This wonderfully soft, buttery cinnamon tea cake comes together in just one bowl and is such an easy, never fail treat perfect for morning tea. This recipe uses basic pantry ingredients, and will be ready to eat in just 30 minutes!
This recipe was originally published in March 2020 and has been updated with new photos and more helpful content. The recipe remains the same!
One of the things that was always a consideration when I was baking as a kid growing up in a rural area was the fact that I couldn’t just pop down the street to pick up new ingredients. My baking decisions were always determined by what mum already had in her pantry.
This is the recipe I would make over and over again as it’s the one that we seemed to always have the ingredients for. It’s simple and delicious, with warming and cosy, buttery cinnamon sugar on top and a soft and tender cake.
This cake is so simple but tastes exactly like a cinnamon doughnut in cake form!
This cake made a resurgence in my kitchen during what we will now refer to as ‘the pandemic years’ as it was the perfect cake to bake when rationing ingredients became a reality.
I love this cake when I want a smaller bake or something that will freeze well, but in all honestly this cake is definitely at its best fresh from the oven while still warm.
This is the classic cinnamon tea cake recipe that you’ll find handwritten in your grandmother’s recipe box but adapted to be made dairy free. But even without the dairy we still get that soft, buttery taste and texture that’s expected.
This cake is pretty fool proof, but don’t let its simplicity let you think that it’s not a crowd pleaser. It is the perfect treat for morning or afternoon tea or really just anytime when you need cake.
This dairy free cinnamon tea cake is made with just a few pantry staples, most of which you might already have in your cupboard and fridge ready to go!
- Dairy-free butter – this is a key ingredient in the cake itself as well as melted and brushed on top so it’s important to use a good quality brand that has that buttery taste. Nuttelex buttery is my go to for this!
- Sugar – just regular white sugar.
- Egg – for best results make sure it’s at room temperature.
- Vanilla – for flavour.
- Dairy-free milk – I like to use oat milk, but almond milk or soy milk would also work well. I wouldn’t recommend coconut milk in this recipe as the flavour will be too strong.
- Plain flour – also known as all purpose flour in the US.
- Baking powder – help keep the cake soft and light.
- Ground cinnamon – used both in the cake batter and also combined with some extra white sugar sprinkled on top.
I’m a bit pushy about this cake, but in all seriousness, it is probably the easiest recipe that I have on the blog and it’s one of my favourites. It all comes together in one bowl and an electric mixer makes easy work of it.
You’ll need a springform pan for the best results here as it’s easier to add the topping to the warm cake then release the sides. I usually make this in a 9 inch or 23 cm round pan but smaller works as well, just adjust your cooking time as needed.
To make the cake, start by creaming the dairy free butter and the sugar together in a large mixing bowl using your handheld electric mixer. Add in the egg and vanilla and continue to mix until everything is smooth and creamy.
To your bowl, add in the milk and the dry ingredients and mix through until a thick and creamy batter forms.
This cake is super forgiving, so don’t be precious about it, throw it all together and mix it up.
Pour the batter into a greased and lined cake pan and bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched.
While the cake is still warm, brush the top generously with melted dairy free butter and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar. The best time to eat this is immediately while it is warm and buttery and smells incredible.
If you like the sound of this cake but are looking for something a bit fancier, why not try this chai spiced tea cake which to me is just an evolution of this humble tea cake. Or if you’re looking for a vegan option, try my vegan coffee cake which is similar but just very extra with a cinnamon sugar filling and crumble topping.
More easy cake recipes:
One Bowl Vegan Chocolate Cake
Marble Sheet Cake
Blueberry Almond Crumb Cake (Gluten-Free)
Mini Vegan Chocolate Cake
Cinnamon Tea Cake
- ¼ cup (60 grams) dairy-free butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ⅓ cup dairy-free milk
- 1 cup plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon dairy-free butter melted
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a round 9 inch springform cake pan with oil spray and baking paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat dairy-free butter and sugar with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until pale. Add egg and vanilla and continue to beat until creamy. Add in milk and slowly mix through until incorporated.
- Sift together the plain flour, baking powder and cinnamon directly into the wet ingredients and then slowly beat on low speed until the batter is smooth and creamy.
- Pour cake batter into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Mix together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping. While the cake is still warm, brush with melted butter and then sprinkle over the cinnamon and sugar. Release from the pan and enjoy while the cake is warm.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.
Can i substitute the plain flour with gluten free flour? Has anyone tried this?
Hi Aida, I haven’t done it myself but if you are using a 1-1 gluten free flour blend then it should work fine. Let me know how you go!
What an easy tasty recipe. This is a very forgiving recipe too! I made it egg-free using egg replacer and used soy milk. I put it in the oven and forgot about it – oops! I probably cooked it double the time. It still came out great.
Oops, we all have done this before Jacqui! So glad it still tasted great!
Oooohh this looks so good. Defo one I’ll make at the weekend. Especially now there are MANY cups of tea being consumed being stuck indoors
Just perfect for this!
This looks like such a delicious comforting tea time treat! I can imagine the kitchen smells amazing when this has just come out of then oven!
The smells alone are worth it Robyn!
You always make the prettiest recipes, and this one is no exception. I love the flavours in this cake and the fact that it is so simple to make! I want a big slice right now.
Oh thank you Andrea! It really is so simple but just delicious.
This recipe didn’t turn out tasting well at all, I had to throw it all out as it was bitter, perhaps from so much baking powder?
Hi Erin. So sorry you had this experience with this recipe. The baking powder shouldn’t have caused the cake to taste bitter – is there a chance you may have used baking soda instead as this would explain the bitter taste?
What a gorgeous, simple dessert… I can’t wait to try this. Thank you so much for sharing!
Thanks so much Jaimie!
What a delicious looking treat, love that crunchy cinnamony topping! Definitely a great companion to my afternoon tea 😉
This makes me excited for afternoon tea!