This Rooibos Tea Cake was inspired by Earl Grey Tea Cakes I had seen on my Pinterest Feed. After looking at these beautiful cakes, I read a fair amount of these recipes and since they were all variations of vanilla cakes, I decided to push ahead with my all-time favourite Easy Vanilla Cake.
What is rooibos?
Rooibos is a herbal tea that comes from South Africa. The word rooibos translates directly into “red bush”.
This herbal tea is made from the leave of a fynbos (fine bush) plant with the scientific name of Aspalathus linearis. The leaves of the plant undergo a similar fermentation process as black tea which results in the distinctive red-brown colour of the tea. This process also enhances and deepens the flavour.
Making the Rooibos Tea Cake
I wanted to create a cake that resembled the way I like to drink my Rooibos. I like my Rooibos black (well, red) with a hint of sweetness, usually from honey.
I started with my Vanilla Cake recipe which calls for a cup of milk (or 250 grams). I decided to steep 3 bags of rooibos tea in a 50-50 mix of boiling water to milk for 5 to 10 minutes. This really allowed me to extract as much of the Rooibos flavour as possible.
Because I don’t like my Rooibos overly sweet I decided to cut ½ cup of sugar from the recipe overall. In my first attempt at making this, I added 2 tablespoons of honey into the batter which resulted in Honey and Rooibos Tea Cake. But, for me, the honey really overpowered the rooibos flavour. It was still a great cake though, so if honey with a hint of rooibos is your thing, give it a go!
I knew the cake needed a hint of honey. Just not in the batter itself, which lead to the final iteration of the cake having a delightful rooibos sponge with a simple honey glaze icing poured over the top of the cake.
To me, having a bite of this cake reminded me of a sip of my perfect cup of rooibos tea.
Tips for making the Rooibos Tea Cake
Oven temperature is never consistent across various varieties of ovens. The best way to ensure an accurate temperature is to use an oven thermometer. Keep this in mind and check the cakes about 5-10 minutes before the time is up. Especially if your oven runs hot as my current one does.
Honey and Rooibos Cake – if you want the honey flavour within the cake, I recommend adding in about 2 tablespoons of honey just before you cream together the butter and sugar.
Cake Tins – I used a bundt cake tin for this cake because I like the look. You can use two 8-inch/20-centimetre cakes, 18 regular sized cupcakes, or a single 9-inch springform tin (or a tin with higher sides).
Sugar – I used white sugar for this recipe because Rooibos is a rather delicate flavour and didn’t want to hinder the flavour with brown sugar.
Cold cakes for icing are a must! By this I mean let the cakes sit until they are completely cool before slathering them with your choice of topping. A warm cake will melt your icing, and unless that’s the look you are going for, wait that extra 30 minutes.
Baking ahead of time? Cakes can be baked, allowed to cool completely and then wrapped in cling-film/plastic wrap before placing in the fridge or freezer for use later.
Rooibos Tea Cake
Rooibos Tea Cake
- 125 grams butter
- 200 grams white granulated sugar (caster/granulated)
- 3 eggs (large)
- 300 grams plain flour (all-purpose/standard grade)
- 4 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 125 grams boiling water
- 125 grams milk
- 3 bags rooibos tea
- 1½ tablespoon butter (melted)
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 75 grams icing sugar (powdered/confectioners)
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Allow all ingredients to come to room temperature before baking. About 20-30 minutes.
Rooibos Tea Cake
- Preheat oven to 170°C (340F).
- Prepare the cake tin(s) by greasing and lining with parchment where necessary.
- In a cup add the boiling water and milk to the 3 tea bags. Allow the tea to steep for about 5 - 10 minutes.125 grams boiling water, 125 grams milk, 3 bags rooibos tea
- Cream together the softened butter with the sugar until light and creamy in colour and texture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula when needed.125 grams butter, 200 grams white granulated sugar
- Add in the eggs one at a time, and mix until thoroughly combined.3 eggs
- Weigh out 300g of flour, add in the salt and baking powder. Mix together using a whisk.300 grams plain flour, ½ teaspoon table salt, 4 teaspoon baking powder
- Add in the tea and flour to the butter and egg mixture, mixing at a low speed until just incorporated.
- Using a spatula, make sure all the ingredients are combined.
- Place the cake batter into the tins.
- Bake the cakes for approximately 30-55 minutes or once the cake tester or toothpick comes out mostly clean, the cake is done. About 30 minutes for 8 inch layers, longer for a isngle cake.
- Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for about 15 minutes before turning out onto a plate or wire rack to cool completely.
- Combine all the ingredients for the icing glaze and mix until smooth and shiny with no lumps. You can add more icing sugar if you feel the mixture is too runny.1½ tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoon honey, 75 grams icing sugar, 1 tablespoon milk
- Drizzle the honey glaze over the cooled cake.
Nutrition information is an estimate. If scaling the recipe remember to scale your cook and bakeware accordingly. All temperatures stated are conventional, unless otherwise stated. Recipes tested in grams and at sea level.