Irish Tea Cake Recipe: Simple, Delicate, Delicious

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Let’s get right into our focus today – the delightful Irish tea cake. This simple, delicate dessert is a staple in Irish cuisine, perfect for any time of year but especially revered around St. Patrick’s Day. Today, we’re going to delve into what makes this cake special and help you make this lovely cake at home. So, grab your wooden spoon, roll up your sleeves, and let’s get started!

A delicious homemade Irish tea cake on a serving plate with a hot cup of tea beside it.

The Basics of Irish Tea Cake

An Irish tea cake is a simple cake, akin to a pound cake or the well-known Irish soda bread, but with a tender texture and less sugar. It’s a moist cake, often served with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar right on top of the cake. It’s the perfect dessert to enjoy at afternoon tea, or as a delightful afternoon snack.

Close-up of a slice of Irish tea cake showing its tender texture and moist crumbs.

Preparing Your Kitchen

Before you start baking, you’ll want to gather all the tools you’ll need. This includes a cake pan or a round pan (a 9-inch loaf pan works well too), a wire rack for letting the cake cool, an electric mixer, a large bowl for the dry ingredients, a medium bowl for the wet ingredients, and a small bowl for the butter mixture. You’ll also need a kitchen scale, measuring cup, and a cake tester or toothpick for checking the center of the cake.

A well-prepared kitchen setup for baking, showcasing a round cake pan, electric mixer, and bowls.

Choosing Your Ingredients

The best things about this Irish tea cake recipe are its simplicity and the freshness of its ingredients. You’ll need unsalted butter (or one of our recommended substitutes for unsalted butter) at room temperature, white sugar, purpose flour, and eggs (or an egg substitute if you prefer). Other ingredients include sour cream, lemon juice, pure vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. For a little twist, you can also add dried fruit or a fruit mix.

Getting Ready to Bake

First, you’ll need to preheat your oven to 350°F. Remember to adjust the temperature if you’re baking at a high altitude. Then, prepare your cake pan by lining it with greaseproof paper or simply greasing it well.

Mixing the Ingredients

Start by creaming together your room-temperature butter and sugar in your mixing bowl using your electric mixer on medium speed. In a separate large bowl, combine your dry ingredients – your purpose flour, salt, and baking powder. In your medium bowl, mix together your wet ingredients – your eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Once done, gradually add your flour mixture into the butter mixture until you have a thick batter.

Mixed thick batter in a large mixing bowl.

Baking Your Homemade Irish Tea Cake

Once your batter is ready, pour it into your prepared pan. Smooth out the top with a spatula, and then it’s off to the preheated oven! Bake on the lower shelf for about an hour, or until the cake tester comes out clean from the center of the cake. Let the cake cool in the pan for a bit before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.

A freshly baked Irish tea cake cooling on a wire rack.

Serving Your Irish Tea Cake

Once your cake has cooled, transfer it to a serving plate. Dust the top with powdered sugar, or if you like, serve with some fresh berries or other fresh fruit on the side. This cake is utter perfection with a hot cup of tea, but also pairs well with cold drinks. No matter how you serve it, your homemade Irish tea cake is sure to be a hit!

A beautifully served Irish tea cake dusted with powdered sugar and served with fresh berries.


So there you have it, the simple yet delightful Irish tea cake. It’s the perfect type of cake to try if you’re looking for new desserts to add to your repertoire. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be disheartened if your first few attempts don’t turn out perfect. Keep trying, and soon, you’ll be able to produce your favorite cake for any occasion. Happy baking, and enjoy your tea time!

Irish Tea Cake

Irish Tea Cake

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon (optional)
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)


    1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan or line it with parchment paper.

    2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.

    3. Add the softened butter to the dry ingredients and mix with a pastry cutter or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

    4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Then add the buttermilk, vanilla extract, and lemon zest (if using). Mix well.

    5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Be careful not to overmix; a few lumps are okay.

    6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and spread it evenly.

    7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

    8. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.

    9. Once the cake has cooled, you can dust the top with confectioners' sugar if desired.

    Slice and serve the Irish tea cake with a hot cup of tea, and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 250 per serving
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