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Rooibos sponge cake with quince jam and vanilla saffron icing

This beautiful layered cake is fragrant with tea and golden with a rich saffron-tinted icing.

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For the sponge

For the quince jam

For the icing


  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3. Grease and line two sandwich tins with greaseproof paper.

  2. For the sponge, cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking continuously, until smooth and creamy. Add the flour and the ground tea leaves and gently fold to combine.

  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared sandwich tins. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the sponge is golden-brown and risen, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Place on a cooling rack and leave to cool to room temperature.

  4. For the jam, place the grated quinces, water and lemon juice and zest into a small non-reactive saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook until the quince is very tender.

  5. Place a small saucer into the freezer.

  6. Add the sugar and pectin to the cooked quince and continue to cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened to a jam consistency. To test whether the jam will set properly, place a small dab of the jam on the cold saucer. If the mixture wrinkles when pushed with your finger, the jam is ready. If not, continue to cook and test again after a few minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  7. For the icing, beat all of the icing ingredients together in a bowl until smooth and well combined.

  8. To serve, turn the sponges out from the tins and remove the greaseproof paper from the bottoms. Place one sponge, flat-side up, on a plate or cake stand and spread with the jam, and then the icing. Place the second sponge on top to sandwich the filling. Dust the cake with icing sugar and cut into slices to serve.

How-to videos

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How to cream butter by hand

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Testing to see if a cake is cooked