Cape Malay Ring Donuts recipe

Cape Malay Ring Donuts with chocolate ganache and sprinkles

This incredibly easy Cape Malay Ring Donuts recipe yields yeast free classic fried donuts that are cakey and comforting with a tender and fluffy interior.

Cape Malay ring donuts present a delightful contrast of textures – from crispy to soft and fluffy, and from sticky to smooth – paired with a flavor profile that ranges from sweet and buttery to rich and chocolatey, with the optional addition of tropical coconut or a caramel-like sweetness from the sugar syrup.

Cape Malay Ring Donuts sugar syruped

I was in primary school the first time I ever tasted ‘American Ring donuts’. My dad had gone to buy groceries at a supermarket and because it was busy, I waited outside for him. Out of the corner of my eye, I spied the most incredible looking pastry in the in-house bakery window.

When my dad came out of the store he gave me money and I went back in to buy the ring donut. It was amazing! Not the usual yeast leavened ring doughnuts that were sold everywhere. This was one was more cakey and had a delicious deep-soaked syrupy glaze. Alas, I never had that ring donut again, but it always stayed in the back of my mind as the one to aspire too. It had a much better texture than the commercial cakey ring donuts from places like Krispy Creme and Dunkin Donuts, and much less sweet.

The only thing that came close to being as mouthwateringly moreish is my Aunty Gadija’s ring donuts recipe. Not sugar glazed but dipped in hot syrup like my other favorite spiced donut aka koesister, then sprinkled with coconut or left as is.

What are Cape Malay ring donuts?

Ring donuts are tender rings of fried pastry that have a tender, fluffy interior, thanks to the combination of buttermilk and self-raising flour. The buttermilk contributes to a slightly tangy taste and helps in creating a soft, moist crumb. The self-raising flour ensures they rise well, giving a light and airy texture. The exterior, having been deep-fried, has a delicate, crispy crust which provides a satisfying contrast to the soft interior.

The base flavor of the ring donut is mildly sweet and buttery, with the fine granulated sugar and melted salted butter providing a harmonious blend of sweetness and a hint of saltiness. The vanilla extract adds a fragrant, sweet aroma and flavor, enhancing the overall taste profile. The eggs contribute to the richness and bind the flavors together.

Boiling the cooled ring donuts in sugar syrup adds an additional layer of texture. The syrup makes the exterior slightly sticky and further softens the donut while intensifying the sweetness and adds a caramel like flavor. Desiccated coconut topping is optional and adds a tropical, nutty flavor that complements the sweetness of the syrup.

For those preferring a less traditional route, the chocolate ganache frosting offers a luxurious, creamy texture and a smooth, rich coating that hardens slightly upon cooling. The rich, deep flavor of the chocolate pairs beautifully with the vanilla-scented dough, and the chocolate sprinkles add a playful, additional layer of chocolatey goodness.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting for Donuts

For a rich and glossy chocolate frosting that pairs beautifully with the Cape Malay ring donuts , using 70% cocoa chocolate and heavy cream will create a luxurious ganache-like coating. This chocolate ganache frosting will add a smooth, rich, and intensely chocolatey layer to your donuts, making them an irresistible treat. The simplicity of the ingredients allows the quality of the chocolate to shine through, complementing the flavors of the donuts perfectly.

Here’s a simple yet decadent recipe:


  • 200g (about 7 oz) 70% cocoa dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 250ml (about 1 cup) heavy cream
  • A pinch of salt (optional, enhances flavor)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional, for added aroma)


  • Prepare the Chocolate: Place the finely chopped 70% cocoa dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl. The finer the chocolate is chopped, the easier it will melt with the cream.
  • Heat the Cream: Pour the heavy cream into a small saucepan and heat it over medium heat. Watch it closely to ensure it doesn’t boil over. You want to bring it just to a simmer, where small bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan.
  • Combine Chocolate and Cream: Once the cream is heated, pour it over the chopped chocolate in the bowl. Let it sit for about 1 minute without stirring; this allows the chocolate to gently begin melting.
  • Mix the Ganache: After letting it sit, start whisking the mixture from the center outward until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy. If adding, whisk in the pinch of salt and vanilla extract at this stage.
  • Let It Cool Slightly: Allow the ganache to cool for a few minutes. It should still be warm and fluid for dipping, but not so hot that it thins out too much or affects the texture of the donuts.
  • Dip the Donuts: Dip each donut halfway into the ganache, letting the excess drip off, or use a spoon to drizzle the ganache over the donuts. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, cookie crumbs or chocolate sprinkles. If the ganache starts to thicken too much as you work, you can gently reheat it over a pot of simmering water (double boiler method) or for a few seconds in the microwave.
  • Cool and Set: Place the chocolate-dipped donuts on a wire rack to let the chocolate set. You can speed up this process by placing them in the refrigerator for a few minutes.

