dad’s danish tea cakes

Whenever I mention to folks who grew up in the Los Angeles area during the 50s, 60s or 70s, that my father owned Grace Pastries, tea cakes and dobash cakes inevitably enter the conversation. While I admit his multi-layer dobash cake was great, the tea cakes always had a special place in my heart.   His original tea cake recipe for 70 DOZEN and called for 16 lbs of brown sugar and 24 lbs of buttermilk (just to name a few ingredients), proved a little too unwieldy not to mention, impractical for us home kitchen bakers.  So without further ado, here is the tested, tried and true recipe for a more manageable number of  Grace Pastries’ Danish Tea Cakes.

Makes 24

For the batter:

  • 1-1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup extra fine white sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs (minus 1 tablespoon)
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2-1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the icing:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons hot water


Preheat oven to 375°.

Cream together the brown sugar, white sugar, vegetable oil, salt and vanilla.  Add the eggs in three parts.  Cream slowly for six minutes, continually scraping down the sides.  Add 3/4 cup of the buttermilk, cake flour and baking soda until smooth.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup of buttermilk.

Line the muffin cups with paper liners.  Fill cups 2/3 full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.  Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out on cooling racks.  Repeat with any remaining batter. Let cool completely before topping with the icing.

Heat the butter slowly and cook until until golden brown.

In a separate bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and hot water together.  Add the melted butter.  Whisk until smooth.

While the icing mixture is still warm but the cakes are cooled, dip the tops of the cakes into the icing mix and cool again, careful not to layer the icing on too thickly.


Dad baked his tea cakes in restaurant grade square muffin tins using regular, round cupcake liners.  Some specialty cookware stores may have the square tins, and you can also find them online but I found mine at, of all places, Marshall’s in the kitchen section.  Enjoy!

Mr. Grace Pastries


51 Comments on “dad’s danish tea cakes”

  1. Robbie March 1, 2011 at 11:04 #

    Hey, Genelle!

    Thank you again for posting your dad’s wonderful Danish Tea Cakes recipe! I made a batch and everyone approved! I do think next time will be even better since I only had organic brown sugar on hand (I think maybe created a different texture to the muffin?). This past weekend we were in Phoenix (I live in the LA area) and happened to be in a Marshall’s and guess what I found! Too bad they only had one square muffin pan. I shall have to look closer to home for another one!

    And thank you to your dad for having baked so many delicious memories for so many people. That was so very nice, and unexpected, to receive a response for our birthday wishes to him! May he have many more happy and healthy birthdays!

    Take care!

    • me March 16, 2011 at 20:17 #

      I’m glad you found the cupcake tins! My dad was very tickled when I told him you had made the tea cakes. The next time I’m in LA, I’ll look for more recipes of his. Thanks for reading and the birthday wishes to my dad… he really enjoyed reading all the emails.


    • Liz Doomey October 22, 2014 at 21:30 #

      Love to have his Dobash Cake recipe. I worked at Grace’s Pastries in Granda Hills in the 60s and they did my wedding cake too.

  2. Robbie June 6, 2011 at 10:44 #

    Hi, Genelle!

    Well I made your dad’s wonderful tea cakes again! Times three! And this time I had the square muffin tins! To celebrate my friend’s birthday, I took 50 to our bowling league and also gave her a dozen for her family. LOL, and mmm, there were some left for us! Thanks again for sharing the recipe!

    My friend also grew up in the Crenshaw area. I remember the pretty tea sandwiches her mom would make for parties. She told me they would get the bread from your bakery tinted in pale pink and green. Ahh, the delicious memories of Grace Pastries!

    Have a great day! Send my good wishes to your dad!

  3. Jan August 8, 2011 at 15:36 #

    I remember your Dad’s location in Monterey Park, CA ….
    I loved those Danish tea cakes and many of the other
    wonderful desserts!
    Is Grace’s Bakery still in existance until someone else??

