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Oolong Tea Snack Cake

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The rich and earthy oolong tea flavor running through this cake is infused into the butter. (Kristina Cho/KQED)

The beauty of a snack cake is that you don’t have to cover it in buttercream and you can eat it in the morning with a cup of tea, as an afternoon snack, or as a post-dinner treat. You can enjoy it any time of day!

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The rich and earthy oolong tea flavor running through this cake is infused into the butter. All you do is melt butter and simmer loose tea leaves in the butter to extract all that tea flavor. You can use this same method with any other type of tea for other bakes. Just allow the butter to chill until it resembles the texture of softened butter and then it’s ready to get baking. This cake’s texture and flavor are boosted by buttermilk and brown sugar — the latter also gives the cake a deeply brown color and caramelized flavor that’s not too sweet.

This recipe calls for the cake to be baked in an 8” round cake pan for 45-50 minutes. However, the cake recipe can be baked in a variety of forms. If baking in a loaf pan, bake for 60-70 minutes. If baking in muffin tins for mini cakes, bake for 25-28 minutes.

Always test for doneness using the toothpick test. If the toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake then it is fully cooked. Once the cake has cooled slightly, dust the cake with a bit of powdered sugar and enjoy with your favorite warm and cozy drink.

Oolong Tea Snack Cake

Makes 1 8” cake

Overhead shot of Oolong Tea Cake
The beauty of a snack cake is that it can be enjoyed any time of the day. (Kristina Cho/KQED)


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • ½ cup loose leaf oolong tea
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8” cake pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add oolong tea to the butter and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the butter and tea mixture to cool for 5 minutes. Strain out the butter from tea leaves through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the tea leaves.
  3. Place the butter in the freezer or the refrigerator for 20-25 minutes, or until the texture resembles softened butter.
  4. Place the softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix at medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the brown sugar and mix at medium speed for another 2 minutes. Add eggs and mix until combined.
  6. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Mix to evenly combine.
  7. Reduce speed to low and add flour in 3 additions, alternating each addition with the addition of buttermilk. The cake batter should be thick but light and airy.
  8. Add the cake batter to the cake pan. Using a knife or offset spatula, smooth out the top of the cake batter so it’s leveled.
  9. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Test for doneness sticking in a toothpick, if the toothpick comes out clean the cake is baked.
  10. Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  11. Before serving, dust the cake with powdered sugar and serve with tea or coffee.


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