Irish Tea Cake

This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.

Irish Tea Cake is a delicious St. Patrick’s Day dessert. This light, airy and moist cake is just the right amount of sweet to be served with afternoon tea. But with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and some fresh berries, it’s really the perfect dessert to serve anytime.

Side view of Irish tea cake topped with fresh berries.

This easy Irish Tea Cake recipe makes a simple, subtle, and sophisticated dessert. It has a light flavor that won’t overpower the tea that it is traditionally served with.

But it is just the right blend of being sweet, buttery, and light with a hint of vanilla. The key here is to use real vanilla extract. I prefer homemade, but high quality will do. Just please, do yourself a favor and don’t use imitation vanilla extract. You’ll regret it.

What sets this tea cake apart from a traditional “American” cake is that it is a little less spongy. It’s so simple to make that you’ll find yourself making it time and time again.

Another simple yet elegant cake to try is my olive oil cake. It’s made with oil instead of butter!

Irish Tea Cake Recipe Details

  • Taste – Irish Tea Cake is delicious – slightly sweet and buttery with a hint of vanilla flavor.
  • Texture – This cake is light, airy and moist. Perfect for an afternoon treat.
  • Ease – This recipe comes together quickly and easily with ingredients you have on hand.
  • Time – Make sure to set the eggs and butter out an hour before to come to room temperature. Otherwise the cake will be ready in about 40 minutes.

If you love vanilla cakes, you should also try this recipe for my Moist Vanilla Cake. And if youare in the mood and need cake right this minute, try my Vanilla Mug Cake!

There is less sugar and butter in this recipe than in other cakes, but don’t worry – it’s still delicious – light, airy and perfectly sweetened. Unlike Irish Soda Bread, which has a crunchy crust and a fluffy bread-like consistency, this Irish Tea Cake is moist and airy, and more of a dessert. Serve it with a dusting of powdered sugar, or with berries and whipped cream.

This is a delicious Irish dessert to serve after a St. Patrick’s Day dinner. If you have those at your table who believe it isn’t dessert unless it contains chocolate, make up a batch of these Green Velvet Cupcakes to appease them.

What You’ll Need


  • Unsalted Butter: As always, unsalted butter gives you control over the amount of salt in the recipe. It should be softened to room temperature.
  • Granulated Sugar: For sweetness.
  • Buttermilk: I love the way buttermilk adds moistness and richness to baked goods.
  • Eggs: Like the butter, the eggs should be at room temperature.
  • Vanilla Extract: Vanilla flavor is so important to this recipe – use homemade vanilla extract or high-quality extract, but please don’t use imitation!
  • All-Purpose Flour: No need for cake flour here. AP Flour in this recipe produces a moist and airy cake.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Both are used for leavening in this cake.
  • Salt: Just a pinch.

Recommended tools

This recipe comes together easily and requires no special equipment. You’ll need bowls, a mixer, and a 9-inch cake pan.

  • These are my favorite mixing bowls.
  • I have this mixer which I use all the time. And line this cake pan with sheets of this parchment paper, and you’ll be good to go!
Slice of Irish tea cake with fork taking a bite out.

How to Make Irish Tea Cake

  1. Cream the butter and sugar. Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
  3. Combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and bakind soda.
  4. Alternate wet and dry ingredients. Add half the flour mixture and mix it in until almost fully combined. Mx in the buttermilk followed by the remaining flour mixture.
  1. Transfer to pan. Spread the batter into a prepare pan.
  2. Bake. Bake the cake for 20-25 minutes at 350°F. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
  3. Cool. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cake has cooled, dust it with powdered sugar and top with fresh berries.

Overhead of Irish tea cake topped with fresh berries.

Tips For Success

  • Room temperature ingredients – All refrigerated ingredients need to be at room temperature.
  • Gradually add the eggs – Beat in the eggs one at a time to make sure they are well mixed in.
  • Properly measure the flour – Use a scale for the most accurate measurements. Or you can lightly spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level it off with the back of a knife.
  • Don’t overmix – Mix just until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Overmixing will result in a touch, chewy cake.
  • Dress it up or down – The cake is great on it’s own, with powdered sugar and fresh berries, or with whipped cream.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use milk instead of buttermilk?

No. The fat from buttermilk is necessary to achieve the right texture and flavor of this cake. If you don’t have buttermilk you can make homemade buttermilk.

Side view of Irish tea cake with a slice take out.

Storage & Freezing

This baked and cooled Irish Tea Cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

You can freeze this cake for up to 2 months.

Irish Tea Cake

4.74 from 15 votes
Slice of Irish tea cake with fork taking a bite out.
Delicious Irish Tea Cake that is buttery, light, moist, and fluffy. It's great on its own or with a dusting of powdered sugar and fresh berries.
Jen Sobjack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Serving Size 10


  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups (227 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup (120 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  • fresh berries for garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the inside bottom and sides of one 9-inch round pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper cut to fit. Lightly grease the parchment paper. Dust the inside bottom and sides of the pan with flour, then tap out any excess. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 20 seconds after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
  • Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk and add half to the butter mixture. Beat on low speed until the flour is almost fully incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk, followed by the remaining flour mixture, and beat on low until just combined. Take care not to over mix; the batter will be thick.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before serving.
  • Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar and top with fresh berries.


  • Room temperature ingredients: Allow the cold ingredients to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before using.
  • Flour: Properly measure the flour by using weight measurements when possible.
  • Buttermilk: It’s required for this recipe. If you don’t have it on hand, you can make a homemade buttermilk substitute.
Make ahead tip
  1. Store baked and cooled cake in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Or store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Bring it to room temperature just before serving.
  2. Or the cake can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature just before serving.


Serving: 11 slice | Calories: 261kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 171mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 351IU | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients and brands you used in the recipe.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Irish
4.74 from 15 votes (15 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating