‘Tit Gateau Sec (Little Dry Cake) Tea Cakes

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tea cakes

One day I was describing my mother-in-law’s tea cakes made with Steen’s syrup to my mama. She told me of tea cakes they used to make using leftover dough after making sweet dough tarts. All they did was roll the dough out, cut it with the top of a glass jar, and bake them alongside the tarts in the oven. They called it a dry cookie or a ‘Tit Gateau Sec (meaning a little dry cake) and they were much like a traditional tea cake.

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I remember being served these at a church function with homemade root beer. If you’ve never had homemade root beer you are missing something special. Just ask my children. You can read all about this homemade treat at this blog post, Root Beer, Homemade By Cajun Mamas. The nutmeg taste of the tea cakes goes well with the root beer flavored drink.

After hearing my mama talk about those tea cakes I just had to have some. So I got busy digging for a sweet dough tart recipe and made some tea cakes with it. The results were just like mama described.

tea cakes

After I made the dough there was no need to roll them out and cut into rounds. Instead, I just rolled the dough by hand into small balls about 1-1/2 to 2 inches and pressed them with my hand to flatten after placing them onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

tea cakes

Even though they are called a dry cake these tea cakes are very soft and moist, lightly sweet and tasty! You can’t eat just one so double the recipe to have plenty to share.tea cakes

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‘Tit Gateau Sec (Little Dry Cake) Tea Cakes

This tea cake called ‘Tit Gateau Sec is far from its meaning of a little dry cake. It has a lightly sweet taste with nutmeg much like a sweet dough tart.

  • Total Time: 34 minutes
  • Yield: 3 dozen cookies


4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup sugar

1 cup shortening

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla 

2 tablespoons milk


Sift together dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside. In mixing bowl cream sugar, shortening, eggs, vanilla, and milk together then add dry ingredients mixing in a little at a time.

Roll the dough by hand into small balls about 1-1/2 to 2 inches and press with your hand to flatten after placing them onto an ungreased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes. 

  • Author: Louisiana Woman
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 14 minutes

“Remember, ‘No one’s more important than people’! In other words, friendship is the most important thing–not career or housework, or one’s fatigue–and it needs to be tended and nurtured.”  Julia Child

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  1. Got to try Mam’s Tea Cakes. Reminds me of my great aunt’s tea cakes. As children, we always felt so honored to receive a gift of her tea cakes!

  2. My dad’s family reunion is having a tea cake contest this year. I know for sure I will have competition from my own state of Kansas. In addition, I have not baked in years. I chose your recipe cause you have a Mamaw. My husbands grandmother, Mamaw would always save a bag for me and my husband. Your tea cakes look like the ones she made. Mamaw is gone now and no one has her recipe. My sister found your recipe. I hope it will beat out Louisiana and my Kansas baker. There will be a real bakery judging and a prize. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • You are very welcome! Your family reunion sounds like so much fun. Glad your sister found the recipe and that I could help. Have fun at the reunion and I hope you win. Happy baking!

    • I haven’t used butter with this particular recipe, but I like the results I’ve had when baking with butter. It may not be as crisp but I’d give it a try! Maybe divide the recipe in half to experiment with.

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