Tea cake time

These tea cakes use a sponge; while it means a bit of preparation it lends extra flavour and lightness. But you don’t have to – you can find out more below.

Tea cakes ingredients

IngredientSponge (g)Dough (g)
Flour45255
Water30160
Yeast (dried active) - if using fresh yeast use 3 times the amount0.16
Sponge75 (all of it!)
Sugar25
Milk powder (optional)10
Mixed peel15
Currants120
The dough mixed and ready for prooving

The sponge is a bit of flour yeast and water and left overnight.

So find a clean plastic pot or jar, mix up the amount required for the sponge (see second column in ingredients below) and leave in a warm place overnight.

In the morning you should find that the mixture, from being a heavy paste is full of air and quite light.

Soften the butter and cut into cubes.

Get a large bowl and weigh out the dry ingredients (but not the fruit just yet): flour, salt, sugar, milk powder (if using) and mix together.

Add the water and bring the mix together (the temperature of the water should be tepid but don’t worry if it is not – the colder it is the longer the prooving time will be will take). Now add the butter and kneed in.

When all is combined, weigh out and add the mixed peel and currants. Carry on kneeding to ensure the fruit is well distributed and the dough is elastic.

Place back in the bowl and cover for about an hour to an hour and half or until it is nearly double in size.

These tea cakes are ready for the oven

After it has risen, turn the dough out and cut into 8 even (ish) pieces. Weight them if you like or use your eye. With each piece fold them under to make a rough shape ball and leave on a floured surface fora bout ten minutes. This allows the dough to relax .

Take the each shape in turn and make into a tight ball: your are trying to give the bun some tension so press down on a surface in the cup of your hand and pull towards you as turning the ball with your hand. (Have a look at this, 9 minutes in)

Leave them on a floured tray for about 45 minutes in a warm place. Turn on the oven to gas mark 6, (200 C). When you place them on the tray bunch them together so they cook in a batch style.

To find out if they are ready: gently press your finger into a bunand if the indent pops back out slowly, they are ready. Not at all and they are over prooved. Too quick and they are under prooved.

Just before they are ready to go in the oven, brush egg over each tea cake.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown, turn onto a cooling tray and leave for half an hour.

Return and eat with butter and jam and a lovely cuppa.

Options:

You can and many people do add spices: cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, even ginger. Two heaped teaspoons in total should suffice.

You can glaze after they have come out of the oven: when the tea cakes are still warm brush some warmed honey solution on each tea cake and leave to cool.

You can skip the sponge and simply add all the flour and water together so then start from the point above where you soften the butter.