Call them teacakes or mini ring cakes, these little beauties finished with two kinds of glaze, raspberry and chocolate, are the perfect treat for afternoon tea, as recommended by Ottolenghi.
Teacakes? These are not teacakes! Where are the raisins? What’s with the glaze? The texture is all wrong and there’s no way can you toast them!
All those points are correct and I agree, these are not teacakes as we know them in England. On the other hand, what about those awful marshmallows covered in sickly chocolate that Tunnock or Lees make? How can they call these things teacakes? And even the fact that they are Scottish not English does not entirely justify it.
If you were to make a sweeping generalisation and declare all cakey objects served with afternoon tea were ‘teacakes’, it would become far too confusing. I truly suspect that Yotam Ottolenghi, whose recipe and nomenclature the recipe below is, thought these mini bundt cakes belonged with the tradition of 3-tier cake stands, cucumber sandwiches and porcelain teacups.
So be it – as it turned out, they are so lovely it matters not what you call them. Rose by any other name smells just as sweet.
What are Ottolenghi’s teacakes like?
Delightful, as you might expect from the master. The recipe comes from the original Ottolenghi cookbook and there are three different types of them there, each, surprisingly, based on a markedly different batter recipe.
This particular one is like a rich pound cake and I have already chalked the recipe up to make a full-sized birthday or loaf cake by it.
Yotam’s topping is the raspberry glaze as below but he also adds diced fresh peach to the mix and tops the cakes with fresh raspberries. Mine is the winter variation: plain base and two kinds of glaze; one made from frozen raspberries and the other chocolate ganache. Both equally good.
What tins for the teacakes?
I do recommend that you invest in a set of these mini bundt (or kugelhopf, or savarin, or ring) tins, and you will be using nothing else for all the future cupcakes, muffins and buns like I have been.
The only downside is that they need to be buttered really, really thoroughly and preferably chilled in the fridge before filling with batter.
But they bake everything like a dream, thanks to that nipple in the middle which makes the cake cook quicker in the centre. When prodding with a skewer, make sure to stick it in the deepest part which will be to the side of the tin.
How to make the teacake batter?
It is the standard cakey process: creaming butter with sugar, adding eggs (at which point everything curdles and looks like scrambled eggs), then flour and soured cream. The latter makes the crumb delightfully rich and tender.
You can replace the soured cream with yoghurt but it will make the cakes’ texture slightly more moist.
The teacakes bake quickly and to be honest they look so appealing when popped out of the tins, you might be tempted to just dust them with icing sugar. But the raspberry glaze is to die for and the chocolate ganache is irresistible.
A dusting of icing sugar, as suggested.
Simple icing made with 100g icing sugar and a couple of teaspoons of milk, with a drop of good vanilla extract.
A plain finish and a serving of clotted cream and jam on the side, for the indulgent tea experience, in line with the name of the bake.
And by all means, a pile of fresh berries in season.
More mini cake recipes
Financiers are French almond cakes made with brown butter and absolutely delicious.
Classic cupcakes must be mentioned: these are frosted with vanilla buttercream and hide a chocolate centre.
Individual Breton cakes, mini gateaux Bretons have jam filling and gorgeous shortcrust crumb.
More Ottolenghi recipes
One of my favourite desserts – possibly THE most favourite – is raspberry meringue roulade with pistachio slivers and mascarpone cream filling.
Another ‘teacake’ recipe, lemon and almond flavoured ones, is arguably even more delicious.