  4. gloria kobayashi August 14, 2011 at 2:14 #

    I am so glad to have found your recipe. I plan to try it before summer is over. Have you seen the posts on chowhound about it? someone recently asked for the recipe. I have looked for other places that sell the square tea cakes and only found it for a short time at the old cafeteria at Harbor UCLA medical center before they remodeled it back in 1990. It was individually wrapped for retail sale but I don’t recall what company sold it.
    I bought square muffin tins at TJ Maxx Homegoods last year hoping someday I would find the recipe. I will be using it finally.
    My other favorite from Grace’s was the dream cake with the pink shavings.
    I am still in contact with many friends from Crenshaw, and we all have fond memories of Grace’s pastries. Thank you!

  5. S. Morimoto October 1, 2011 at 20:00 #

    Hi there Ms. Kobayashi. Thank you very much for sharing this recipe… My husband and I grew up in Monterey Park and he remembers eating these teacakes from a very young age. I’ve been looking on/off for years, and was so glad to find this. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Shinji Nakamoto October 9, 2011 at 19:06 #

    Thank you and your father for sharing this recipe. I grew up in the Crenshaw area and still have fond memories of my parents bringing home these cupcakes.

  7. Debby Gonzales November 10, 2011 at 8:47 #

    Thank you so much for the tea cake recipe. I made them for my family and they were great … brought back so many memories … especially for my husband, who grew up in the Crenshaw area; his mother loved Grace’s Pastries and there were always goodies in the house from there. One of our family favorites was the dobash cake. Any chance of you posting that recipe? That was always the anticipated dessert that our family expected Mom to bring at all the family gatherings …. and she never let us down. Would be fun to take a dobash cake to our next family function ….in honor of Grace’s Pastries and of Mom. Thanks again. Debby Gonzales

  8. edith ramirez December 4, 2011 at 18:23 #

    I just met your parents,I have to say it is one of the most memorable and educational days of my life,I always ,always found an occasion or excuse to
    stop at the Grace’s and never left without at least one tea cake,Yes I met them today again,forty years ago ,we were in each others lives ,but unaware that they contributed to my family’s most precious memories.I want to thank them not only for those occasions ,but also for opening my eyes to
    an issue regarding internment .I am the woman with the two granddaughters.
    Thanks again for everything they do and I am so priviliged to have spoken to them.

    PS Yes I did come home and Google them immediately. Edith Ramirez

    • gfork December 6, 2011 at 6:48 #

      Yes, my folks are pretty amazing! I still dream of my dad’s colorful birthday cakes, stealing warm chocolate chip cookies off the cooling rack at the at the main “plant” and his heavenly raised glazed doughnuts. I’m glad you have a chance to meet them!

      • Nancy Vogel December 28, 2014 at 16:29 #

        Thank you for posting this recipe. I’ve been looking for it for years. Grew up in the San Fernando valley’ (Sunland/Tujunga) and loved them. Tried the recipe today and it turned out perfectly. Thank you again.

  9. cressida roth June 10, 2012 at 12:28 #

    When I was a little girl my Dad would bring home a famous cake from Grace Pastries called a “lime cake”. It did not taste like lime; I think it may have had some mint in it. Nevertheless, we would keep it in the refrigerator. Any chance that I can get that recipe? My Dad died a few years ago, but my Mom is still living and would love it if I could make this blast from the past for her. Thanks

    • gfork February 18, 2013 at 10:55 #

      Thanks for your comments! I’m sure my dad still has the recipe somewhere, though it would be for baking up large quantities of cakes. One of these days I plan on tackling all his recipes and breaking them down. Will keep you posted!

      • Luz-Maria April 1, 2013 at 9:45 #

        I encourage you to write a book and publish the recipes …please add photos (and even ask people to submit photos for you)… would tug at many’s heartstrings. I lived in Gardena until the age of 5, ended up becoming a chef and I am pretty sure the banana cream pie had everything to do with it. Thank you and much love and respect to your father.

