When you want to bake fast, use self-rising flour. This is flour that’s already mixed with baking powder and salt, and I like to keep it on hand.
These quick tea cakes with jam show you how fast baking can be: it took 57 minutes from the time I turned on the oven and began to pull out ingredients, to the time I had the loaves cooling on a rack. That’s quick baking!
Quick Tea Cakes with Jam
The photo shows 2 versions: plain tea cake with strawberry jam (which is anything but plain!) and chocolate tea cake with apricot jam. Both are terrific. Makes 1 loaf, or 4 mini loaves.
- 2 cups self-rising flour (see below if you have none of this type!)
- for a chocolate version, reduce flour to 1½ cups, and add ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup jam, your choice of flavor
- ¾ cup whole milk
prepare the pans and oven
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a loaf pan, or several mini loaf pans. I used 4 mini-loaf pans, each with 1½ cup capacity, but you could use a regular loaf pan, if you increase the time accordingly.
mix it up – work quickly!
I don’t bother sifting, but I do stir the flour well – put it in a bowl and fluff it up with a fork – to make sure that there are no lumps at all. If you’re making the chocolate version, add the cocoa powder to the flour and fluff them both.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until they are light in color and texture. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in vanilla, jam, and milk. Stir the flour (and cocoa if using) into this wet mixture until just combined.
bake, then cool
Pour the batter into prepared pan, and bake. Using the 4 small loaf pans, the mini loaves took 40-45 minutes. A full sized loaf would take 55-65 minutes. Test with a toothpick: when inserted into the center, it should come out clean.
Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool fully. If you need to transport the tea cake while it’s still warm, tote it in the pan, covered with a towel. When the cake is completely cooled, wrap it in waxed paper or store in an airtight tin.
if you have no self-rising flour
If you don’t have self-rising flour and have a recipe that calls for it, you can make your own: combine 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.