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Koeksisters have always been a part of my family. Throughout my life most Sunday mornings would consist of tea and doughnuts – but not the ones you might be thinking about. Our Sunday morning doughnuts were (and still are) Koeksisters. These are a yeast doughnut spiced with aniseed, cardamon and cinnamon. Once fried, they are dipped into boiling simple syrup, and then dusted with fine coconut. They are slightly sticky on the outside and soft and fragrant on the inside. It’s best eaten while still warm. 

Growing up either my Mom or Grandma would make them. They would always make enough to keep some in the freezer, ready to defrost and syruped whenever needed. This recipe has been passed down from my Grandma, and is something that my entire family loves. I have however adapted it to be Vegan friendly by substituting the butter with Vegan butter. Be sure to add in lots of love when kneading the dough as I believe this helps it to rise and adds to the deliciousness! 

I hope you enjoy them!



1kg Cake Flour

10g Instant Yeast

2 tbsps Sugar

1 pinch Salt

2 large Potatoes

125g Vegan Butter

2 tbsps Canola Oil

4 tsps Aniseed

6 Cardomon Pods

2 tsps Ground Cinnemon

1 1/2 cups Warm Water

Oil for frying


 In a bowl mash two boiled potatoes.

Crush the 6 cardamon pods using a Mortar & Pestle. Don’t forget to remove the shell of the pods, and only crush the inside. 

In a second bowl, mix the dry ingredients and spices until combined. 

In a third bowl, melt the butter and mix in the oil.

Add the butter and oil mix to the dry ingredients, as well as the mashed potatoes.

Give the mixture a stir.

Slowly start adding the warm water to your mixture until a pliable dough forms.

Remove the dough from the bowl, and knead it on a lightly floured surface. The dough needs to be stretchy, but not sticky.

Once the dough has risen, knead it for one minute to let the air out.

Roll the dough into 3cm balls and place it on a floured surface.

Heat your oil in a pot. The doughnut should be able to float in the oil and not touch the base of the pot.

You’ll know your oil is hot enough by putting a small piece of dough into the oil, and waiting for it to float to the top.

Stretch your doughnuts before frying them by placing your thumbs in the middle of the ball of dough and pulling it outwards.

Place your stretched dough into the hot oil to fry.

Once the doughnuts are golden brown, turn it over and fry the other side.
Remove from the oil and allow them to cool.

Once cooled, you can keep out the amount of doughnuts you intend to eat, and place the rest into the freezer.

To Make The Syrup:

4 cups sugar

1 cup water

4 pieces stick cinnamon

Fine coconut (for sprinkling)

Add the sugar, water and stick cinnamon to a pot and bring it to a boil.

Stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is slightly sticky.

Add your fried doughnuts to the mixture and coat it on either side.

Remove them from the pot of syrup and sprinkle them with coconut.

And there you go – hot, fresh, vegan, Cape Malay Koeksisters! Enjoy!

– Cath