January 17, 2023

Gluten-Free Tea Cakes


Have you ever had a tea cake? No, it's not an actual cake served at tea but a cookie with delicious frosting.

Tea Cakes have a long and fabled history in the William’s family. I had never heard of them really. To me, a cake is a cake. No, not necessarily. Tea cakes are basically a sugar cookie sandwich with chocolate filling. (Although I think sometimes the second cookie is omitted.) But since we are “extra” people, we always use two.

Legend has it that my husband’s grandmother used to make them the size of saucers. But when you add icing and a second cookie, hardly anyone can (nor should) eat such a monster. So mine are a good bit smaller but still plenty big enough to tame the sweet tooth.

At my son’s request, I made these for a church bake sale to raise money for the youth mission trip. We have an unusual number of gluten-free people in our congregation. Even our communion wafers are gluten-free. It seemed a shame to leave out this population so I turned to my copy of The Cake Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free

The basic recipe was for Snickerdoodles but I changed it up. Nixing the cinnamon turned these into the perfect cookies for the job. Regarding the filling, there are two schools of thought: traditional frosting or cooked icing (the hub’s preference). There are advantages both ways and they both taste great. One goes on soft and stays soft. The second goes on runny but hardens as it cools, allowing the sandwich cookie to stay together. So I will include both.

Gluten-Free Tea Cakes

In a mixer, cream together:

1/2 C butter

1/4 C packed light brown sugar


1 egg

1 T vanilla

Mix in:

1 -15 oz package yellow gluten-free cake mix

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scoop cookie dough onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten to about 1/4”. Bake for about 10 minutes until edges start to brown.

Cooling Tip:

Always let cookies cool for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet. This allows them to firm up just a bit so they don’t become deformed when trying to remove them. But don’t leave them on too long because you will have to chisel them off of the pan. Let them cool completely on a cooling rack.


Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

In a mixer, cream:

1 C butter


3/4 C unsweetened cocoa

1 t vanilla

1 lb powdered sugar

1/4 C half & half

Spread on completely cooled cookies.


Cooked Chocolate Icing

In a heavy saucepan, combine over medium heat:

1/2 C butter

1/4 C unsweetened cocoa

1/3 C milk

Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add:

1 lb powdered sugar

1 t vanilla

Let cool completely before spreading on cookies.


Give these a try! If you didn’t know they were gluten-free, you would never suspect a thing!


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