Whenever I mention to folks who grew up in the Los Angeles area during the 50s, 60s or 70s, that my father owned Grace Pastries, tea cakes and dobash cakes inevitably enter the conversation. While I admit his multi-layer dobash cake was great, the tea cakes always had a special place in my heart. His original tea cake recipe for 70 DOZEN and called for 16 lbs of brown sugar and 24 lbs of buttermilk (just to name a few ingredients), proved a little too unwieldy not to mention, impractical for us home kitchen bakers. So without further ado, here is the tested, tried and true recipe for a more manageable number of Grace Pastries’ Danish Tea Cakes.
For the batter:
- 1-1/4 cups brown sugar
- 3/4 cup extra fine white sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 eggs (minus 1 tablespoon)
- 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
- 2-1/2 cups cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
For the icing:
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons hot water
Preheat oven to 375°.
Cream together the brown sugar, white sugar, vegetable oil, salt and vanilla. Add the eggs in three parts. Cream slowly for six minutes, continually scraping down the sides. Add 3/4 cup of the buttermilk, cake flour and baking soda until smooth. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of buttermilk.
Line the muffin cups with paper liners. Fill cups 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out on cooling racks. Repeat with any remaining batter. Let cool completely before topping with the icing.
Heat the butter slowly and cook until until golden brown.
In a separate bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and hot water together. Add the melted butter. Whisk until smooth.
While the icing mixture is still warm but the cakes are cooled, dip the tops of the cakes into the icing mix and cool again, careful not to layer the icing on too thickly.
Dad baked his tea cakes in restaurant grade square muffin tins using regular, round cupcake liners. Some specialty cookware stores may have the square tins, and you can also find them online but I found mine at, of all places, Marshall’s in the kitchen section. Enjoy!