        • gfork October 15, 2013 at 20:01 #

          A belated thank you for the kind note! I’m sure my father would love to hear from you – you could write him at Tell him you read about him on his daughter’s blog. He’ll get a kick out of hearing from you, for sure!

  10. Linal September 15, 2012 at 22:03 #

    Growing up, my family always purchased my birthday cakes from the Grace Pastries in Culver City My first job at age 15, was at Grace Pastries Gardena. I learned so much and developed a love for baking and cake decorating that i still enjoy (Oh, to be able to make a Chocolae Banana or Dream Cake!)

    I have fond memories of being trusted to open and close on Sundays, being occasionally driven by Grayson in the company van to cover a shift at other locations when needed, and the annual company party! I still have a set of flatware I won during a raffle.

    My mother was so sad when the Gardena store closed and she could not buy tea cakes anymore. A few years ago, the Daily Breeze in Torrance published the recipe. I’m not sure if it is the same one as above, but I have made them many times (in square muffin pans). It is a special treat for Mom! I am so thankful for your family. Hope all is well.

  11. Vikki September 27, 2012 at 8:45 #

    Everyone is raving about the teacakes and they were very good but what I miss most is the decorated birthday cakes. The cake had the perfect texture and the buttercream icing was the best. Does anyone have a recipe for the cake and the icing or know a bakery in the LA area that is as good.

    • Lenora Barton May 14, 2013 at 19:34 #

      I still have a ceramic set of 4 Disney Characters that were on my Grace Pastries birthday cake from 1967. Best birthday cake EVER! =)

  12. rod February 1, 2013 at 21:10 #

    Hi, I remember your dad s face and place on Jefferson Blvd. I wish I could find someone that can imitate my favorite pastry of his, the chocolate Dobash Cake. No one comes close:(

    • gfork February 18, 2013 at 10:40 #

      thanks, Rod! I agree – no dobash cake comes close. I have the recipe but still need to break it down for home kitchen use. As soon as I do, I will surely post the recipe.

      • Chris Minami December 23, 2014 at 15:06 #

        Hi Genelle – We, too, grew up on Grace’ Pastries. Thank you for the Tea Cake recipe – which is awesome! However, our family has NEVER come close to finding a Dobash Cake recipe like your dad’s, so when you do break it down, we would love to have it!

  13. Brittany March 15, 2013 at 7:47 #

    Hey do you know who currently owns he building? As a child I remember the way it smelled and I always wanted to bring it back to life. Please let me know, it’d help me fullfill my childhood dream.

    • gfork October 15, 2013 at 19:59 #

      Hi there. I don’t know who owns the building now. I’m not even sure it’s still a bakery. I will always remember whenever my father came home from work, he smelled like flour and sugar. Warm memories we have, for sure!

  14. April Pamplin July 14, 2013 at 17:39 #

    I grew up in Gardena and LOVED when my father would bring home dozens of the teacakes. We purchased all of our cakes from Grace’s Pastries. Sad to see it go. Many thanks to your father and family for a lifetime of awesomely sweet and delicious memories!!

  15. Jody Schwartz November 4, 2013 at 16:07 #

    Dear Genelle,
    I grew up in the Crenshaw area in the 60’s. Not a birthday went by without one of your dad’s amazing birthday cakes. I have thought about them ever since I moved out of the area many years ago. I have told my husband all about Grace’s and he even took me there once on a return trip to the area many, many years ago. I am turning 60 in January and will be celebrating in my favorite town, LA. I would give ANYTHING to know if there is a place where I can buy a birthday cake like Graces. Do you happen to know of anyone who could make the frosting like yours??
    Thank you for maintaining this blog. I will keep watching,
    Very truly yours,
    Jody Schwartz

    • gfork May 4, 2014 at 10:18 #

      Hi Jody, thank you for the note. I suspect that most “old school” bakeries still make a decent buttercream frosting. As you can imagine, since growing up with a baker dad, my family never had any other baked goods so I can’t attest to any other bakery’s cakes. I hope your birthday was fantastic and you found a good bakery for your cake!


