Caramel Rose Rooibos Tea Cake Recipe


I got really frustrated trying to find a recipe for a Lavender Earl  Grey tea cake. After some Foogling (Facebook Googling, of course), I got some excellent advice from friends. In essence, you make a classic sponge cake but turn it into a tea cake by adding any tea flavour you like (that would make sense flavour-wise within a cake) to your milk. The trick is to warm up the milk and make a ‘tea’ with it by adding your tea leaves (in a strainer) to it and ‘steeping’ until the milk tastes like the tea. I also then add some of the same tea ground up with my dry ingredients. I’ve now made this with a Lavender Earl Grey tea, as well as a Caramel Rose rooibos tea. I recommend knowing the flavour strength of the tea well so you know how strong the flavour will be within the cake.

If you want to make a layered cake, then double the ingredients. Will make 2 x standard cake sized layers. For a delicious (if I may say so) icing/frosting, check out my Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing recipe below. 


  • 1 x vanilla bean pod (cut down the middle, scrape out the seeds) or 5ml vanilla essence
  • 85g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 245g caster/berry sugar
  • Zest of 1 ½ lemons
  • 3 tsps of tea leaves of your flavor choice** (e.g. I’ve used Earl Grey-Lavender and Caramel Rose Rooibos teas) PLUS 1 tsp the same tea, ground
  • 165ml milk
  • 255 ml cake flour (can also use all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 egg whites

**I added lemon zest as well to balance out the strong caramel flavor when I made the Caramel Rose rooibos version but would avoid with other tea flavours


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Heat up the milk, and then, using a tea pot with a leaf strainer, make a “tea” by steeping the tea leaves in the warmed milk (I usually run the milk through the leaves a few times). Set aside. For the Caramel Rose rooibos cake, I also added some rose petals when steeping the tea in the milk to balance the more caramel flavor of the tea.
  3. Place butter, sugar, and vanilla into an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat until incorporated (this might split/separate a little).
  4. Slowly add the tea-infused milk to the butter mix until incorporated.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and ground up tea.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mix in three additions, scraping down the sides after each addition.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a handheld beater until peaks form
  8. Using a metal spoon, spoon the egg whites into the cake mix until well mixed.
  9. Pour into a greased cake tin.
  10. Bake for about 30 mins until the cake springs back. Turn out onto a wire rack and cool.

My Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing:

(I tend to guesstimate the amounts based on the size of cake and whether I’m making a layer cake or not, but this should make enough for a layered cake with icing in the middle. If you realise you don’t have enough, you can always make more.)

  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 227g cream cheese
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence (or 1 vanilla bean pod, scraped)


Cream the butter and sugar together. Stir in the cream cheese and vanilla. Add a few splashes of food colouring if desired. Depending on the cake type, I like to add 1 tsp lemon juice to the icing, and some lemon zest on top of the cake once it’s iced. If the icing is very thick, you can always add a splash of milk to loosen.

Tips for Icing the Cake:

Place your bottom layer on a cake round or plate for icing. Level the bottom layer if needed by cutting off the rounded top (depending on how much the cake has risen). Add a layer of icing to the bottom layer, and then add the top layer on top. Do a ‘crumb’ layer of icing by icing the whole cake without worrying about appearances. Put in the fridge for about 15-30 mins to set and then do your final layer of icing (wipe the knife or icing knife with a warm cloth in between to avoid crumbs). If, after your “crumb” layer, you don’t have enough icing, you can always make more while the “crumb” layer is setting.


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