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Cape Malay Koeksisters

Cape Malay Koeksisters (also pronounced Koesisters) are sticky, syrupy sweet treats. A South-African delicacy not to be missed

Sticky, syrupy sweet treat - A South-African delicacy not to be missed

We have Koeksisters which is a sweet, sticky, braided, syrupy sweet treat in South-Africa. I have never made those and only buy from bakeries which I know is great.

Koeksisters seem like a lot of work, and watching my family go through a few packets in an hour or two, does not work for me.

Definitely not after going through all that. Therefore when I found a recipe for the Cape Malay Koeksisters, which I think are easier to make, I grabbed the opportunity to make a batch

These are not drenched right through with syrup as standard Koeksisters are and neither are they braided. It is a lot more spicy, though.

I followed the recipe, but really, it just did not work out the first time.

So I made a couple of changes and made a large batch of delicious Cape Malay Koeksisters – my way ! Whether this is still acceptable to carry the name, I have no idea.

UPDATE: If you want a simple version of the traditional koeksisters try these quick Breadsisters.

More Sweet Treats you might like:

Cape Malay Koeksisters

Cape Malay Koeksisters

Cape Malay Koeksisters

Yield: 45 Servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Rise Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Deep-Fry Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Cape Malay Koeksisters (also pronounced Koesisters) are sticky, syrupy sweet treats. A South-African delicacy not to be missed


  • 4 1/2 cups Flour
  • 2 cup Self-Raising Flour
  • 1 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 t Salt
  • 2 t Ground Ginger
  • 1 t Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 t Ground Anise
  • 1 t Cardemom, husks removed and grounded
  • 2 t Tangerine Peel, finely grated
  • 3/4 cup Sunflower Oil, or vegetable oil
  • 1 extra-largeEgg
  • 1 1/2 cups Milk
  • 1 1/2 cups Warm Water
  • 1 TB Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 t Sugar
  • Oil for deep-fry


  • 2 1/4 cups Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 2 Cardamom Pods, husks removed and grounded


  • 2 cups Desiccated Coconut


  1. Place the Flour, Self-Raising Flour, Sugar, Salt, Ginger, Cinnamon, Anise, Cardemom and the grated Tangerine Peel in a large bowl – mix to combine – add the Oil, rub into the dry ingredients until crumbly
  2. Mix the Milk and Water – divide into two smaller bowls – add the Yeast and Sugar to the one bowl and stir until dissolved – add the Egg to the other bowl, with the remaining Milk/Water mixture – beat well
  3. Add first, the Milk/Water/Yeast to the Flour mixture, stir – add the Milk/Water/Egg also to the Flour mixture – mix until you have a soft dough - see note below – cover and leave 2 hours to rise (double in size)
  4. Roll out the dough (on a floured base) to an approximate 5 centimeters (2 inch) thickness – cut into small squares – 2 1/2 centimeters (1 inch) – cover and leave to rise another 30 minutes
  5. SYRUP: Boil the Sugar, Water, Cinnamon stick and Cardemom together until the Sugar has dissolved – this syrup must be kept warm all the time (not boiling, low heat – only to keep warm)
  6. Heat the Oil for deep-fry to a medium heat – place a few pieces of dough in the Oil and fry 3 – 4 minutes until golden and cooked through – drain on paper towel and then dunk into the hot syrup for 30 seconds, turning and making sure the whole koeksister is covered, and some of the syrup has been absorbed
  7. Finally, roll into the Coconut and place on a cooling rack to cool completely


  • If you find the dough too runny at this stage, add 1/4 cup of Flour at a time until you reach a soft dough (should not be more than 3/4 cup i.e. 3 x 1/4 cups added)
Nutrition Information
Yield 45 Servings Serving Size 1 Koeksister
Amount Per Serving Calories 179Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 1mgSodium 106mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 1gSugar 18gProtein 2g

Nutrition value is not always accurate

Did you make this recipe?

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Michelle Smith

Monday 25th of December 2023

I remember my mother making these from a recipe, my Aunt gave her whilst she visited us in the UK. My mother passed manh many years ago and I've never found the recipe until now. I will try. They look delicious. Thank you for this.


Wednesday 25th of November 2020

Hi, i went for half, using 3/4 water and milk and the dough is very thin and haed to work compared to anoter recipe. Taste ok but prefer the other. Is the dough meant to be watery?

Linda Nortje

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

Definitely not watery, just a soft dough. It could be the type of flour used (different flours in different countries). I would add more flour (flour and self-raising) by the 1/4 cup until the consistency is a soft dough. Add a pinch more salt as well

Shiloh Barkley

Tuesday 2nd of April 2013

I think I like this recipe better!

Debi @ Adorned From Above

Friday 25th of January 2013

Hi Linda,These look so good. Thanks so much for sharing at Wednesday's Adorned From Above Blog Hop. Debi and Charly @ Adorned From AboveMarci @ Stone Cottage AdventuresNichi @ The Mandatory Mooch

Kathy Moody

Friday 25th of January 2013

Congrats on 300 and, these look so delicious! Thanks so much for sharing at A Bouquet of Talent!


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