  16. Ohiogirl February 27, 2014 at 15:25 #

    Thank you so much for sharing this treasure. I’m an “immigrant” to California (grew up in PA and Ohio) and one of the LA treats I love the most is a teacake!

    I’d like to make the recipe but, as you are so specific about taking out the tablespoon of egg – should I use large eggs? Extra large? Or medium? What was the norm when your Dad was baking?

    We’ve never met, but give your Dad a hug from me. Well made baked goods are such a comfort in life, to have a place to go where they would be dependable and affordable? He’s a hero : )

    • gfork May 4, 2014 at 10:15 #

      A belated thank you for the kind note! Personally, I use mostly large eggs when cooking. All of my dad’s original recipes were based on weight (for massive quantities). Also, when making the teacakes, make sure all of the ingredients are fresh so the cake will rise properly.

      Thanks again for the note and good luck!


      • WYW December 10, 2017 at 0:53 #

        I know this thread is old but I just came across it. I also grew up on pastries from your father’s bakery and would love to have the dobash cake recipe. No one makes one remotely close to Grace Pastries. The filling was what I remember as most unique – not the custardy pudding type others use – so please could you post a recipe if you are still able?

        • gfork December 14, 2017 at 19:24 #

          Hi there – thanks for stopping by. Unfortunately I don’t have the dobash recipe, although it’s one of the most frequently asked about recipes of my dad’s. The next time I visit my dad, I’ll see if he has the recipe hidden anywhere :-).

  17. Scott Teramae June 11, 2014 at 22:58 #

    Hi Genelle,

    Remember me? I had a sister Sharon. My dad Tak worked for your dad for many years. We even got our dog Gussy from you! So glad to find you! Gotta catch up.

  18. Yvonne Reese September 22, 2014 at 6:35 #


    Thank you for the recipe. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley and never made it to many places in the “city”. Although I did manage to graduate from Hollywood High in 1986. I was searching for the Fedco tea cakes recipe which looked exactly like your father’s tea cakes. I found the recipe you published for your Dad’s version and immediately ran to Wal-Mart for a square cavity muffin pan. I used your Dad’s recipe yesterday and they were wonderful. Do you know if your Dad supplied tea cakes to Fedco? I have read that it was Martino’s Bakery and then I have also read it was your Dad’s bakery. I no longer live in So Cal and miss all of the food, culture and history.

    Thank you for the recipe and I feel so very deprived for missing out on Grace’s Pastries.

    Yvonne Reese
    Fernley, Nevada

  19. Nicole Hammond October 15, 2014 at 22:23 #

    Oh em gee. I just made these and substituted southern comfort vanilla spice egg nog for the buttermilk. They are excellent and bring back many memories.
    My favorite part of visiting Graces was the cake display room. I was very young, but it is one of my first memories that I cherish dearly.
    I have always dreamed of reopening the bakery and placing cakes back in the display windows. I would get lunch and sit on Jefferson in front of the site and plan my bakery. That was in the early 2000s.
    Life had other plans for me, but Grace Pastries will always have a place in my heart.
    Maybe when I retire I can buy it from the new owners. 😊
    Thank you for sharing the recipe with us.
    God bless you!

  20. Glenn Akiyama October 23, 2014 at 3:35 #

    Thank you for sharing your memories and recipes.

  21. Min. Kim November 23, 2014 at 10:48 #

    Ms. Genelle, Thank you for sharing this recipe. I have fond memories of our weekly trips to the bakery. Please Please Please share more recipes, publish a cookbook etc. My favorite item was your father’s Napoleons…NO ONE absolutely NO ONE comes close.

