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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Teacher bakes, talks about historical treat

Attendee Malyssa Hayes watches her daughter, Gianna Hayes, as she stirs her drink. Both got to sample and enjoy instructor Sherry Sipho’s treats after her baking demo on how to make tea cakes. Photos by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian

By Lucretia White/reporter

Black History Month was celebrated with a demonstration of a slavery-era treat called tea cakes.

Students, staff and community members lined up for fresh tea cakes before taking a seat to hear SE culinary instructor Sherry Sipho discuss the historical and cultural treat Feb. 26.

“Can’t nobody make tea cakes like my mama,” Sipho said.

A tea cake is a traditional African-American treat that is not a cake, a cookie or a sweet but is flavorful like a sugar cookie. However, they’re not as sweet as sugar cookies.

The African slaves did not have much supplies and took what was left over and available to make their own version of English tea cakes.

“I think it’s significant for students here at TCC to learn about black history and the culture,” SE student Laura Segovia said. “She shared her mom’s traditional recipe, which made it even more interesting and special.”

The original recipe her mother used to make is currently in the process of being patented.

“I make copies of this authentic recipe but keep this actual copy because it makes me think of my mother,” Sipho said while holding up the recipe.

Photos by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian
SE instructor Sherry Sipho explains how to create tea cakes with her mother’s recipe and their historical significance. Photos by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian

Sipho demonstrated how to mix and roll the tea cakes. Since the recipe is secret, the ingredients were pre-measured. Using butter, flour, milk, eggs and baking powder, she mixed a batter to let the audience feel the texture before putting it in the oven to bake for eight to 10 minutes.

“What are some reasons my tea cakes come out too hard?” asked Tonya Blivens, SE speech assistant professor.

If the tea cakes taste like flour, then there is too much flour and not enough milk, Sipho responded.

“This demonstration was awesome and brought back memories,” attendee Taran Carter said. “Now, I will try to make tea cakes.”

It is important to keep family traditions alive, Sipho said. They define family ideals and shape them, which is why the tea cake demonstration was significant to students.

Tea cakes should be passed down from generation to generation, she said.

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