Cape Dutch Koeksisters

A little effort and patience is required, but this is an easy recipe anyone can master.

Less than 45 minutes

Makes 40-50 


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  • 5 cups (750g) self-raising flour, sifted
  • ½ tsp (3ml) fine salt
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) baking powder
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) water
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup (60g) butter, melted
  • 4 cups (1L) oil for frying


  • 6 cups (1.2kg) sugar
  • 3 cups (750ml) water
  • ½ cup (125ml) lemon juice
  • 2 tsp (10ml) cream of tartar



  1. Combine flour, salt and baking powder.
  2. Whisk together milk, water, eggs and butter.
  3. Add wet ingredients to flour while mixing by hand, or use a mixer with a dough hook attachment.
  4. Knead for 8-10 minutes on a floured surface until smooth and elastic. (Add a dash of flour if your dough is too sticky.)
  5. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm pressing down onto dough.
  6. Rest for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
  7. Combine syrup ingredients and heat until sugar is dissolved.
  8. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove, cool and chill well.
  9. Place dough on a lightly oiled surface and divide into 4.
  10. Shape a piece of dough into a log and roll out to a 3mm thickness. Cut into a neat 10cm-wide rectangle.
  11. Cut rectangle into 3cm-wide strips.
  12. For a simple twist, cut each strip in half, keeping 1cm at the top attached. Cross dough pieces once over and under and pinch together the loose ends. (For a plait, see step-by-step below.)
  13. Repeat with remaining dough.
  14. Heat oil in a pot until hot – a piece of dough should float to the top and bubbles should appear around it when oil is hot enough. 
  15. Fry koeksisters in batches for 4-6 minutes, or until golden, turning regularly.
  16. Drain briefly on kitchen paper and immediately plunge into ice-cold syrup. Soak for 15 minutes.
  17. Remove and store in an airtight container for up to four days, or freeze if not eating immediately.


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