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Rooibos Infused Christmas Fruit Cake

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Just in time to make for Christmas! This is an outstanding Rooibos Infused Christmas Fruit Cake for those who prefer not to use alcoholic drinks in food.

Rooibos (ROY-boss; Afrikaans) meaning “red bush”; is a broom-like member of the plant family Fabaceae that grows in South Africa’s fynbos.

The leaves are used to make an herbal tea that is called by the names: rooibos (especially in Southern Africa), bush tea, red tea, or redbush tea (predominantly in Great Britain).

The tea has been popular in Southern Africa for generations, and since the 2000s has gained popularity internationally. The tea has an earthy flavor, similar to yerba mate or tobacco.

Rooibos was formerly classified as Psoralea but is now thought to be part of Aspalathus following Dahlgren (1980). The specific name of linearis was given by Burman (1759) for the plant’s linear growing structure and needle-like leaves.


  • 3 Rooibos tea bags
  • 375 ml boiling water**** see below
  • 375g (3cups) fruit cake mix
  • 100g glace cherries
  • 125g butter
  • 225g sugar (1 1/4cups)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 250g (2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 100 g chopped walnuts or pecan nuts


Christmas Fruit Cake top one with white marzipan and a red ribbon at the bottom. The bottom one covered with white marzipan, red cherries and green garland
Christmas Fruit Cake


  1. Put the tea bags in a pot and pour the boiling water over them.
  2. Leave for a good 10 mins to infuse.
  3. Squeeze them out and throw them away, then mix the fruit into the tea.
  4. Boil together with the butter and sugar for approx 15 mins.
  5. Once boiled stir in the bicarbonate of soda and set aside to allow to cool.
  6. Set the oven to 170°C and grease as well as line your square or round 22 cm cake tin with brown paper then grease again
  7. Once the mixture has cooled add the flour, beaten eggs, and nuts and mix well.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the top.
  9. Bake for 1 hour, or until risen and firm to the touch.
  10. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out to cool on a wire rack.
  11. Once cooled wrap in tin foil and then in cling wrap. Store in an airtight container.
  • Tip: Cover the cake with tin foil if necessary towards the end of the baking time if you feel it’s getting too brown.
  • Note**** I used 100 ml of brandy and 275 ml of boiling water.
  • Alternatively, you can add some orange juice instead of brandy.
    Note**** I feed the cake every week for 3 weeks leading up to Christmas with 2 tbsp brandy. Pour over the cake then re-wrap before finally icing the cake.

Fondant Icing and decorating

  • Ice the cake with a thin layer of Marzipan and a layer of White Fondant icing.
  • Store-bought (it’s the best).
  • Over the cold cake apply some heated apricot jam with a brush then roll your marzipan thinly. Drape over the cake.
  • Cut and trim your edges. Roll white fondant icing out and drape over the marzipan.
  • Decorate with Christmas fondant cutouts and wrap a ribbon around the cake and you have one festive fruitcake.

Original Source: Gail Haselsteiner‎
Prepared, tried, and tested by  Corlea Smit

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