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Friday Food: Little Orange Tea Cakes

One little cakeLittle Mandarin Tea Cakes, because the recipe said I could. KnightlyKnitter told me about these cakes, from Stephanie Alexander, and this is the fifth batch I've baked. It is meant to be a tea cake baked in a ring tin, but I don't have a ring tin. It can be made into little cup cakes and so that is what I did.


The beauty of this recipe is that you whip it all together in two minutes, use any citrus fruit, and then bake in about 20 minutes. I like to put my sugar and cubed butter into the oven for a few minutes as it pre-heats : the sugar warms through, the butter softens and it helps the mixture come together very quickly. Take care the butter doesn't totally melt!! I've done that far too many times.

Once you turn the oven on you can be done and dusted in half an hour. I only filled the cup cake papers 3/4 full, as that is what I prefer and my batch made 14 cakes. If you fill them a little fuller it will make a round dozen. The recipe's measurements are nicely old-fashioned, so it is easy to halve, or double.

MrsDrWho reliably informs me that they keep well for at least three days in an airtight container.

I made just half the recommended amount of icing and I think it is plenty for little cakes, but a cake baked in a ring tin would probably need the full amount.


Little Orange Tea Cakes    makes 12-14

  • 125g (1/2 cup) butter, cubed and softened
  • 165g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • zest and juice of one large orange ( or two limes, lemons or mandarins)
  • 225g ( 1 1/2 cups) self raising flour, sifted

For the icing

  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • zest and juice of 1/2- 1 orange ( or whatever fruit you are using)
  • 1 tspn melted butter
  • a little extra hot water if necessary


Preheat the oven to 190*C and line one or two muffin trays with paper cases.

Start the cakes

Place the zest and juice, eggs, flour, butter and sugar into one bowl.

Add and beat

Beat on a slow speed at first to bring all the ingredients together and then on a high speed, for two minutes in total. The mixture will be lighter in colour, and it is a fairly stiff batter. You can add a little extra juice or some milk if you like it to be looser.

Fill and bake

Spoon into the paper cases. I used a 20ml, slightly heaped, tablespoon. Bake for about 20 minutes. The cakes will puff up and look baked, but they should be flatter on top and a much more caramel colour when they are actually ready.


I swap and turn the trays half way through and mine took the whole 20 minutes.

Inside the cakes

They will have come away from the side of the tin and a skewer poked into the centre will come out clean, no crumbs or wet batter.


Cool on a rack. They don't take long, so while the are cooling, put the icing ingredients into a bowl and beat until combined. If you like your icing runny, add a little more juice. If it is too runny, add a little more icing sugar. You can see I don't even bother melting the butter, I find it just beats into the icing and disappears as if by magic......

Ice the cakes and then eat them immediately, or a bit later on!!!

Little orange tea cakes



These look delish!

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