Let me tell you the story behind these Martino’s Bakery Tea Cakes. Martino’s Bakery in Burbank, California is famous for these sweet, rich, brown sugar glazed, square-shaped tea cakes. My dad grew up there and went on a field trip to Martino’s bakery in elementary school. He’s been loving them ever since!
My cousin recently got married and served these beloved tea cakes at her wedding reception, which inspired me to see if there was a recipe out there to recreate them.
After doing a little research, I came across a blog called The PKP Way. The sweet face behind this beautiful blog is a girl who goes by PKP, and she has a recipe for the famous Martino’s Bakery Tea Cakes. I was so excited to give it a try!
They turned out to be pretty close to the real deal! I wouldn’t change a thing in the recipe for the cakes (except to double it), though I did go rogue and make my own glaze (you know me!).
The Martino’s Bakery Tea Cakes recipe might have a few ingredients you are not used to cooking with. This recipe was originally developed when items like powdered milk, margarine, and buttermilk were more commonly found in the kitchen. And since I was trying to hit the nail on the head, I stayed true to the ingredients of the time.
And here’s a really neat article proclaiming the versatility of dry powdered milk in case you are worried about buying a whole bag for one recipe. It really is a wonder ingredient, adding a creamy umami type flavor. I’m excited to use it more! Just not to make milk 🙂
The flavor of these Martino’s Bakery Tea Cakes is almost indescribable. The toasted powdered milk, brown sugar, and vanilla give them a hint of caramel. They are absolutely delicious and completely unforgettable. I’m so glad I came across this Martino’s Bakery Copycat Tea Cake recipe. It was fun to bring them over to my dad so he could taste test them and take a little trip down memory lane.
Have any of you all been to Martino’s Bakery in Burbank? Be sure to let me know in the comments if you have!Print
Martino’s Bakery Tea Cakes
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 2 dozen cakes 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
I’m so glad I found a recipe to recreate the famous Martino’s Bakery Tea Cakes. They are so delicious, and that brown sugar glaze is everything!
For the Cakes
- 1/2 cup instant dry milk, toasted
- 1 1/2 cups whole buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (6 oz.) margarine, room temperature
- 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Glaze
- 6 tablespoons margarine
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- dash of salt
- 2–3 tablespoons heavy cream
For the Cakes
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread instant dry milk evenly over the paper.
- Toast the dry milk for 3-5 minutes, watching closely, until it is golden brown in color.
- Cool the toasted dry milk, and then stir into the buttermilk.
- Turn the oven up to 350 degrees, and line a muffin tin with square shaped wells with paper liners*. Lightly spray with nonstick baking spray.
- In a medium bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together margarine, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add eggs one at a time, mixing in between additions.
- Add vanilla extract and mix.
- Reduce the speed to low, and alternate adding the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture into the electric mixing bowl. Do not overmix. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides.
- Fill each well 2/3 full of the batter. Bake for 18-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing, and another 15 minutes before glazing.
For the Glaze
In a small saucepan, melt margarine and brown sugar over medium heat. Turn off the heat, and whisk in vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Add 2-3 teaspoons of heavy cream and whisk until smooth and glossy. The consistency of the glaze is right when it slowly runs off the back of a spoon. Dip each tea cake in the glaze, allowing excess to drip back into the saucepan. The glaze will harden as it cools.
This recipe is slightly adapted from The PKP Way’s Martino’s Bakery Original Tea Cakes Copycat Recipe. *Standard size round muffin liners will work well in the square pan. Once the batter is spooned into the liner, they will take on the shape of the square well.
- Serving Size: 1 Tea Cake
- Calories: 252
- Sugar: 27g
- Sodium: 144mg
- Fat: 10g
- Saturated Fat: 2.4g
- Unsaturated Fat: 7.4g
- Trans Fat: 1.6g
- Carbohydrates: 38g
- Fiber: 0.3g
- Protein: 2.9g
- Cholesterol: 19mg
Keywords: Martino’s Bakery Tea Cakes, tea cakes, brown sugar glaze, cake
Nancy Braun says
I am glad I married into the Braun family so that the teacakes could be a part of my heritage as well! Thanks LLK for the recipe to recreate these delightful cakes!
Thanks, Mom. Glad you guys liked them!
Wow, these look and sound wonderful, But where would I find square muffin tins???????
Hi Mary, I put a link to the pan on amazon in the recipe, but I’ll list it here too.
