Tea Cakes

A Traditional Juneteenth Celebration Staple


  • 3 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Demerara sugar


  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Add one egg at a time, making sure to mix thoroughly before adding the next. Pour in the buttermilk and the extracts followed by the lemon zest. The mixture will look a little curdled, but keep going.
  4. Mix in the flour, a half cup at a time and mix until smooth. The dough will be very soft. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the dough and refrigerate the dough in the bowl for one hour. After the dough has solidified, divide the dough into two pieces and wrap in the plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least a couple more hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  6. Sprinkle a work surface with a lot of flour. The dough will be sticky. Roll the dough out to about ¼ inch thickness. Flour a 1 ½ inch biscuit cutter and cut out the cookies. Gather the scraps and reroll until you run out of dough.
  7. Place the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet and sprinkle the cookies with the Demerara Sugar.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes. After removing the cookies from the oven, cool on the pan for 2 minutes before removing them to a wire rack.
  9. The tea cakes will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container.