  22. Robin Eiko Yoshida January 6, 2015 at 11:09 #

    Hi Genelle,
    I was so wowed to find your “Dad’s Danish Tea Cakes” recipe this year and baked up a batch with my daughter so that her sibs and dad could enjoy a blast from their past as these were by far, our favorite Grace’s Pastries treats! For birthdays, it was always your father’s amazing Chocolate Dobash Cake which is by far, the only delectable and truly delicious Dobash cake we’ve ever loved.
    My Uncle Rocky is now in his late ’70’s so if you are able to post the recipe for this beautiful “cake of love”, I promise to bake it up for him and Auntie Seiko so that they can swoon to the tune of their favorite Chocolate Dobash Cake….and mine, too!
    Thanks so much for your generous Shares and wonderful insights! As a former West Side girl, it’s also terrific to read about your favorite foodie haunts in SF! As my other little house and art studio is in the Monterey Bay area, I’d love to hop up to the City to enjoy those places you’ve listed….unless you’ve a more updated list! 🙂
    Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu and Happy Year of the Happy Sheep!
    Robin Eiko Yoshida

  23. Wendy O July 6, 2015 at 11:13 #

    THANK YOU so much for posting your dad’s tea cake recipe!! I have been dreaming of them for years… the taste and texture brought back so many childhood memories.

    I am definitely looking forward to the Dobash recipe whenever you have a chance to break it down for home use! Growing up, we only got those for special occasions!!

    thank you so much!

  24. VENICE March 26, 2016 at 10:41 #

    I also lived in the Crenshaw area but we went to Inglewood… I loved these so much and everyone I them for loves them to..I can’t find the tinted bread your dad made at any bakery or store ppl look at me like I’m crazy when I ask…This was our baby shower favorite… My great nephew and neice-in-law is having a baby shower on May 22nd 2016 and I would love to have the bread recipe.

  25. Julie B November 21, 2017 at 8:58 #

    I realize this is a very old post, but thank you so much for posting this recipe. My friends and I have fond memories of your dad’s bakery and these tea cakes. They were delicious. As our memories aren’t as sharp as they used to be, can you help me out on something? We remember the Grace’s in the Atlantic square area, but was there a small branch in a downtown department store also? I can’t recall which store, but seem to remember stopping there for teacakes too.

    • gfork December 14, 2017 at 19:27 #

      Good memory on remembering the downtown location! It was in what was then called the LA Mall, which was near the courthouse. There was also a branch in the old May Co. on the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire. Thanks for stopping by and hope you try out the tea cake recipe!

  26. Lyn March 19, 2018 at 9:26 #

    OMG!!! I lived near the Grace’s on Jefferson Blvd., and my family knew the staff as it was a weekly trip for donuts or the pull apart bread. My brother and I had all our childhood birthday cakes from your bakery. I loved he teacakes as they were and still are my favorite. I am 48 yrs young.. lol and in 2006, a co-worker offered to bring in teacakes from a bakery. I said I’ve never had a teacake taste as good as… and I went into Grace’s and how it’s no longer in business. He brought in a dozen from Martino’s Bakery in Burbank, California and I was in love, as their teacakes are almost like Grace’s. I loved the bags with the red and blue balloon’s and the cakes with the clowns and roses. I so wish you could prepare a cook book, as I’d like to recreate some of the recipes with my granddaughter.

    • gfork May 9, 2018 at 19:14 #

      thank you! a recipe book is in the works. it is going to take a while since my dad’s recipes were for mass production, but we’re getting there!

  27. Robin May 6, 2018 at 15:53 #

    These were the ABSOLUTE BEST! I have never forgotten the taste.

    • gfork May 9, 2018 at 19:13 #

      thank you! they were my favorite, as well!

  28. Donna Wicks May 9, 2018 at 9:30 #

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe for the Tea Cakes..Looking forward for the cake recipe…God Bless your Family
    Sending Blessings and Thanks again to your Parents and you.
    Donna Marie

    • gfork May 9, 2018 at 19:13 #

      Thank you for your kind words!


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