Lemon Tea Cakes
This post is sponsored in conjunction with #SpringSweetsWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to help in the creation of the #SpringSweetsWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.
Light and soft Lemon Tea Cakes make the perfect springtime cookie because aren’t too sweet or too tart. No matter the occasion, these cut out lemon sugar cookies are perfect for sharing. Depending on the cookie cutter size, makes 52 cookies.
I’ve been a sucker for lemon desserts since I hit my mid-20s and discovered the lemon bar. (I meaaaaaaaan… late is better than never, right?)
So when I was trying to decide what I wanted to make with Adams Extracts and Sprinkle Pop as my third and final #SpringSweetsRecipe, my mind went in a lemon direction.
And what better way to go than a light, lemony sugar cookie that is mild, easy to cut out, fun to decorate and scrumptious to nibble? I took inspiration from my All-Butter Tea Cake Cookies recipe and ran with it, adding lemon everywhere for a delightful result.
More springtime dessert recipes you will adore: Funfetti Cookies / Strawberry and Blueberry Hand Pies/ Margarita Cupcakes with Salted Tequila Frosting / Roasted Strawberry Cheesecake Popsicles
What you’ll need to make these Lemon Tea Cake Cookies
- Stand Mixer
- Citrus juicer
- Baking sheet
- Baking mat or parchment paper
- Rolling pin
- Springtime sugar cookie cutters
Specialty ingredients you’ll need to make Lemon Tea Cakes (and to decorate them for springtime fun!)
- Adams Best Vanilla Flavor
- Adams Pure Lemon Extract
- Sprinkle Pop Cottontail Confetti Sprinkle Mix
- Sprinkle Pop Sorbeto Sprinkle Mix
How to make Lemon Tea Cakes
Combine the wet ingredients.
In a stand mixer, add the softened butter and sugar. Cream them together, stopping once the butter is a light yellow and fluffy.
Add in the vanilla, egg, milk, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix until smooth.
Combine the dry ingredients, then add them to the wet ingredients.
In another large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Whisk until combined.
Fold dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and continue mixing with the hand or stand mixer until just combined.
Chill the dough.
Stretch a long piece of plastic wrap out on the countertop. Scoop the cookie dough into it, and carefully wrap the plastic around it. Press into a round shape. (This will help you when you’re rolling it out later.)
Chill the dough in refrigerator for 1-2 hours. You can refrigerate the dough overnight, as well, but you’ll need to take it out 30-45 minutes before rolling because the dough is challenging to roll out when it’s super cold.
Cut out the cookies and BAKE!
Preheat the oven, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Flour a flat surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1/2″ thick round, and then cut into shapes using cookie cutters. (This step is particularly fun to do with kids. Our older daughter adores cutting out various shapes and rolling it, so if you have time and don’t mind the inevitable mess, let your kids join in on the fun!)
Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet, and bake.
Once baked through (and not brown), the cookies cool on a wire cooling rack.
Then decorate with Lemon Icing!
FAQs about Lemon Tea Cake Cookies
What are Tea Cakes?
Tea cakes are fluffy and light, barely sweetened cookies! They’re similar to sugar cookies, but they’re softer and less sweet. And—surprise, surprise—they pair nicely with a cup of tea because they’re a very mild and simple cookie.
According to Southern Living, they most likely hail from the rural South and date back to times when rations were meager. If pantries were stocked, they included basics like flour, salt, etc. (In fact, our family’s original recipe calls for vegetable shortening and water.)
These cookies are pretty simple, but I love them all the same because they remind me of my childhood with a lemony twist. And when iced, they’re lovely for the whole family and for sharing.
Do I really have to chill the dough? If so, why?
YES, you must chill the dough. (Sorry if you were looking for a Tea Cake recipe that requires no chilling—this is not what you’re looking for.)
When you chill the dough, you’re giving the flour and gluten a time to rest, as well as time to firm up before baking. While you could probably roll these out immediately after making the dough, the cookies wouldn’t hold their shape, and that would be sad since you’re putting in the effort to roll ‘em out and cut them into individual cookies.
