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 peeland 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
3 Rooibos tea bags
250g butter, softened
Finely grated zest of 3 naartjies
425g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
425g flour
4 tsp baking powder

For the naartjie icing:
200g icing sugar
3-4 tbs naartjie juice


  • 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 cant get hold of naartjies, oranges or clementines would work just as well. To subsitute the Rooibos tea, try using honeybush or a fruit flavoured tea instead.