The life artistic – Rooibos, Peach & Honey Cupcakes

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So, tea may not seem like the obvious choice for a flavour of cupcake, but you’re going to have to trust me on this one.  The idea came to me during a worship session, so I think I can probably claim that it was God-inspired.  The flavour has certainly been described as heavenly by my willing taste-testers, but you’ll have to try them for yourself to decide.

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I have to admit that these never would have come about if I hadn’t gotten ridiculously homesick earlier in the week.  A wonderful friend came to my rescue and offered me some therapy in the form of free access to her kitchen.  After spending eight out of the last ten months in South Africa, I thought it was high time that I tried to incorporate some of the essence of this beautiful country into my baking, and these were the result.

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Rooibos is becoming more and more popular in the UK, but is still a distinctly South African flavour.  To me, it evokes beautiful African sunsets over the Drakensberg, even though I’ve been normally drinking it to stay warm on freezing cold Cape Town nights.  The peaches add a subtle depth to the flavour, but are really there to add texture and to keep the sponge moist.  The real star of these cupcakes is the combination of the delicate rooibos flavour with the honey frosting, which lifts the whole thing to another level.

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I’m not claiming that these are in any way an authentic South African delicacy, just one Brit’s take on some traditional South African flavours.  They seemed to go down well with the locals, so I’m taking that as receiving the official seal of approval.

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I found myself making these in a beautiful kitchen that lacked but one thing; an electric mixer.  It was at that point that I thanked the Lord that my Mum used to bake with me the old-fashioned way as I grew up, so I just adapted the method as I went.  I’ve included both versions below, so you can have a go if you find yourself mixer-less, or just fancy a bit more of a workout as you bake.

Rooibos, Peach & Honey Cupcakes

Light sponge flavoured with rooibos tea and studded with pieces of peach, topped with a honey whipped cream frosting.

For the Cupcakes

3 Rooibos teabags

3tbsp boiling water

80g unsalted butter

280g caster sugar

240g plain flour

1tbsp baking powder

pinch of salt

190ml milk

2 eggs

1 tin of peaches in syrup

For the Frosting

500ml double cream

4tbsp runny honey

To make the Cupcakes

  1. Soak the rooibos teabags in the boiling water for 30 minutes.
  2. Slowly beat together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Mix together the milk, eggs and rooibos extract in a jug, squeezing out the teabags to get every last drop.
  4. Using a mixer on low speed, add 3/4 of the milk mixture to the dry ingredients.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl well and mix in the remaining milk mixture.
  6. Once incorporated, beat on a medium speed until smooth.
  7. Drain and rinse the peaches, then chop into small pieces and stir through the cake batter.
  8. 2/3 fill muffin cases (I find it usually makes 18), and bake at 170°C (fan oven) for 18-20 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to go completely cold.

And here’s the method for if you don’t have an electric mixer

  1. Soak the rooibos teabags in the boiling water for 30 minutes.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of flour with the second egg.
  4. Sieve together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  5. Mix together the milk and rooibos extract, squeezing out the teabags to get every last drop.
  6. Fold in half of the flour, then mix in half of the milk.
  7. Fold in the remaining flour, then mix in the remaining milk.
  8. Drain and rinse the peaches, then chop them into small pieces and stir through the cake batter.
  9. 2/3 fill muffin cases (I find it usually makes 18), and bake at 170°C (fan oven) for 18-20 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to go completely cold.

To make the frosting

  1. Add the honey to the cream and whip until stiff (be careful not to over whip, as it turns very quickly).

To assemble the Cupcakes

  1. Top each cupcake with a generous dollop of frosting.
  2. Enjoy!
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2 thoughts on “The life artistic – Rooibos, Peach & Honey Cupcakes

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