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Tea Cakes with Butter Frosting

This is an old-fashioned recipe that was given to me by a friend's grandmother. You can easily tint the frosting with food coloring for a festive look throughout the year. — Sandy Glenn, Booneville, Mississippi
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling
  • Makes
    about 5-1/2 dozen


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperatures
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons whole milk
  • Food coloring and colored sugars, optional


  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with floured 2-1/2-in. cookie cutters. Using a floured spatula, place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Add food coloring if desired. Frost cookies; sprinkle with colored sugars if desired.
Nutrition Facts
2 each: 257 calories, 9g fat (5g saturated fat), 42mg cholesterol, 179mg sodium, 42g carbohydrate (26g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.
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  • Angela
    Dec 18, 2017

    I make these several times a year every year and have never once had an issue. They can take a bit more flour to keep them from sticking but I’ve never had issues and everyone who’s tried them loves them! They are so soft! I’ve used many different types of icing on them as well and they’ve always been great. One of my favourites!!

  • ashleylbechtold
    Sep 12, 2015

    Just awful. Extremely disappointed. First recipe I've tried from this site or magazine that was a complete waste of ingredients. Chilling the dough had no effect to the sticky mush, even overnight. Adding 3 extra cups of flour did absolutely nothing to help it not cling to every thing it touched. I even added corn starch to thicken it. It thickened. But was still so unbelievablely sticky I couldn't even make them into drop cookies. Don't waste all the flour. You will be disappointed.

  • drmpurple
    Dec 14, 2013

    I made these last Christmas and these are by far my favorite sugar type cookie. Will be making them again this year!

  • denmancarey
    Dec 5, 2011

    Easy!!! Delightful!!! Its a must year round!!

  • sarab83
    Dec 19, 2010

    First off I want to say I tried making these cookies a few times using different techniques like substituting butter for shortening, rolling on cold bake stone, freezing dough, etc. No matter what I did the dough is so sticky that it's impossible to roll. They taste okay as a drop cookie. I won't waste time or ingredients with these cookies again.

  • littlecootie
    Feb 13, 2010

    I have made these cookies twice since the holiday issue came out. I get rave reviews everytime and may requests for the recipe.

  • Giajacobson
    Jan 15, 2010

    wasted ingredients, the dough was very mushy, even after adding another cup of flour. Couldn't roll it out, stuck to everything. I threw it out and was very disapointed.