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Top Tea Cakes with Cranberries

Bread & Buns | 15th January 2012 | By

Sweet pastries and breads is the challenge for Teatime Treats this month set by Karen of Lavender and Lovage. This event is co-hosted by Kate of What Kate Baked. I thought I had a sweet tooth, but you should see what these two get for tea!

I was going to enter the cinnamon and chocolate buns I made for this tea party back in the summer, but still haven’t posted. But then I picked up my copy of Short & Sweet and there was no looking back. Dan’s top tea cakes were just crying to be made; not only did they use loads of peel (and I had quite a lot of my candied lemon and orange peel to use up), but they also had chocolate in them. Chocolate? Really?

Well, you could of course use beef dripping, but if you’re a vegetarian like me, you can, according to Dan, substitute this with a good quality white chocolate as the cocoa butter gives a softer consistency to the crumb than would butter. It all sounded rather intriguing and I was keen to try it out.

I sort of followed Dan’s recipe, which you can see here, but I used half bread flour and half wholemeal. I also only used 50g currants and I added 150g fresh cranberries cut in half. I used G&B white chocolate and my own mixed peel – which I cut into pieces with a pair of scissors.

I found this rather a lengthy and faffy process and I wasn’t at all enthused by the stickiness of the dough which I found quite hard to work with. I was also rather upset that the tops got burnt, if making these again, I would not bake them at such a high temperature. But I have to say these were the BEST tea cakes I’ve ever eaten. They were also huge. I divided the dough into ten pieces rather than the nine that Dan had stated and they were still massive. This of course was by no means a bad thing, but twelve or a baker’s dozen would have produced a more reasonable size.

So what made them so good? The combination of tangy citrus peel &amp, the tartness of cranberries and the balancing sweetness of the teacake itself. The crumb was deliciously soft just as Dan had promised. CT hates mixed peel, but he loved these tea cakes slathered in butter stating they were possibly the ultimate comfort food.

This was one of the first #shortandtweet challenges, which I now wish I’d done along with everyone else. I shamelessly called for help when I was having problems folding the very sticky dough. You can see the round-up here and get an idea of what better ones than mine might look like.

I’m also entering this into Ren’s commendable Simple and in Season blog event, which is something I thoroughly approve of. Do check out her blog Ren Behan, a title which represents her blog’s contents very well.


  1. Suelle

    15th January 2012 at 9:07 am

    I was torn between these and the cinnamon buns I eventually made, for this month’s Tea Time Treats. It was the size that put me off these a bit, but the recipe sounded lovely and yours look really tasty!

  2. Kate@whatkatebaked

    15th January 2012 at 9:21 am

    Oh I do LOVE a good teacake! Freshly toasted, gathered in butter… This recipe had stood out for me as soon as I read it when I first got the book- really enjoyed reading how you got on with it! Thank you for your entry! PS guilty as charged with my sweet tooth!!


    15th January 2012 at 10:37 am

    What a picture! Absolutely lovely teacakes. 🙂

  4. manu

    15th January 2012 at 10:38 am

    These are so beautiful and yummy! Have a great Sunday

  5. A Trifle Rushed

    15th January 2012 at 11:10 am

    I always find a wet dough a challenge, and even though I’m not vegetarian I think I would use the chocolate rather then beef dripping, you just never know when a veggie friend might pop by!

  6. Lucie

    15th January 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Yum – they look so delicious!

  7. Johanna GGG

    15th January 2012 at 12:15 pm

    I’ve never thought of beef dripping and white chocolate as interchangeable – fascinating idea! These sound wonderful – just my sort of afternoon tea

  8. Foodycat

    15th January 2012 at 1:13 pm

    They look much better than any tea cake I have ever had!

  9. At Anna's kitchen table

    15th January 2012 at 2:17 pm

    They look great!

  10. The Caked Crusader

    15th January 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Love the addition of cranberry – that would really give a teacake some zing!

  11. Laura@howtocookgoodfood

    15th January 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I do love a teacake and love the idea of adding cranberries too. A wet dough is always a nightmare but then I use the excuse that it is bound to be so light when it’s cooked. It happened to me with Dan’s no knead loaf but seemed to sort itself out in the oven!

  12. C

    15th January 2012 at 5:27 pm

    They’re a great teacake aren’t they! I used white chocolate in mine too, didn’t fancy the idea of dripping at all!!! I found that mine almost burnt on the top, and that was even after baking them at a slightly lower temp too, most frustrating.

    From memory, I halved the recipe but made the same amount, and found that to be my ideal size – I had a good few breakfasts out of them. I don’t think my crumb was as soft as yours looks though, I can never get it quite as soft as I want it for sweet baked goods. I like your idea of adding raw cranberries too!

