History of Stonie's Tea Cakes

My grandmother's chair sat just across the entry way of her house. After slinging open the screen door and kissing her on the cheek, all you had to do was pivot into the kitchen where her white ceramic cookie jar sat on a hutch tucked in the corner. Adorned with blue and green hand-painted grapevines, this cookie jar held her tea cakes. Southern food historians say tea cakes evolved from an English recipe brought to America by British settlers in the 18th century. They were known as "little cakes." The basic recipe has been passed by word of mouth for generations. Tea cakes were not always on hand or readily available for us to eat. My grandma Olivia made them sparingly and with the size of my large extended family, it was truly a blessing to have two or three to yourself. The adults enjoyed them with coffee or tea. We kids loved them all by themselves! They were a special treat baked with love for the people she loved. The recipe and philosophy remain exactly the same.

I was born and raised in the piney woods of east Texas in a small town named Gladewater. My late father Traversia had 12 brothers and sisters and my mother Linda had 8 brothers and sisters. Family has always been special and important in my life and that is why I am so excited about the opportunity to share a family favorite and preserve our family and cultural heritage through Stonie Clark's Tea Cake Co.

In the twilight of her life, my grandmother Olivia was unable to continue to cook for us as she had for so many years. The Tea Cakes stopped. In those years I became increasingly interested in my family history knowing that 'Mama' as we called her, would not be with us forever to recount the tales she had told us so many times before. I also wanted to know the secrets of her Tea Cakes. After visiting with my Aunt Virginia and writing down the recipe, I baked a batch and took to my grandma. She commented 'They are almost as good as mine!'

With that blessing and a lot of hours of hard work, inside and outside of the kitchen, I started Stonie Clark's Tea Cake Co. I have dreamed big dreams all of my life, and baking for a living was never one of them. I have dreamed of being a role model and mentor in my community. Dreamed of a way to bring just a little happiness to each and everyone's life and being the kind of young man my parents and grandparents could be proud of. My grandma has gone home since she had one of my Tea Cakes, but I know she is smiling down on me and that she is proud. Thank you for helping me live my dreams.

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       A special Thank You to David Bonessi for his talented photography assistance.