South African Pancake recipe (pannekoek resep)

Iftar Ramadhan traditions -Pancakes with fresh berries

The South African Pancake recipe for Cape Malay Pancakes or pannekoek are tender thin crepes that are curled into tubes and wrapped around cardamom and cinnamon scented sweetened cooked coconut filling.

These Cape Malay pancakes are nothing like the fluffy American pancakes we saw on television as children. They are the South African version of the Dutch and Belgian pannekoeken and one of the fruits of our colonial past.

My father’s eldest sister Fatima, who passed away when I was a child, taught me her pannekoek resep because I was so fascinated watching her make them one day. Pancakes with coconut filling (pannekoek met klapper) are still my favorite Ramadhan treats, although my aunt’s delicious pancake recipe is long lost.

I spent many an hour at Tietie’s house (that’s what we called her) when we visited my paternal aunts on a weekend. She would ask me about my day and we would go into the kitchen and make stuff. Sometimes breakfast or a snack with tea while she listened to my chatter, or sometimes she would let me help her make things from scratch.

My favorite was her easy South African Pancake recipe without baking powder, stuffed with cooked coconut filling. She was incredibly patient with me and always took her time to explain what she was doing and why she was doing it. My recipe is an easy pancake recipe for kids so that your children, nieces or grandchildren can have the same positive bonding experience that I had helping my aunt in the kitchen.

Cape Malay pancakes with cooked sweetened coconut

Pancakes with sweetened coconut

How to make the South African Pancake recipe (pannekoek resep)

I tried many sweet and savory crepe recipes in the past and they all left something to be desired. Some pannekoek turned out too thick, some too chewy and others too tough. I finally found the perfect thin pancake recipe in one of my Two in One Cookery collection publications from 1994.

  • This South African Pancake recipe is so easy to make you will be wondering how something so simple can taste so delicious.
  • I use both water and milk for thinning the batter and it is more tender than using only milk.
  • To make the most delicious South African Pancake recipe in the world it is recommended to let the batter rest overnight if you can, although at least 30 minutes will be adequate too. The longer resting time gives a wonderfully tender end result and few or no accidental breakages.
  • My pannekoek pan is a standard low sided crepe pan. When cooking off the pancakes I brush the surface with a light coating of vegetable oil to prevent sticking, even though it is non-stick.
South African pancake recipe with macerated berries

Pancakes with macerated berries

How to eat South African Pancakes (pannekoek)

  • These are soft and tender thin crepes are lovely eaten hot or at room temperature.
  • Pannekoek can be served immediately or the next day and are suitable as breakfast crepes, savory crepes or dessert crepes.
  • For breakfast crepes the crepe fillings can be berry compote or macerated fresh berries.
  • They are also a perfect vehicle for crepe suzette with orange segments and juice or with caramelised condensed milk and sliced bananas for dessert. As a teenager my favorite pancake fillings were macerated fresh berries or dulce de leche and caramelised banana slices.
  • My sister in law and I tried French crepes with cinnamon sugar and lemon juice on our first visit to Paris more than 20 years ago. Every day we walked past a crêperie and on our last day we could no longer resist the delicious aromas and decided we had to try it. Even now I shudder at the taste and texture of the crepe. I much prefer our South African Pancake recipe.

If you have missed some of the other easy sweet and savory snack recipes why not try these:

Pannekoek berries and coconut

South African Pancake recipe (pannekoek resep) with coconut or macerated berries

Razena Schroeder
This South African Pancake recipe is for tender crepes that are wrapped around cardamom and cinnamon scented sweetened coconut or macerated fresh berries.
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Cape Malay
Servings 8
Calories 272 kcal


Pancake batter

  • 100 grams cake flour approximately 187 ml or 3/4 cup
  • 15 ml fine granulated sugar
  • 1 ml salt pinch of salt
  • 125 ml milk approximately 1/2 cup
  • 150 ml water approximately 3/5 cup
  • 2 eggs large
  • 5 ml vanilla extract approximately 1 teaspoon
  • 15 ml vegetable oil or melted butter approximately 1 tablespoon
  • 30 ml vegetable oil to grease the pan

Coconut filling

  • 75 grams fine dessicated coconut approximately 250 ml or 1 cup
  • 250 ml water approximately 1 cup
  • 2 pieces stick cinnamon small
  • 2 pods cardamom bruised
  • 155 grams fine granulated sugar approximately 187 ml or 3/4 cup
  • 10 ml butter approximately 2 teaspoons


How to make the pancake batter

  • Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl.
  • In a jug whisk the eggs, milk and water until combined, about 2 mins.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add half the liquid slowly, stirring continuously with a whisk or wooden spoon to ensure there are no lumps.
  • Whisk for 5 minutes until the batter is shiny and smooth.
  • Add the rest of the liquid and continue whisking until the batter has the consistency of pouring cream.
  • Whisk in the melted butter or vegetable oil until combined.
  • Cover the batter and leave on the counter for 30 minutes to rest. You can also rest the batter in the refrigerator overnight.