Cape Malay Ring Donuts with chocolate ganache

Cape Malay ring donuts variations

I prefer the traditional Cape Malay ring donuts that my aunt made but if want to enhance these ring donuts while maintaining their unique character, consider the following variations:

1. Ingredient Adjustments:

  • Whole Wheat Flour: Partially substitute the self-raising flour with whole wheat flour for added fiber and a nuttier flavor. This adjustment makes the donuts more nutritious without compromising too much on texture.
  • Alternative Sweeteners: Experiment with alternative sweeteners like coconut sugar or maple syrup to reduce refined sugar content. These sweeteners can also add interesting flavor notes.

2. Flavor Enhancements:

  • Spices: Introduce spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom into the dough to add depth to the flavor profile. These spices are often used in Cape Malay cuisine and can complement the existing vanilla and sweet elements.
  • Citrus Zest: Add lemon or orange zest to the dough for a fresh, citrusy aroma and taste, which can balance the sweetness.

3. Texture Improvements:

  • Yeast-Raised Option: For an even lighter texture, consider using a yeast-raised dough. This requires more time but can result in a fluffier, more bread-like texture.
  • Air Fryer Cooking: To make them healthier, try cooking the donuts in an air fryer. This method significantly reduces the oil content while still providing a crispy exterior.

4. Dipping Variations:

  • Fruit Glazes: Use fruit-based glazes like raspberry, blueberry, or passion fruit for a tangy contrast. These can be made by reducing fruit purees and adding a bit of icing sugar.
  • Chocolate ganache frosting: See recipe below.
  • Nutty Toppings: In addition to desiccated coconut, consider toppings like crushed nuts or seeds for added texture and nutritional value.

5. Presentation and Serving:

  • Mini Donuts: Make smaller, bite-sized versions for a fun, easy-to-eat treat that can help with portion control.
  • Pairing Suggestions: Provide recommendations for pairing the donuts with healthy beverages like herbal teas or fresh fruit smoothies.

By implementing these variations, you can enhance the nutritional profile of the donuts, introduce new flavors and textures, and cater to a wider range of dietary preferences and health-conscious consumers.

Cape Malay Ring Donuts

How to store the ring donuts

  • The cooled donuts can be refrigerated for up to 2 days before use. Leave out at room temperature for an hour before using and boil in the sugar syrup as indicated or dip in preferred frosting.
  • The cooled donuts can be packed in freezer safe bags and frozen for up to 3 months before use. Thaw at room temperature for 2-3 hours before boiling in the sugar syrup as indicated.

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Cape Malay Ring Donuts with chocolate ganache and sprinkles

Cape Malay Ring Donuts recipe

Razena Schroeder
This incredibly easy Cape Malay Ring Donuts recipe yields yeast free classic fried donuts that are cakey and comforting with a tender and fluffy interior.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Tea time treats
Cuisine Cape Malay
Servings 18
Calories 216 kcal



  • 60 grams salted butter, melted
  • 100 grams fine granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs large
  • 250 ml buttermilk
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 500 grams self raising flour
  • 1.25 ml grated nutmeg
  • 2.5 ml salt
  • oil for deep frying


  • 200 grams fine granulated sugar
  • 250 ml water
  • 5 ml lemon juice
  • 5 ml butter
  • 1 piece stick cinnamon, optional


  • 125 ml dessicated coconut, optional


  • Place melted butter and sugar in a large bowl and whisk for 3 minutes until the sugar begins to dissolve.
  • Add the eggs, buttermilk and the vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
  • Sift over the self-raising flour, add the salt and grated nutmeg and mix to a soft dough.
  • Bring together into a ball and leave the dough to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Flour the surface and roll out the dough until it is 1cm thick.
  • Dip the cutter into flour and cut out the doughnuts and holes.
  • Heat the oil in pot on medium-high and when the oil is hot enough place the doughnuts in the oil.
  • Fry until golden, flip then fry on the other side until done.
  • Remove and drain on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
  • Boil the ingredients for the syrup until thick and glossy and add the completely cooled doughnuts.
  • Boil the doughnuts in the syrup for 1-2 minutes on each side then remove to a serving plate sprinkled with the coconut, if using (this prevents the doughnuts sticking to the plate).
  • Sprinkle more coconut over the top and serve warm or at room temperature.


Calories: 216kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 5gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 113mgPotassium: 65mgFiber: 1gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 141IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 0.4mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.

Keyword cape malay recipe, simple recipe, yeast free
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