Quick tips for making these Soft Lemon Sugar Cookies
- Make this cookie dough 1-2 days in advance, and let it hang out in the fridge before rolling it out and baking!
- Make these cookies dairy free by swapping the butter with vegetable shortening and the milk with unsweetened nondairy milk.
- Keep the dough from sticking to your surface by sprinkling flour on the countertop, as well as on top of the chilled dough and your rolling pin. If the dough starts sticking, reapply flour as many times necessary. While you don’t want the dough to be completely covered in flour, you also don’t want it to stick.
- Unsure if you’ll like the lemon twist on these cookies? Hop on over to my classic Greek Yogurt Cut Out Sugar Cookies and All-Butter Tea Cake Cookies. Those might be better for your tastebuds!
Saturday #SpringSweetsWeek Recipes
- Aquavit-Scented Blood Orange Galette by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Fresh Strawberry Pie by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Hummingbird Cupcakes by Strawberry Blondie Kitchen
- No Bake Mini Strawberry Cheesecake Cups by Blogghetti
- Orange Smoothie Recipe with Pineapple & Basil by Sweet Beginnings
- Pastel PEEPS Mini Pudding Pies by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- PB Marshmallow Peep Blondies by Kelly Lynn’s Sweets and Treats
- PEEP S’Mores Skillet by Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Peeptinis by Kate’s Recipe Box
- Springtime Rocky Road Blondies by The Crumby Kitchen
- Super Moist Coffee Cake by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Vegan Blood Orange Dark Chocolate Loaf Cake by The Baking Fairy
- White Chocolate Hot Cocoa with Peeps Marshmallows by Our Good Life
- White Chocolate Spring Candy Pops by Family Around the Table
Lemon Tea Cake Cookies
Soft Lemon Tea Cake Cookies are a scrumptious treat! This twist on a traditional Southern tea cakes makes for a perfectly balanced and light lemon cookie that aren't too sweet or too tart. The dough puffs up in the oven and holds its shape beautifully, so these sugar cookies are perfect for cutting out and decorating with homemade Lemon Icing and sprinkles. No matter the occasion, Lemon Tea Cakes are perfect cut out cookies for sharing.
Lemon Tea Cake Cookies
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/3 cup milk (non-dairy milk OK)
- All-Natural Food Coloring
- Sprinkles, like the Sprinkle Pop Cottontail Confetti Sprinkle Mix and Sprinkle Pop Sorbeto Sprinkle Mix, as shown here
Make the Cookies
- In a stand mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar together.
- Once the butter and sugar are creamed, add the vanilla extract, egg, milk, lemon juice and lemon zest. Blend until smooth and incorporated
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into another large bowl.
- Fold dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing with the stand mixer, and stirring until just combined.
- Stretch a long piece of plastic wrap out on the countertop. Scoop the cookie dough onto it, and wrap the plastic around it. Press into a round shape.
- Chill the dough in refrigerator for 1-2 hours. (You can refrigerate the dough overnight, but you'll need to take it out 30-45 minutes before rolling because the dough is challenging to roll out when it's super cold.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
- Flour a flat surface. (I like to use a countertop, but a cutting board would work if it’s large enough, too.)
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1/2" thick round, then cut it into shapes using cookie cutters. Transfer the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Repeat the process as many times as necessary to cut out all your cookies.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies have firmed up. You do not want them to brown.
- Transfer to a wire cooling rack.
Make the Icing
- While the cookies cool, whisk together the powdered sugar, salt, lemon extract, vanilla extract, lemon juice and milk to create the icing.
- Whisk until smooth, then separate out into individual bowls for coloring.
- Once colored, set aside until time to ice the cookies.
Ice and Decorate the Cookies
- Line a portion of the counter (or a table) with wax paper.
- Once the cookies have completely cooled, use butter knives or offset spatulas to spread the icing on them.
- Decorate the cookies with sprinkles, too.
- Let the cookies sit for 1-2 hours to allow the icing time to harden, then enjoy!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 77Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 54mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 1g
These tea cakes would look so nice on an Easter brunch table!
Wouldn’t they be lovely? Thanks, Cindy!
The Perfect cookies for Easter! I’m on it, Thanks!
Yes, they are! ENJOY!