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Italian Tea Cakes

Italian Tea Cakes

Italian Tea Cakes

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Italian Tea Cakes
4.0 rating based on 12,345 ratings
4/5 (6)
Course: BarsCuisine: ItalyDifficulty: Medium



These Italian Tea Cakes are an Italian bar cookie featuring meringue and whole lemons chopped fine.


  • 2 small lemons

  • 6 large eggs, separated

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup chopped blanched almonds

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • powdered sugar


  • Boil whole lemons in plenty of water for 2 hours (this is not a typo!). Cool, remove seeds, and chop whole lemons very fine. You will end up with a wet pulp…there is no need to preserve the juice that escapes the chopping process, as the juice that is in your pulp is enough. Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9 x 13-inch cake pan with parchment paper (important!). Beat egg yolks till frothy. Slowly add sugar, chopped lemon, and almonds. Beat egg whites until stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake about 40 minutes or until lightly brown (keep a close eye on these and check them frequently.) Check for doneness by inserting a wooden pick, which must come out clean. When cool, cut into 1-inch by 3-inch strips and dust with powdered sugar. A tip for cutting these is to lift the whole thing out of the pan with the parchment paper, and use a large pizza cutter to slice them.


  • When I was re-doing this website in 2021 and, in the process removing any recipes that rated less than 4 stars, this cookie at 3.9 stars technically should have been removed. But it is SO unusual and spending some time on Google I simply could not find anything else quite like it anywhere else (and I cannot now remember where it came from, I’ve had it forever). Most of the lower reviews were simply because the cookie stuck to the pan and could not be removed, and so I re-wrote the recipe to be more clear and address this issue. I removed the reviews that scored the cookie low for that reason alone. We’ll see if it will merit being saved!



Name & Location
(example: Sue in LA)

This recipe is from a vintage Watkins cookbook, published prior to the 1940's, I believe. My copy of the cookbook doesn't have a publication date, but specifies such ingredients as "5 cents worth of macaroni " and ha dark navy blue fabric cover.
- Marie

Nice flavor! I read the reviews and lined my pan with parchment paper.
- A Baker

I made these bars, but they can't be cut cleanly. I don't know what I did wrong....the taste is awesome!! If someone knows anything about this recipe please email me.....I boiled the lemons, then chopped them fine....was I supposed to drain the juice?? I used the lemon juice. While they were baking they rose beautifully....while cooling they fell, which is quite normal for this type of sponge....I would love to make these again so that I can cut them!! Does anyone know what I did wrong?? We are eating them out of the pan!!! hahahaha GREAT FLAVOR!!
- Nancy in CT

This was recipe was good tasting.I coated the pan with lots of cooking spray and let it cool for at least an hour before cutting,it stuck to the pan but not that bad.I was able to actually cut out squares.If your not big on nuts,i would put in half of what the recipe calls for.I would definitly make it again.
- Cathy in NY

I tried this recipe last night and found it quite tasty. I solved the sticking problem by using non-stick aluminum foil and slicing with a pizza cutter made removal a breeze. My husband, who is Italian, really enjoyed the goodies.
- Andrea LaConte in Beaumont, TX

this is really awesome thanks for the recipe
- Dani
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