Traditional English Fruit Teacakes are slightly sweet buns with dried currants that are similar to hot cross buns, but without the cross. Serving suggestion? Toasted and warm with butter and a cup of tea, of course! Sort of like cinnamon toast but in bun form.

5 English teacakes on a round board

If you’re looking for the tea cakes from the American south, this is not them. These teacakes (all 1 word) are a British treat usually served for breakfast or a mid-morning treat. 

What is a British teacake?

A baked sweet bun that is made with warm spices and dried currants. Very much like a hot cross bun that is best served with lashings of creamy butter.

You will find these teacakes served all around England and in parts of Yorkshire, they use them for sandwiches and sometimes without dried fruit.

Half of a currant teacake topped with melting butter

Just like the hot cross bun, these English teacakes are best served warm with as much butter as you can stand (I know you’ve already read this but it’s all about melted butter here!). They are made with a delicious combination of warming spices like cinnamon, allspice and ginger with chewy currants.

Now, not to confuse things, there are also ‘cookies (biscuits) called teacakes from Scotland with the brand name Tunnock’s that have a cookie base, marshmallow topping covered in chocolate. Very different.

Holding half of a buttered teacake with a bite taken out

When it comes to the dried fruit, currants are traditional. Dried cranberries, sultanas or pretty much any dried fruit you like would also be delicious.

In-keeping with the fruity theme, I have a Fruity Tea Cake (below) that is a cake-style loaf with mixed dried fruit that is also served with afternoon tea.

Tea cake studded with fruit on a cutting board, sliced with a cup of tea

Yield: 12

Traditional English Fruit Teacakes

Currant studded teacake buns served with a cup of tea

A baked sweet bun that is made with warm spices and currants.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk (236 ml) warmed * see note
  • 2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups (525 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup (128 grams) dried currants
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk (for brushing the tops of the buns)

Instructions

  1. Line one large or two medium non-stick baking sheets or use a regular sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add the milk to a bowl and stir in the yeast and sugar. Allow to sit for 3-5 minutes (maybe more) until you start to see it bubble a little.
  3. To a mixing bowl add the flour, salt, spices and currants. Mix well. Make a well in the center, add the milk and yeast, butter and beaten eggs. Use a spoon and stir to incorporate the liquids into the flour. When the dough comes together, use your hands to make the dough to a large ball. It will be sticky. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and leave in a warm place for about 45 mins to rise.
  5. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly for a few minutes until smooth. Divide the dough into 12 balls and shape each into a bun that is a flat round.
  6. Place evenly spaced onto the baking sheet and cover loosely with a towel. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes until they double in size.
  7. Preheat oven to 400°F /200°C.
  8. Brush the tops of the buns with the milk. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown (time may vary depending on your oven).

Notes

*105– 115 °F (40 - 46°C) should feel nice and warm, not hot or cool on your skin.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 250Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 46mgSodium 192mgCarbohydrates 42gFiber 2gSugar 13gProtein 6g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.