Cardamom bollas with saffron syrup

Cape Malay Cardamom bollas recipe

Course: Tea time treats
Cuisine: Cape Malay
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 24
Calories: 209kcal
Author: Razena Schroeder
Light and airy yeast free doughnuts flavored with cardamom and dipped in a fragrant saffron and orange blossom syrup.
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  • 280 grams cake or fine sponge flour approximately 2 cups or 500 ml
  • 10 ml baking powder approximately 2 teaspoons
  • 5 ml fine cardamom approximately 1 teaspoon
  • 1 ml salt approximately 1/4 teaspoon
  • 67.5 grams fine granulated sugar approximately 92.5 ml
  • 1 egg
  • 92.5 ml oil 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
  • 250 ml buttermilk approximately 1 cup
  • 5 ml vanilla extract approximately 1 teaspoon
  • Oil for deep frying should be at least 5 cm deep

Saffron syrup

  • 500 grams sugar fine granulated, approximately 625 ml or 2 1/2 cups
  • 500 ml water approximately 2 cups
  • 10 stamens saffron
  • 5 ml orange blossom water approximately 1 teaspoon
  • 15 ml fresh lemon juice approximately 1 tablespoon
  • 5 ml butter approximately 1 teaspoon


  • 125 ml pistachios coarsely ground


  • Sift the flour, cardamom and baking powder together in a bowl with the salt and set aside.
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl until it has doubled in volume and the color has turned pale yellow.
  • Add the oil and vanilla and whisk again to combine.
  • Add the buttermilk and whisk again for a minute.
  • Add the sifted flour and mix into a sticky dough. If your buttermilk container was larger than 250ml DO NOT add the rest of it to the dough as it makes it runny and prone to spilling out of itself when frying.
  • Fry a tablespoon full in moderately hot oil until golden and cooked through. Adjust the heat if required to ensure that the bollas are not browned too quickly and undercooked. If the oil is too cold it will soak it up like a sponge. Do not crowd the frying space.
  • For the syrup boil all the ingredients together until the syrup starts to bubble, about 15-20 minutes. If it is too thin it will be watery and soak into the bolla instead of forming a glossy cover.


  • If you do not have buttermilk you can substitute the same amount (250 ml) of full cream milk mixed with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice (leave to stand for 5-10 minutes so that it thickens and add another tablespoon only if required).¬†Alternatively you may use plain drinking yogurt or laban that has a similar consistency as buttermilk.
  • If you do not have orange blossom water, use the finely grate rind of 1/2 an orange instead.¬†


Serving: 100g | Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 33mg | Potassium: 126mg | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 0.6mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 0.4mg