Who doesn’t love a cup of tea and a piece of cake? They taste even better when they’re consumed in the name of an extremely good cause. The Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is a fundraising initiative of the Cancer Council to raise funds to save lives through prevention, treatment and early detection of cancer.

Ladies who love morning tea, Central Coast style

The Mingara Ladies Lawn Bowls Club, with the support of Mingara Recreation Club, has been hosting the Biggest Morning Tea at Mingara on the Central Coast for more than five years.
Our bowls ladies love nothing more than an end or two of bowls followed by sharing stories and catching up with friends. They do it each week over morning tea here at Mingara. This social group of ladies get together every Tuesday for bowls and they’re always looking for opportunities to contribute to the community.

When is this year’s event?

Mingara’s Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea will be held on Wednesday 31 May from 10 am. The ladies from Mingara Lawn Bowls Club are all set to bake some sweet treats and family favourite recipes to raise funds for this great cause. For just a gold coin donation you can join them to enjoy a cuppa and a bite to eat.

The secret is in the fruit cake

Founding Mingara member, Shirley Hadley is famous for her fruit cake and has shared her recipe for this sought after delight. It’s perfect for morning tea, afternoon tea and of course Christmas time. Shirley founded our club with a passion for giving back to her community. Her vision was to provide its members with a place to socialise and enjoy good times with friends and family. Our Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is a great reason to come together and fundraise for the community.

The recipe

Shirley’s Fruit Cake


  • 250gm butter or margarine
  • 250gm caster, brown or white sugar
  • 250gm plain flour
  • 60gm self-raising flour
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼tsp nutmeg
  • ¼tsp mixed spice
  • ¼tsp cinnamon
  • 1kg of dried fruit (mixed or own mixture)
  • Fruit juice or sherry (enough to soak the dried fruit).


  • Soak fruit in fruit juice or other liquid. Shirley uses cream sherry – approximately 1 cup. Soak the fruit for 3 – 4 days until fruit is nice and plump
  • Sift flour, salt and spices into a bowl
  • Beat eggs
  • Cream butter/margarine in an electric mixer, gradually add eggs and mix well
  • Add flour, then fruit and liquid, stir gently and thoroughly with a wooden spoon
  • Place in a heavily lined 8” round or 7” square cake pan, hollow out the centre to allow for rising
  • Bake at 160 degrees celsius for 3 – 3 ½ hours. Decrease the temperature gradually as the cake cooks
  • Towards the end of cooking spray the cake generously with sherry (as preferred by Shirley)
  • Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave in the tin for at least 10 minutes, even if it is until the cake is quite cold
  • Suggestions for the mixed fruit include sultanas, currants, seeded raisins, mixed peel, chopped glace cherries, dates and even some almonds.

Make your cake and make a difference

Make your morning tea make a difference in May and June by gathering your friends, sporting group, social club and workmates. Get baking (or buy something delicious and put it on a pretty plate) and start donating! Be sure to register your event with Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, or simply head into Mingara on Wednesday 31 May at 10 am to donate!