Irish Tea Cakes – Tasty Tuesday

St. Patick’s Day is coming up, so I wanted to try out a new special treat.  I was trying to think of something that would be a dessert type item without being so sweet that I could only eat it after dinner but still creating an indulgence.  A lot of Irish desserts tend to be not in the typical American mold of dessert – which I actually like – so I was wracking my brains for something that was still appealing to those with less adventurous palates.  Since I’m hosting FnB this week, I decided to make Irish Tea Cakes, which is something that we could easily snack on.

I’m glad I did.  It has a lemon glaze that it beyond delicious, and while I dyed it green for the sake of St. Patrick’s Day, this would be great for any time of year with no special color.  I did make sure to pick up currants for this, although you could actually use raisins.  Because it’s a fairly delicate cake, using raisins will make it more likely to break apart than the smaller currants – but it’s totally doable with raisins and will still taste good even if it doesn’t slice perfectly, right?  I will also advise that you need to slice this cake about a half inch or more thick.  It isn’t designed to be a tiny little slice (yay, right?) and will not hold up to thin slices well.

Looks good, doesn’t it?

Irish tea cakes ready to eat

What treats do you make for St. Patrick’s Day?  I’m always looking for more inspiration.  Regardless, link up what your recipes from the past week and visit others who have their Tasty Tuesday recipes shared.

Lemon Glazed Irish Tea Cakes

Ingredients:
3/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature (I used European butter to really give it that extra oomph – I highly advise it for this)
1 c sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 t vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
2 eggs
3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 3/4 c cake flour (it’s delicate – go for it with the cake flour if you can)
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c dried currants (or raisins if you don’t have them, but currants will work better)
2/3 c buttermilk
2 t fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c powdered sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Prepare a 9 inch loaf pan by greasing and flouring it.  I’ll admit that I have a Wilton cake release bottle that I use that is amazingly effective (not sponsored) where I simply place a little in the pan and use my pastry brush to spread it around.  It’s never failed me.

Pastry brush to spread grease in a pan

In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla until it’s light and fluffy and has come back together. Add your eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add cream cheese and mix until it’s fully incorporated.  If you don’t have your cream cheese at room temperature, it will not fully incorporate and leave little lumps of cream cheese.  While this isn’t the worst thing in the world, get your cream cheese out an hour before you start making this and have it at room temperature. Add the baking powder and salt to the batter and mix until combined.

To keep the currants from sticking together and from sinking to the bottom of the tea cakes, you want to coat them in flour.  It’s a great trick for any recipe where you have an addition you want to keep suspended.  Place the currants in a small bowl and add 1/4 cup of the flour to the currants. Stir currants by hand until well-coated and none of them are stuck together.

Coat currants in flour to keep from sticking

Add 1 cup of the remaining flour to butter mixture.  Slowly stir until it’s mostly incorporated.  Add the buttermilk and mix until it’s an even consistency. Add the last of the flour and stir until most of the white streaks are gone but not all of them. Use a spatula to carefully stir in currants until it’s just about all combined.

Spatula stirs batter

Pour your batter into your prepared pan, and bake it at 325 degrees for an hour and a half.   You want the cake to crack on top and have the crack dry out just a little.

Let cake start to cool in pan for 10 minutes. While it’s cooling, prepare the glaze by mixing the lemon juice with the powdered sugar, using a fork.  Once the cake is settled, carefully remove cake from pan to cooling rack.  Using a toothpick, poke holes all over the top of the cake to help the glaze soak into the cake.

Use a toothpick to poke holes in the top of the cakes

Slowly drizzle the glaze all over the cake, making sure you’re taking enough time that it soaks in and doesn’t simply drip off the side of the cake.  Let the cake cool completely before you cut it to help it stay together – and remember those slices need to be at least a half inch thick.  You can keep this cake for 3 days (if it lasts that long) on the counter wrapped in tin foil.

Green glaze for Irish Tea Cakes for St. Patrick's Day

 

Irish Tea Cakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 8-10

Irish Tea Cakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature (I used European butter to really give it that extra oomph - I highly advise it for this)
  • 1 c sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 t vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 c cake flour (it's delicate - go for it with the cake flour if you can)
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 c dried currants (or raisins if you don't have them, but currants will work better)
  • 2/3 c buttermilk
  • 2 t fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a 9 inch loaf pan by greasing and flouring it. I'll admit that I have a Wilton cake release bottle that I use that is amazingly effective (not sponsored) where I simply place a little in the pan and use my pastry brush to spread it around. It's never failed me.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla until it's light and fluffy and has come back together. Add your eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add cream cheese and mix until it's fully incorporated. If you don't have your cream cheese at room temperature, it will not fully incorporate and leave little lumps of cream cheese. While this isn't the worst thing in the world, get your cream cheese out an hour before you start making this and have it at room temperature.
  3. Add the baking powder and salt to the batter and mix until combined.
  4. To keep the currants from sticking together and from sinking to the bottom of the tea cakes, you want to coat them in flour. It's a great trick for any recipe where you have an addition you want to keep suspended. Place the currants in a small bowl and add 1/4 cup of the flour to the currants. Stir currants by hand until well-coated and none of them are stuck together.
  5. Add 1 cup of the remaining flour to butter mixture. Slowly stir until it's mostly incorporated. Add the buttermilk and mix until it's an even consistency. Add the last of the flour and stir until most of the white streaks are gone but not all of them. Use a spatula to carefully stir in currants until it's just about all combined.
  6. Pour your batter into your prepared pan, and bake it at 325 degrees for an hour and a half. You want the cake to crack on top and have the crack dry out just a little.
  7. Let cake start to cool in pan for 10 minutes. While it's cooling, prepare the glaze by mixing the lemon juice with the powdered sugar, using a fork. Once the cake is settled, carefully remove cake from pan to cooling rack. Using a toothpick, poke holes all over the top of the cake to help the glaze soak into the cake.
  8. Slowly drizzle the glaze all over the cake, making sure you're taking enough time that it soaks in and doesn't simply drip off the side of the cake. Let the cake cool completely before you cut it to help it stay together - and remember those slices need to be at least a half inch thick. You can keep this cake for 3 days (if it lasts that long) on the counter wrapped in tin foil.
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Comments

  1. My mouth is watering after reading this. I’ve printed it out and I will be making it for my 100% Dutch husband on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m only 1/4 Irish, but my dad (1/2 Irish) always made a big deal out of it so I do, too.

    In 1977, in Ireland, we met an Irishman with his family on vacation. When he heard that we had been in the Netherlands visiting Jerry’s distant relatives, he said (imagine a thick Dublin accent), “You know, they say if the Dutch lived in Ireland they could feed all of Europe, but if the Irish lived in the Netherlands they’d all drown.” Love that self-deprecating Irish humor.

    • This was *so* good. I haven’t gotten many comments on here, but I’m amazed at how many times it’s been repinned and liked – and how often this post has been visited (yay!) It’s definitely a keeper and oh so yummy. I hope you enjoy it!

      And yeah, the Irish humor is awesome. I’ve definitely inherited that version of it from my ancestors.

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