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5 from 2 votes

Emergency Southern Tea Cakes

Here's the easiest -- and also the best -- version of Southern Tea Cakes I've encountered.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: cookies
Cuisine: African-American
Keyword: easy, fast, historic
Servings: 24


  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour (see note below)


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and self-rising flour in a medium mixing bowl. Mix by hand or by spoon until a cohesive dough forms and cleans the bowl.
  • Form the dough into tablespoon-size balls, spacing them three inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. The cookies will spread as they bake, so plan 8 balls per baking sheet.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until the edge of the "cakes" color slightly -- 15-20 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack for further cooling. The cookies will hold their shape when they achieve room temperature.


To make your own self-rising flour:
For each cup of all-purpose flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk to combine.