Naartjie and Rooibos Bundt Cake - The Sweet Rebellion
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Naartjie and Rooibos Bundt Cake

The arrival of naartjies in the supermarket signals that winter has arrived.  A firm favourite among South Africans, naartjies are known as mandarins or tangerines in other parts of the world.  Considering their abundance at this time of year, I felt it would be unthinkable not to create a delicious recipe using them. It was not hard to do so. I mean, what’s not to love about their bright, glossy peel and juicy, sweet flesh?

Keeping with a South African theme, I incorporated the fruity notes of Rooibos tea. The resulting cake is dense, citrusy and utterly “lekker”. Baking it in a bundt pan makes it all the more elegant. The best way to enjoy a slice is with a cup of Rooibos tea. Obviously.


For the cake:
375ml milk (1½ cups)
3 Rooibos tea bags
250g salted butter, softened (1 cup)
Finely grated zest of 3 naartjies
425g sugar (530ml)
1 tsp vanilla extract (1 tsp)
4 large eggs
425g flour (3 cups)
20ml baking powder (4 tsp)

For the naartjie icing:
200g icing sugar (400ml)
45-60ml naartjie juice (3-4 tbsp)


  • Cut open the Rooibos tea bags and empty the contents into a saucepan together with the milk. Bring to boil and boil for 1 minute. Leave to stand for at least an hour or preferably overnight (in the fridge).
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 25cm bundt pan very well, or spray liberally with cooking spray.
  • Using a stand or electric mixer, cream together the butter, naartjie zest, sugar and vanilla extract. Beat well for 3 minutes until pale and fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs, one at a time and mix very well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure all the sugar is mixed in.
  • Strain the milk to remove the Rooibos tea.
  • Sift together the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add about a third of the flour to the butter mixture and mix well. Now add a third of the Rooibos milk.
  • Continue alternating adding the flour and milk, mixing well after each addition.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 55-65 minutes. The cake is done when a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a serving plate and leave to cool completely.
  • To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and whisk in 3 tablespoons of naartjie juice. If required mix in another tablespoon of juice, but the icing should be quite thick or it will just run off the sides of the cake.
  • Carefully pour the icing over the cake and let it drip down the sides. Leave to set for 30 minutes, then slice and serve!

* If you can’t get hold of naartjies, oranges or clementines would work just as well. To substitute the Rooibos tea, try using honeybush or a fruit flavoured tea instead.

  • Gillian
    Posted at 02:53h, 03 August Reply

    Hi! I am so excited about this recipe it looks so yum. I don’t have a bundt tin, if i just make it in a round tin do i need to cook it for longer?

    • Astrid
      Posted at 07:58h, 08 August Reply

      Hi Gillian! You’ll enjoy it, I’m sure 🙂
      This makes quite a bit of mixture, I’m thinking you could probably fill 3 x 20cm round cake tins with it. The tins should be 3/4 full so there is enough space to for the cake to rise – don’t be tempted to overfill the cake tin! If you split the mixture between 3 tins, I think it would take 25-35 minutes to bake. Just test with a skewer to be sure its done.
      I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  • Leandra Mendes
    Posted at 07:03h, 17 July Reply

    I’m going to make this today – looking forward to having a slice with a cup of tea!

    • Astrid
      Posted at 20:38h, 23 July Reply

      I hope you enjoyed it!

  • Sarah Lampert
    Posted at 15:09h, 20 August Reply

    I halved the recipe and baked it in a loaf tin – beautiful texture and absolutely delicious!! Thank you for another awesome recipe, Astrid 🙂

    • Astrid
      Posted at 11:28h, 10 September Reply

      Hi Sarah! Thanks for the feedback, so glad you enjoyed it 🙂

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