tangerine-vanilla tea cakes

March 25, 2012

in Cupcakes

Citrus sweets are among my favorites when I need a lift – the bright zest and juice awakens the palate and invigorates the senses. These tangerine-vanilla tea cakes almost sing out “Spring!” to me, light from whipped egg whites and dipped in a tangerine-flecked glaze.

I envision serving a tray of these tea cakes at Easter, or including them in a dessert buffet at a baby or bridal shower. Best of all, the recipe is completely flexible – use Meyer lemons or limes to add your own unique twist. Another favorite for Spring are my vanilla buttermilk pound cakes.

Tangerine-Vanilla Tea Cakes
Adapted from Cooking Light
Tea Cakes
2 cups cake flour*
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp tangerine zest
1/4 cup fresh tangerine juice
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp tangerine zest
2 Tbsp fresh tangerine juice
Tangerine slices, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F and spray two 12-cup standard muffin pans with nonstick spray. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, and beat until combined; beat in vanilla and tangerine zest. Combine tangerine juice and buttermilk in a small bowl. Reduce speed to low and add half of flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat just until combined. Add buttermilk mixture, then finish with remaining flour mixture.

Using an electric hand mixer with clean and dry beaters, beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean bowl at high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, carefully fold egg whites into the cake batter in 2 additions. Spoon batter evenly into cups and bake 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Cool the tea cakes for 2 minutes in the pans on a wire rack, then carefully remove from pans and place them on the wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, tangerine zest, and juice in a small bowl. Set rack with tea cakes over a piece of wax paper and dip tops of each cake into glaze; let glaze set before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.

*Make your own cake flour: place 2 tablespoons cornstarch in an empty 1-cup measure, then top up with flour. Sift the mixture several times to evenly distribute the cornstarch.

Yield – 24 tea cakes (serving size: 1 tea cake)
Calories – 135
Carbs – 22

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1 Katia March 25, 2012

I love citrus zest and I love these tea cakes, they look really delicious and refreshing! : )


2 Gourmantine March 26, 2012

I love tangerines in all sorts of desserts, they add a slightly more gentle flavor comparing to oranges.


3 Jen @ The Scrumptious Pumpkin March 27, 2012

Oh, these are so pretty. Love the combo of citrus and vanilla. And the fact that these cakes are mini:)


4 meatballs & milkshakes March 27, 2012

These look fantastic! I wish I had one with a big mug tea right now to fight my cold!


5 Jennifer (Delicieux) March 27, 2012

Oh my, those cakes look amazing! I love the glaze oozing over the top.


6 Sneh | Cook Republic March 28, 2012

These look delightful! I love tea cakes, yours look very moist and tangy :-)


7 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen March 29, 2012

Utterly tempting with that gorgeous glaze!


8 Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) March 29, 2012

Would you believe I didn’t like vanilla when I was a child? A lot has changed since, though, and now it’s one of my favorite flavors. Paired with citrus, I can’t imagine lovelier sounding tea cakes. These are gorgeous!


9 Nami | Just One Cookbook March 31, 2012

We always have tangerine in the house. I need to make this before tangerine disappears from the store! I think my kids will love it. I love citrus taste in the sweets, so I am 100% positive this will be a huge hit for my family!


10 Athena March 31, 2012

I am so excited to make these for Easter. I had a question though. Did you use a normal cupcake tin or mini cupcake tin?


11 Tutti Dolci March 31, 2012

I used 2 normal cupcake tins but I wanted the tea cakes to have smooth sides, so I sprayed the pans with nonstick spray instead of using paper liners. Hope you enjoy!


12 Tracy F April 1, 2012

We have a corn allergy in our family (i.e. – cornstarch) So would regular flour work, rather than cake flour? These look yummy! :)


13 Tutti Dolci April 1, 2012

You can either use cake flour, such as Softasilk (no cornstarch in it), or you can try using regular flour, though the cakes will probably not be quite as tender. If you use regular flour, use 1 3/4 cups flour instead of the 2 cups cake flour.


14 jenny June 14, 2012

At one point it calls for a bowl mixer…. can i get away with a hand mixer instead?


15 Tutti Dolci June 14, 2012

Absolutely! You can use a hand mixer for the whole process.


16 Rosa November 30, 2012

Divine! Those would not last long at my place.




17 Laura April 22, 2013

I love citrus anything and vanilla together. These look delicious!


18 Averie @ Averie Cooks July 14, 2013

Just saw these and repinned them! Whoa – a buried treasure. They look so good, Laura!


19 Catherine September 24, 2014

I love it! What about orange or lemon instead of tangerine?


20 Tutti Dolci September 24, 2014

Of course, any citrus would work well here! :)


21 Catherine September 24, 2014

Also: Could you make these the day before? We have a tea party for 80 coming up, looking for inexpensive choices for the trays!


22 Tutti Dolci September 24, 2014

Yes, you can bake the tea cakes ahead and store them (unglazed) overnight. I’d glaze them on the day you plan to serve them. Hope that helps!




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