How To Make Super Soft Spicy Fruity Tea Cakes

Recently I posted a recipe for scones which are little delicious bread/cake hybrids commonly served with clotted cream, jam, sometimes butter, and always tea.

There is another lesser known (at least to the wider world) teatime treat that is quite common here in the UK and that is a tea cake. While the name may imply that it’s a cake, it certainly is not. It’s a sweet, soft, spiced yeast-leavened bun. To serve it is sliced in half, toasted, and topped with butter and jam.

If you’re into your sweet teatime treats, then this one should definitely be on your list. Tea cake dough is usually flavoured with mixed spice. This spice mix is widely available in shops here. If you can’t find it, you can make your own. I’ll leave a recipe below.

Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.


For the dough

250g (8.8oz) white bread flour

120g (4.23oz) water

1 egg (50g; 1.75oz)

25g (0.9oz) butter

25g (0.9oz) sugar

3g (0.1oz) instant dry yeast or 3.6g (0.13oz) active dry yeast or 9g (0.31oz) fresh yeast

5g (0.17oz) salt

5g (0.17oz) mixed spice

80g (2.8oz) raisins or currants

1 lemon worth of zest


For the syrup –

15g (0.5oz) water

15g (0.5oz) sugar

Mix and bring up to a boil right before the teacakes leave the oven.


For the mixed spice –

3g (0.1oz) allspice

3g (0.1oz) cinnamon

3g (0.1oz) nutmeg

1g (0.035oz) cloves

1g (0.035oz) coriander

1g (0.035oz) ginger


To learn more about no-knead bread dough temperature control click here.

The flour I use has a protein content of 13%. If your flour is weaker, then you may need to lower the hydration. 

If you are using active dry yeast, then you may need to let it sit in the water for 10 minutes before adding the other ingredients or else it could take a lot longer to raise the dough.

If you are curious about why the dough contains butter, egg, and sugar, click the links to learn more about the effects those ingredients have on bread dough.


  1. Soak the raisins in hot water or tea. Leave to cool down completely. Drain.
  2. Make the dough. In a large bowl combine the water, yeast, salt, sugar, mixed spice, lemon zest, egg, melted butter, and raisins. Mix well.
  3. Add the flour and mix to a dough.
  4. Cover and ferment for 40 minutes.
  5. Fold #1.
  6. Ferment for 40 minutes.
  7. Fold #2.
  8. Ferment for 40 minutes.
  9. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Pre-shape, cover, and rest for 20 minutes.
  10. Shape and place on a non-stick paper lined baking sheet.
  11. Cover and final proof for 1.5 hours.
  12. Bake at 170C (340F) fan on for 20 – 25 minutes. The loaf will take around 40 minutes.
  13. Brush with syrup as soon as the tea cakes come out the oven.

Leave to cool down. Slice in half, toast, top with butter and jam and tuck in!


Keep in mind that the conditions in each kitchen are different, so fermentation times may vary for you. It is up to the baker to control the bread and react accordingly.

Your oven may be different too, so your baking time may vary.

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