Cape Malay Koeksisters

Cape Malay Koeksisters

Cape Malay Koeksisters

We always bought these traditional Cape Malay koeksisters or doughnuts on Fridays after school in Grassy Park.

Malay women would make these on Fridays to have with tea after the men return from Friday mosque (at 1 pm). These are called koeksisters but are not to be confused with the traditional South African plaited koeksister.

I remember the first tine I made them – 27 October1989, the day before Karl was born. Craved for weeks, made them and never got to eat any!


500 g cake flour
100 ml self raising flour
100 ml sugar
2 ml salt
10 ml fine ginger
5 ml fine cinnamon
5 ml fine cardamom / aniseed
10 ml grated dry Clementine or Mandarin Orange (nartjie) peel (optional)
125 ml sunflower oil
250 ml cold milk
250 ml cold water
20 ml dry active yeast
5 ml sugar
750 ml sunflower oil
Sugar syrup*
150 ml fine coconut


  1. Sift flour, sugar and salt in mixing bowl and add spices and peel.
  2. Rub 125 ml oil into the mixture until it looks crumbly.
  3. Mix milk, water and dissolve dry yeast and 5 ml sugar in half of this milk mixture.
  4. Add flour to the rest of the milk mixture.
  5. Mix to a soft dough.
  6. Moisten hands with oil and rub over the dough.
  7. Cover dough with a dish towel and let it rise for about 2 hours until double in volume.
  8. Roll dough on an oiled surface into a roll of about 5 cm in diameter.
  9. Cut strips of about 2cm off and shape into a flattish doughnut.
  10. Leave aside for 30 minutes to rise again.
  11. Heat oil in a pot or deepfryer and deep-fry koeksisters 5 minutes each side until brown.
  12. Drain on towel paper.
  13. Boil koeksisters in sugar syrup for 1 minute – a few at a time – drain and roll in coconut.

Enough for 60 koeksisters.

* Sugar Syrup


500 ml water
250 ml sugar
Pinch of baking soda
10 ml butter


  1. Boil water and sugar until sugar has melted and syrup starts to thicken.
  2. Stir baking soda and butter in.
  3. Use as syrup for koeksisters.

This recipe is from Faldela Williams’ Kaapse Maleier Kookkuns


Filed under Cakes, Cookies, Pies

10 responses to “Cape Malay Koeksisters

  1. These look delicious! I was introduced to these by a friend of mine from the Cape. I am going to try rustling them up in my London kitchen. I’ll let you know how it goes!


    I love this koeksister BUT please tell me – does the syrup have to be ice cold or just cooled off when dipped before rolling it in coconut? I made some and put it in the syrup straight after boiling it and rolled it in coconut. My problem is they become soggy inside……..whats the secret plse?

  3. Nadia

    Being Cape Malay, I struggled with this recipe. I found that the dough was too moist. It did’nt make sense to have 500g of plain cake flour and 100g of self raising flour for 500ml of water and milk, that’s excluding the oil and egg.

    After a couple of dozen times of trying this recipe, I found that by adding the wet ingredients just until the dough became soft and pliable made all the difference. I would think about half the milk and water indicated in the recipe, but trust your instincts.

    I found that this resulted in a much better dough, which rose faster and was a lot lighter.

    In terms of the previous comments of the sugar syrup making the koeksisters too soggy, it’s best to make ensure that they are fully cooled before sugaring and make sure that the syryp is very syrypy almost to the point of caramel. The koeksisters should float at the top of the syryp, less than a minute then turn over.

    Hope this helps.

    • wilhart

      Nadia I checked the recipe again against my original recipe. Take note that it is 500 grams of cake flour and 100 milliliters of selfraising flour. There is also no egg – its more like a bread dough. The other thing to watch out for is the oil: only 125 ml goes into the mixture. The remainder is used for deep-frying. Let me know how it goes! (The original recipe came from Faldela Williams)

    • Hi Nadia

      I notice that you mention 100g self raising flour. The recipe recipe is 100ml self raising flour. Just thought I’ll let you know. And what I do is, I also use sufficient water and milk to make a dough that’s soft and pliable. Well happy cooking.
      Hope this helps

  4. anisha

    hi nadiai see you said egg but in the ingredients no egg is used,i agree what you said with milk and water it came out very nice should i put egg next time from anisha volkwin

  5. francina

    I’m going to try out the koeksister recipy

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