones •sweets/bite-size desserts

It is your choice to deviate from the traditional menu. Consider the season, available produce, time of day of your event, how much work you want to do, your guests needs, etc., and customize the above menu accordingly. What tea do you plan to serve?

Tea pairs with and compliments food similar to wine. The following teas are the best choices for an afternoon tea event:





 5.Lapsang Souchong



Visit the Tea Party Girl Website for exact pairing of tea with food:

MCCN enjoying a spot of tea with guest