Cinnamon Tea Cake


cinnamon tea cake 1

I love a simple cinnamon tea cake at afternoon tea but, the truth is, I love it even more at breakfast. The combination of vanilla cake topped with a generous sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon reminds me of eating a donut, especially when the cake is still warm from the oven. While eating cake (or donuts) for breakfast, is not something the doctor would recommend, there’s something about this cake’s simplicity and plainness which lends it so well to a cup of coffee first thing in the morning.

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This lovely recipe comes from a baking compendium aptly titled, Baking, by Margaret Fulton, one of the foremost Australian authors I frequently turn to when I want something old-fashioned from my childhood. And for something old-fashioned, it seems fitting to use one of my favourite discoveries of late: locally milled flour from Zurich with its vintage-inspired packaging.

I think it’s time to put on the kettle. Join me for a cuppa?

cinnamon tea cake 2

{Please scroll down for a printable recipe}

cinnamon tea cake

cinnamon tea cake

cinnamon tea cake

cinnamon tea cake

cinnamon tea cake

cinnamon tea cake

cinnamon tea cake

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe adapted from Baking by Margaret Fulton
Serves: Serves 4-6
  • For the cake
  • 1 egg
  • 110 g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150 g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 30 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

  • For the topping
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
  2. Use some of the melted butter to lightly grease a 20 cm (8 inch) cake tin.
  3. Separate the egg into separate bowls.
  4. Beat the eggwhite until it is stiff but not dry.
  5. Add the egg yolk, and gradually beat in the sugar.
  6. Gently whisk in the milk and vanilla extract.
  7. Whisk in the flour, baking powder and melted butter.
  8. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  9. While the cake is still hot, brush the melted butter over the hot cake. Make the topping by mixing together the sugar and ground cinnamon, and sprinkle generously over the cake.
  10. Serve warm or cool.

Cook’s Notes

I sometimes like to use a fancy cake tin to jazz up plain cakes. In which case, invert the cake onto a wire rack while it is still warm, but be careful because warm cakes can fall apart easily, especially if the cake tin has not been well-greased beforehand. Proceed as per the recipe above, brushing the melted butter over what should be the bottom of the cake which is now facing up.

Share your photos!

If you have made this dish, I would love to hear how it turned out! Please leave a comment below and share your photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #eatlittlebird




  1. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar 4 September 2014

    This cake is dreamy!! So pretty!

  2. Vickie 4 September 2014

    yum, I love cinnamon tea-cake (& cake for breakfast sounds like an awesome idea!)

  3. mimi 4 September 2014

    That is one beautiful tea cake, and I’m not even a tea an cake person. I’ve never heard of that author or cookbook, so thank you for introducing us!

    • Eat, Little Bird 4 September 2014

      Thank you! Margaret Fulton is a popular cookbook writer in Australia. I don’t think she is too well-known outside of Australia but she should be 🙂

  4. Rushi 4 September 2014

    Thanh, I wish I could join you for a cuppa and a slice of that delicious looking cake. Sometimes a cake pan does make a simple cake look sooooo elegant…..I have one question though, we rarely have full cream milk at home in the house so do you suppose I could use lait demi ecrémé instead?

    • Eat, Little Bird 4 September 2014

      I love using this particular cake tin, which might be why you’ve seen it a bit on this blog 😉 I’m not sure about using skim milk in this recipe but I’m sure it would be fine. We only ever have full-cream milk, although my husband sometimes buys skim milk by accident and I refuse to go near it! 😉

  5. Paula 4 September 2014

    I want one of those beater to whip egg whites!! I saw it on Nigella Lawson!! And that little pot is so nice!!!

    What rude I am, talking about the beater with that delicious cake!! It’s a very good breakfast cake!! I wast thinking (after months with a punished oven) about making breakfast cake next Sunday, and this is perfect for my boyfriend, even if mi idea was something about chocolate!!

    Have a nice day, Thanh!!

    • Eat, Little Bird 4 September 2014

      Oh I bought this special whisk after I saw Nigella use it on one of her shows! I’m glad you noticed it too 😉 I rarely use it though because I often use the KitchenAid when I need to whip eggwhites. But because this recipe only needed one beaten eggwhite, it made more sense to do it by hand. This special whisk makes it so quick and easy!

      Our oven was also not working for a few weeks, which was very hard for me because only then did I realise how often I used it, i.e. everyday! It’s been a while since I’ve baked a cake and I thought I would bake something my husband would like as he loves anything with cinnamon 🙂 Hope you are well!

  6. Millie | Add A Little 4 September 2014

    This looks wonderful! I’m obsessed with cinnamon so this is right up my street!

    • Eat, Little Bird 4 September 2014

      My husband is also obsessed with cinnamon and always asks me to double the quantities when I am using it! Needless to say, I think he enjoyed this cake 🙂

  7. Thalia @ butter and brioche 7 September 2014

    I have never made a cinnamon tea cake before! I am totally loving the look and sound of it.. have to recreate the recipe. Pinned!

    • Eat, Little Bird 11 September 2014

      It’s a really simple and delicious cake. I hope you will enjoy it!

  8. Nancy @ gottagetbaked 15 September 2014

    Thanh, I always gasp in delight at all the loveliness when I visit your blog. These photos are so beautiful. I LOVE the styling – it’s so crisp, clean, modern yet vintage due to that awesome packaging for the flour. And your cake is gorgeous. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with eating cake/donuts for breakfast, not in my world at least 😉

    • Eat, Little Bird 17 September 2014

      Aww thanks, Nancy! I love when I don’t have to do much to a photo because the food and the props speak for themselves 🙂 And yay for another donut-lover at breakfast!

  9. The Food Sage 27 September 2014

    Ooh, this sounds lovely. Looks stunning, too. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Des 9 October 2014

    Looks delicious! Some cinnamon tea cake does sound good

  11. Sofie 13 October 2014

    Hey! I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. If you’d like to take part, click the following link for all the details:

  12. carla 12 November 2014

    Lovely cake. I am searching for a cake tin like the one shown. What brand is it and where can I purchase one? Thanks.

    • Eat, Little Bird 12 November 2014

      Hi Carla,
      I bought the cake tin from E. Dehillerin in Paris. Whenever I see interesting cake tins on my travels, I try to buy them as a souvenir and hope there is enough space in my luggage! I’m not sure if they still have this cake tin at E. Dehillerin but it’s always worth checking specialty cake or kitchen shops to see what interesting cake tins they might have. Good luck!

  13. Jeff 25 October 2016

    Simple things like these are so often the best. I’m right there with you on the breakfast idea!

    • Eat, Little Bird 25 October 2016

      Hi Jeff,
      Ha ha! I grew up eating a simple cinnamon tea cake like this one and the recipe has really stood the test of time!

  14. Mihaela Echols 5 January 2017

    You have such a pretty page. I like how you labeled each item instead of just giving us a list. This makes it easier for new bakers to see what we have!


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