Link to pan: Square muffin pan
Hope you get the chance to make these, and love them as much as we do!
Patty K-P says
What a fun treat to serve at a wedding…now that’s a way to celebrate! Thanks for giving my copycat version a try. I’m thrilled it made an appearance in your kitchen 🙂
Thank you so much!
Christine Radkey says
Omg!!! I can’t believe you posted this! I’ve been drooling over these since college because they served them at the USC cafe. Btw, my mom lives in Burbank and ever since I got done with college, I go there regularly when I visit her just to treat myself to 2 of these amazing, light and fluffy mini cakes from heaven. There really is nothing like them. Thank you for researching this and sharing. I’ll be trying this recipe out here in Seattle where I live now.
Love this! They really are legendary! Thanks so much for your note Christine!
Making these and it says to sift with flour, salt and baking powder. But the amount of baking power is missing in the ingredients. Please help
Oh no sorry, thank you so much for catching that error! It should read 3 teaspoons baking powder. I will fix that in the recipe.
Justin T. says
Any thoughts on using cake flour?
I think it could be a good thing, but not sure without testing. Usually I find it makes a softer, finer crumb. Let me know how it goes if you try it!
RALPH E GRIFFIN says
I remember they had a slight orange flavor. Might be wrong though.
Interesting! Thanks for your comment.
Would it make any difference to substitute butter for margarine? Have you tried?
I haven’t tried it, but I think it would be just fine. Enjoy!
Carissa Carns says
I live in Burbank and ever since I can remember we’ve had a debate over what flavor these tea cakes are HAHA also can you use butter instead of margarine?
Yes butter should be fine. Hope you enjoy!
Any recommendations if you don’t have dry milk on hand?
I think they won’t be the same without it, but if you don’t mind that you can make them without.
Just made these – OMG!!!! They are delicious! The margarine and toasted dry milk give such a rich and nutty/buttery flavor.
I seriously think these are the best cakes I’ve made. Thanks for the recipe! Love them!
Can you use regular round muffin tins?
Yes, should be fine!
I made these for my neighbor, and she asked if I could make them lemon flavored. A teaspoon of lemon extract is makes them amazing!!!
I grew up in Burbank and have missed these delicious little tea cakes. Thanks for posting the recipe, we are loving them ❤
That’s so great! I’m so glad you love them too!
The recipe is delicious, undoubtedly, however they do not taste like Martino’s Tea Cakes. That said, I prefer these to Martino’s. Everyone keeps describing these as nutty, or buttery, or having a praline flavor. That’s absolutely correct! They are delicious. However, Martino’s on the other hand does not have any particularly discernible flavor. If you were to ask people what flavor Martino’s tea cakes are, nobody could give you a straight answer. They look like they should be almond flavored but they are not. Martino’s tea cakes most closely taste like the yellow sponge cake of a Twinkie. They most certainly are not nutty, or buttery.
Martino’s also uses soy oil in their tea cakes.
Are these at all similar to the tea cakes that were sold in Sears, oh so long ago?
I remember those (these look quite similar) but have never been to Martino’s , was wondering if anyone can compare the two…
Shannon Barnes says
I am from Burbank, and enjoyed Martinos tea cakes for many years. Martinos actually made my wedding cake many, many, MANY years ago. They went out of business for a minute and I think the whole town mourned. So how excited I was on a visit back to my home town to see it up and running again in a new location. Of course I had to buy some. I brought them back home with me to Pennsylvania. There I always have everyone asking me when I will be bringing those tea cakes back into the office to share! I’m excited about trying the recipe!
I’ve had Martino’s Tea Cakes many times. I find it interesting that when you go into their bakery they have all these colorfully decorated treats that catch your eye, and then there’s the unassuming appearance of their Tea Cakes, that if you didn’t know what they were you would probably not even notice, or skip over. Then when you taste one you feel your mouth burst with flavor. One time my daughter and I were describing our favorite cake, and it got to the point that we were comparing having one to possibly being a drug addict because you could easily get hooked on them. We went back and forth with our descriptions and in the end we laughed when we found out we were both describing the Tea Cakes. I’m surprised there’s no mention of maple syrup in the glaze, (we both noticed a maple flavor), unless brown sugar and butter kind of create that flavor, it’s hard to believe the glaze tastes the same… but we could be wrong. Did your dad think they were an exact match? Thank you for sharing!