How to make the coconut filling

  • Simmer all the ingredients except the butter together until the coconut is soft and the water has mostly evaporated. This takes approximately 30 minutes on a medium low heat.
  • Add the butter and stir until the butter becomes amalgamated with the coconut mixture.
  • Test the coconut filling to check if it is soft then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

How to cook the pancakes

  • Use a low sided crepe pan or frying pan to cook the pancakes.
  • Put the pan on a medium heat and brush a thin film of oil onto the base of the pan.
  • Add one ladle of batter to the centre of the pan and tilt and swirl the pan until the batter covers the base completely. Fill over any holes.
  • After 1 minute check to see if the pancake is cooked. It will loosen and slide and you can lift it from the base with a thin spatula to flip it over.
  • Cook for no more than 20 seconds on the second side.


  • Fill the bottom half of a pancake with the coconut filling and fold in the sides, then roll up. Take care not to tear the thin crepe.
  • If you don't like cooked coconut, then serve with fresh macerated berries or berry compote.


If using, always make the coconut filling while the batter is resting so that it is ready when the pancakes are cooked.
Do not overmix the batter as it will make the finished pancakes tough and chewy.


Serving: 75gCalories: 272kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 4gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 99mgPotassium: 99mgFiber: 2gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 165IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 0.6mg

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

Keyword halaal recipes, make-ahead, simple recipe, summer recipe
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  • Reply
    August 10, 2022 at 8:15 am

    This will be my first time making and eating a South African pancake but I’m so excited to try it! The coconut filling sounds delicious.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      August 10, 2022 at 8:20 am

      I love the coconut filling but the pancakes are very versatile and you can have it with bananas and dulce de leche or fresh berries and chantilly cream or berry sauce.

  • Reply
    Fatima Galvaan
    May 27, 2018 at 2:00 am

    Shukran!! Great tasting pancakes.mmmm yummy! I tried this recipe today for iftar (breaking of fast) and my family loved it, especially dad, who at 87 yrs still fasting whole month and have tasted many types of pancakes over his lifetime. Jazakala!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      May 27, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      Afwan and Ameen Fatima 🙂 May Allah bless your father and give him good health and imaan. My dad loved pancakes too but refused to eat them with anything but the sweetened boiled coconut.

  • Reply
    Irena - One Point of View
    April 13, 2018 at 11:41 pm

    Is there anybody who doesn’t love pancakes?:-) We usually eat it with Nutella, cream cheese or jam, but I never tried it with coconut. My kids love coconut, so this is going on the menu for sure.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      April 14, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      Growing up we only had these with coconut, although one of our neighbors always made them with jam. They are great either way!

  • Reply
    My Teen Guide
    April 13, 2018 at 4:44 am

    This would be perfect for a lazy Saturday breakfast. My family is the “grab and go” kind of people in the mornings, but it is very different during weekends when we can sit, relax and enjoy a good, hearty breakfast. I will be making this on Saturday for my family.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      April 14, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      I’m the grab and go breakfast type too so these are usually left for evenings or weekends.

  • Reply
    London Mumma
    April 12, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    I am a sucker for pancakes, especially ones topped with coconut. This is my daughter and I’s favourite weekend breakfast treat.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      April 12, 2018 at 11:20 pm

      I find it is useful to keep cooked coconut in the fridge for whenever I have a craving because 🙂

  • Reply
    April 12, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    What a yummy recipe. I like the sound of it. We are pancake lovers in our house, so we will definitely be eating this if we could.

