Drink Your Tea and Eat It, Too!

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Dawna Edwards
Serve these Earl Grey Tea cakes with their namesake tea.

A FRESH-BREWED cup of tea is a soul-satisfying way to entertain guests, unwind after a long day or simply enjoy some quiet time curled up with a book. Adding a few homemade tea-infused treats can elevate your gathering to a fun and festive experience. So, tuck in with your favorite cuppa and enjoy some tea-time treats.

Earl Grey Tea Cakes

Makes about 1 dozen cookies

Similar to Russian Tea Cakes with tea leaves in the batter and a tea-flavored glaze, this recipe is unusual, but truly satisfying for the bergamot-loving tea drinker. Serve with Earl Grey, of course.

Tea cakes:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon loose Earl Grey tea (about 1 tea bag full)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped edible flowers, for garnish


  • 1 Earl Grey tea bag (or 1 teaspoon in a tea ball)
  • 2 tablespoons hot milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ? cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine flour, tea and salt. Gradually incorporate dry ingredients into butter mixture. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place on baking sheet and bake for 14 to 16 minutes. Cool on a rack.

To prepare glaze, steep tea in hot milk for 5 to 10 minutes. Add butter. Stir in powdered sugar and mix thoroughly. Drizzle glaze over tea cakes before serving.

Arrange cookies on plate and garnish with edible flowers, if desired.

Apricot Sage Mini Cheesecakes

Makes 2 dozen

The pungency of sage is calmed by this delightful combination that is a tad fruity, a bit earthy and completely rich and delicious. Best served chilled, they are equally tasty without the topping. Pair these with a light fruit tea or rose hip or hibiscus tea.


  • 2½ cups shortbread cookie crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped dried sage leaves


  • Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese,softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots


  • 4 or 5 apricots, pitted and sliced
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5 whole fresh sage leaves
  • ¾ cup water
  • Fresh sage leaves, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine cookie crumbs, butter and sage in a bowl. Press mixture into the bottom of greased muffin pan, about 1 tablespoon in each well. Set aside.

Cream together cream cheese and sugar. Add remaining filling ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour over crusts, filling about two-thirds full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Cool before loosening edges with a table knife. Transfer to a serving plate or plastic container, cover and chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight before serving.

Place all topping ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Remove sage leaves. Chill. Just before serving, spoon topping onto cheesecakes and garnish with fresh sage leaves.

Chocolate Peppered Shortbread Cakes

Makes about 2 dozen

Not for the tender tummy, the warming sensation of cayenne adds an amazing Aztec flair to these chocolate cookies. Adjust the cayenne amount depending on your heat tolerance. The contrast of the sweetened cream cheese makes this treat suitable for any tea.

  • 2½ cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ? to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups butter, softened
  • 4 ounces Neufchâtel or low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • Grated milk chocolate, for garnish
  • Freshly ground red, green and white peppercorns, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour, salt, cocoa powder, cayenne pepper, sugar and butter thoroughly in a bowl. Roll dough on a floured surface to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut 1 1/2-inch round cookies and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Combine cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Layer cheese mixture and shortbread rounds in stacks of two or three. Top with cheese mixture and sprinkle with grated milk chocolate and freshly ground peppercorns.

Ginger Oat Cake

Makes 1 cake (or 2 dozen muffin-sized cakes)

Amazingly moist on the inside and crispy around the edges, ginger adds a subtly zippy flavor to this otherwise earthy cake. Pair with any of your favorite mild teas–you don’t want to mask the cake’s ginger flavor.


  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1? cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup grated fresh ginger root
  • 1½ cups boiling water
  • 2 eggs


  • ½ cup chopped almonds
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger root

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch pan; set aside. Mix together oats and sugars. Sift flour, salt and baking soda together and add to oat mixture. Mix in butter. Add gingerroot to hot water and steep for about 5 minutes. Add ginger water and shredded ginger to batter. Add eggs and blend thoroughly. Pour into prepared pan.

Combine all topping ingredients in a small bowl. Spread mixture over the top of unbaked cake. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool. Serve cut into small squares.

Cardamom Cakes with Pomegranate Syrup

Makes 6 to 8 cakes or 18 muffins

A light, moist cake, this hint of India is great served warm with the syrup on the side to spice things up.

Cardamom Cakes:

  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • ? cup vegetable oil
  • 1? cups sugar
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 large egg whites

Pomegranate Syrup:

  • 1 cup pomegranate juice, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Fresh pomegranate seeds for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour small fluted pans or muffin cups. Steep cardamom in water for 5 minutes. Add milk and set aside.

Combine oil and sugar in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together flour salt and baking powder. Slowly add flour mixture to oil and sugar mixture. Pour in milk mixture. Beat thoroughly. Add egg whites and beat on high speed for about
2 minutes.

Fill prepared pans about half full. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes. If using a muffin pan, decrease cooking time by about 4 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

To prepare syrup, bring 3/4 cup of the juice and sugar to a simmer over medium heat. Combine cornstarch with remaining 1/4 cup juice. Slowly add cornstarch mixture to heated juice and sugar. Stir constantly while simmering until thickened. Set aside to cool, or chill in the refrigerator. Drizzle syrup onto plates or over cakes just before serving.

Lemon Balm Pound Cakes

Makes about 8 mini loaves

Lemon lovers, you’re sure to suit your fancy with this sweet, simple cake. Slice and serve warm or cold with a sweet herb tea.

  • ? cup fresh lemon balm leaves
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 5 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and finely chop lemon balm leaves. Steep lemon balm in hot milk for 5 minutes. Cream together butter and sugar. Add milk and lemon balm to creamed mixture.

Sift together flour, salt and baking powder and add to wet mixture. Add lemon zest and eggs and mix thoroughly.

Pour into greased and floured mini loaf pans. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

— When Dawna Edwards is not feeding her passion for herbs, she enjoys spending time with friends and family in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

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