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Escaping into literature is something that I always find important but during this pandemic people all across the globe are finding solace in books. The kind of book you read during this could make or brake you, choose wisely, sorry Cormac McCarthy this is not your time. As I am on lockdown with two small children, a chronic illness and we are both working full time my go to has been the realm of audiobooks – thank you library app!

The thing I have turned to most is the set of radio play adaptations of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series. I find the whole thing very calming for me. I adore that Mma Ramotswe goes to see her friend Mma Potokwani when something is troubling her. There Mma Potokwani always offers her a slice of fruit cake and a cup of tea, they talk and clarity is given, Mma Ramotswe always leaves refreshed and able to solve the problems at hand. I really want to take tea and eat fruit cake with Mme Potokwani right now. But as I do not posess the powers of Thursday Next to be able to literally step into literature. I made my own cake and that will have to do – for now.

We all need tea and sympathy from time to time

rooibos tea fruit cake recipe

April 21st is National Tea Day and this year they have partnered with the charity Mind. They are suggesting that we hold virtual tea parties. I think that connecting online is all well and good but that connection will not help everyone especially those who already have long term mental health issues like myself. I am not going to go into the whys and wherefores of mental health now but think of other things. Social distancing does not mean you cannot sit on your doorstep and share a brew with a neighbour across the way, or yell over garden fences. Be kind. Stop judging we all have different circumstances. Make tea & cake.

If you make the cake please tag me on instagram and also add the tag #serendipitea. My retirement plan is to have a tea shop called Serendipitea a play on the word Serendipty, a word I have always loved.

fruit cake and tea recipe

You will need

  • 4 free range eggs
  • 200g brown caster sugar
  • 2 oranges
  • 300g mixed fruit
  • 2tbsp spiced rum
  • 3tsp of baking powder
  • 80g cornflour
  • 280g plain flour
  • 200g melted butter
  • 1tsp vanilla extract or 1 bean
  • 2 cups of strong rooibos tea


  1. Measure 2 cups (the measuring kind not giant mugs), of boiling water and make a strong brew of rooiboa tea. It would not be a recipe inspired by The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency without rooibos tea! Soak the mixed fruit overnight in the tea.
  2. Beat the eggs and the sugar until they are pale and fluffy. Then add the juice of the 2 oranges. I simply cut them in half and rip at the insides getting all of the juice and some of the flesh out. Just remember to pick out any pips that fell in in the process.
  3. Add the plain flour, vanilla and baking powder to the mixture and whisk until fully combined.
  4. You cannot have a fruit cake without adding booze! I wanted to add something that made me feel a little equatorial so I chose spiced rum. Mix the cornflour into the spiced rum and fold into the cake mixture.
  5. Last but not least add the pre-soaked mixed fruit and melted butter.
  6. Bake in a prepared cake tin at 180C for around an hour.
  7. Once it has cooled give it a light dusting of icing sugar.

You can slice this cake and freeze it. I am a huge fan of cake you can freeze and food you can make ahead and freeze.

food flatlay of fruitcake and tea recipe in post

March 27, 2020