  13. Dom at Belleau Kitchen

    15th January 2012 at 5:37 pm

    teacakes!… YES!… this is what I want now and off I pop to bake them… genius… I love your candied peel, so lovely… xx

  14. Choclette

    15th January 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Suelle – thank you. As it was my first ever attempt at tea cakes, I was really pleased with the result. But cinnamon buns are so good too – hard decision.

    Kate – these teacakes are very highly recommended, although they’re not that sweet 😉

    Misk – thank you for being kind – they did taste good, even if they didn’t look quite perfect!

    Manu – thank you.

    A Trifle Rushed – now that is a very good point. As a vegetarian it wouldn’t occur to me to ask if the tea cakes I was being offered were vegetarian :-S

    Lucie – thank you.

    Johanna – yes, I found that quite intriguing too. I think this has now become my sort of afternoon tea too :0

    Foodycat – you can say the nicest of things, thank you.

    Anna – thank you.

    CC – cranberries worked brilliantly well – nothing like a bit of zing 😉

    Laura – I know wet doughs produce really good bread and this was no exception, I just don’t know how to handle it. Although I did learn from this that the dough doesn’t really need much handling.

    C – I didn’t show the picture of the really burnt ones, but they were pretty bad. Luckily didn’t affect the inside at all. These could certainly be a lot smaller and still be quite substantial. Don’t know how I managed a nice soft crumb, but I did.

    Dom – is it going to be a midnight feast then?

  15. Jacqueline

    15th January 2012 at 10:30 pm

    They look wonderful and how intriguing to use white chocolate that way 🙂

  16. thelittleloaf

    16th January 2012 at 9:15 am

    I’m completely fascinated by the idea of using white chocolate instead of beef dripping…how interesting! I wonder what other recipes this would work in too…

  17. Rolling Pin Claire

    16th January 2012 at 10:30 am

    Where would we all be without a good Dan Lepard recipe to rely on? Love the reasoning behind using chocolate instead of beef dripping – love that about Dans recipes!

  18. Susan's blog

    16th January 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Ohhhhh…I can smell them, I can taste the toastedness (s/p) and see the melted butter. Sheer joy! x

  19. Chele

    16th January 2012 at 8:13 pm

    You are a total genius – and it is perfect weather for a few of these bad boys!! Couldn’t pop a few in the post could you?


  20. MissCakeBaker

    16th January 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Toasted teacakes with lots of butter remind me of Saturday shopping trips with my mum and dad! Lovely.

  21. Gardenteacakesandme

    16th January 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Who could disagree with the comments above. Yes I too love hot toasted tea cakes with lashings of butter, perfection.

  22. Choclette

    17th January 2012 at 7:20 am

    Jac – I thought the white chocolate was a really good tip for us vegetarians.

    LittleLoaf – it’s got me wondering about using it in pastry!!!!

    Claire – you can certainly rely on Dan to come up with interesting and unusual methods – love it.

    Susan – so pleased you enjoyed a virtual teacake with me.

    Chele – now there’s an idea for a business – teacakes by post 🙂

    MCB – how lovely. Toasted teacakes were something I missed out on when growing up. Now beginning to understand what it was all about.

  23. Choclette

    17th January 2012 at 7:23 am

    Angela – teacakes was not something I’d considered before. But they are definitely on the menu for my virtual tea shop now.

  24. Katie

    17th January 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Ohhh well done they look and sound lovely. Im intregied by the white chocolate instead of dripping idea. Never heard of that before, but much more appealing

  25. Choclette

    18th January 2012 at 7:26 am

    Katie – Thank you. Yes, that substitute is most intriguing. I’m quite keen to try it in other things.

  26. Baking Addict

    18th January 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Great choice! I haven’t gotten round to making my tea time treat yet but I was thinking cinnamon buns or bread. Not sure I’m brave enough to tackle pastry! This recipe looks interesting indeed – beef dripping?? I’d much prefer chocolate 🙂 I do love ctirus peel so I’m sure I will enjoy these. I will save space for the virtual tea party 🙂

    • Choclette

      24th January 2012 at 6:35 am

      Roz, these were such a treat. If only they weren’t quite so time consuming, I ‘d be baking them all the time!

  27. Karen S Booth

    31st January 2012 at 4:30 pm

    OMG! I never came here to comment……and yet I remember drooling over these! GREAT TTT entry thanks! Karen

  28. Fabulicious Food

    2nd February 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Hi Choclette, thank you so much for mentioning me and for linking up these delicious morsels to Simple and in Season, perfect to cheer me up in this cold weather. Ren xx


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