  • Reply
    Amanda | Sushi and Gelato
    April 11, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Yum! Yum! Yum! I love crepes and my husband makes them often at home. Usually we fill them with nutella, but I need to try this coconut filling. I recently bought cardamom (for the first time) and have been trying to think of something to use it in…this is perfect. I love your storytelling throughout this article both in your words and fantastic pictures.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      April 11, 2018 at 7:23 pm

      Thank you Amanda, you are too kind! We use cardamom often in our baked goods and I love the warm aromatic citrus notes. It has always been one of my favorite spices, except when accidentally biting on the seeds, hence I prefer to remove the seeds or use it ground up.

  • Reply
    May 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Yummm … my boys loves pancakes or even crepes this looks delicious love the filling.yumm

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      May 21, 2017 at 11:14 pm

      They are so versatile… breakfast or dessert or even a main meal with savoury filling.

  • Reply
    Mandee Pogue
    June 15, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    I have never tried to make crepes, but your stunning photos and easy recipe inspired me this morning! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 16, 2016 at 9:14 am

      That is great to hear. Please let me know what you think when you make it 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura | Wandercooks
    June 15, 2016 at 5:54 am

    These pancakes look wonderful, I especially love the sound of the coconut filling and topping with berries. Delish! Thanks for the tip about letting the batter rest. Pancakes are normally a spontaneous decision on a Sunday morning for us haha, but these are definitely worth planning for and making the batter ahead of time.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 15, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      Thank you Laura 🙂 The coconut filling is a family favorite… heck not just my family but probably every Malay family in Cape Town. The batter is so easy to make it wont take you more than 10 minutes to get everything out, mix and put away for the night.

  • Reply
    Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
    June 15, 2016 at 12:15 am

    Your pancakes or crepes are absolutely beautiful. They have the lightness that would be perfect as a breakfast or dessert. Crepes Suzette, anyone?? Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 15, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      You are too kind Marisa, thank you 🙂 Now you have me thinking of Crepe Suzette 🙁

  • Reply
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy
    June 14, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    These look like some perfect pancakes. We have pancakes every sunday and always try to have a different topping with them each time.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 15, 2016 at 12:14 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I find that I grow bored very easily having the same thing over and over again, so mixing it up is the best thing!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Love these pancakes, perfect for teatime. I have to try these as mine usually are a bit thick.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 14, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      More often than not the batter does thicken the longer it rests, but then just add a tablespoon of water to thin it down. These ones are good though without adding any extra water 🙂

  • Reply
    June 14, 2016 at 10:00 am

    These look really wonderful and light Razena. I ain’t a big pancake fan but I am so sure my son is going to love these for his breakfast and in his school tiffin box.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 14, 2016 at 10:41 am

      They are very light and melt in the mouth; very different to the ones I tasted in Paris many years ago… those were just too tough and chewy. Kids love these especially if its rolled up 🙂

  • Reply
    June 14, 2016 at 9:18 am

    These pancakes look delicious!!

  • Reply
    Rafeeda@The Big Sweet Tooth
    June 14, 2016 at 9:04 am

    These pancakes look so good! Nice and fluffy… resting the batter overnight sounds like a good idea…

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 14, 2016 at 10:39 am

      Thanks Rafeeda. The batter can be used after a minimum resting time of 30 minutes and still have perfectly good pancakes. I find though that an overnight resting makes it so much more tender and at the same time less likely to tear when flipping 🙂

  • Reply
    June 14, 2016 at 7:55 am

    oh my that looks yummm, and those gorgeouse berries over here berries are pretty expensive.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 14, 2016 at 10:38 am

      I think berries are expensive wherever its not a locally grown crop, including here. Sometimes though it is ok to treat oneself 🙂

  • Reply
    Molly Kumar
    June 14, 2016 at 2:20 am

    This looks GORGEOUS Razena ! We make something similar but with a different flour base. I can so taste that coconut cardamom filling – yum!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 14, 2016 at 10:36 am

      You are too kind Molly. As a child I only ate it with the coconut filling and refused anything else… Now I love it with berries for breakfast too 🙂

  • Reply
    June 13, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Woow that’s awesome Razeena!??Wanna try it!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 13, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      It is the most tender pancakes or crepes I’ve come across. I hope you like it too 🙂

      • Reply
        April 16, 2018 at 11:22 pm

        sumptuous and splendid this photos are amazing, i love pancakes especially tasty ones like this i wish i had one in front of me now i love the article keep it up Ranzena.

        • Reply
          Razena Schroeder
          April 16, 2018 at 11:32 pm

          Thank you for your generous words. I must confess, I love these pancakes and can eat them for dinner with a big bowl of lamb and vegetable soup.

    5 from 11 votes

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