I was in for a big surprise when Stefani came on the podcast and shared her Granny Octavia's old fashioned Southern tea cakes with us! I was picturing light, airy, delicate little miniature cakes. So when I started reading the instructions and got to "roll out the dough", I was shocked! Looking back at the ingredients a little more closely, I notice the flour to butter ratio was 1.5 cups to 1 stick - not so cake-like at all! Tea cakes are, according to Stefani, a marriage between cakes and cookies, with just a little bit of biscuit thrown in, if you drop the batter onto a pan, rather than rolling and cutting it.
However you categorize them, this recipe for tea cakes results in a soft, crumbly, elegant texture that can carry any flavor you choose. Stefani's Granny Octavia usually went for the most simple and refined - plain vanilla. We chose to add in some of Stefani's ideas - orange zest in one batch and cardamom in another. Truthfully, with a basic recipe like this, you simply can't go wrong!