Traditional South African Dessert Recipes

You'll love the traditional South African dessert recipes below. Desserts are a favorite part of any South African meal, and they often take advantage of the delicious fresh fruits that are grown in the warm climate.

Enjoy the sunny, fresh taste of the West Cape Dutch in these old fashioned fruit preserves and the beautiful Dutch Almond Cake. Why not treat yourself today?

Traditional South African Dessert Recipes From the West Cape

The Book of Household Management (1861)

South African Cape Dutch Gooseberry Jam PreserveYummy Cape Dutch Gooseberry Jam
(Source ©darya-petrenko/123RF)

Cape Dutch Gooseberry Jam

Ingredients: 6 pounds of gooseberries, 4-1/2 pounds of preserving sugar, 1 pint of cold water.


Prick the berries with a darning needle, place them in alternate layers with the sugar in a preserving pan.

Add the water, and boil gently until a little of the syrup quickly jellies when poured onto a cold plate. Turn into pots (jars), cover at once, and store in a dry place.

Cape Dutch Grape Jam

Ingredients: 6 pounds of grapes (seedless), 2 pounds of cooking apples pared and sliced, 3 pounds of preserving sugar, 2 pints of water.


Remove the grapes from the stalks, and prick them with a darning needle. Boil the sugar and water to a syrup, and put in the grapes and apples, and boil gently until a little of the syrup quickly jellies when poured onto a cold plate.

Turn into pots (jars), cover quickly, and store in a dry place.

Sweet Green Tomato Preserve

Ingredients: 6 pounds of green tomatoes, 8 pounds of preserving sugar, 4 lemons, 2-1/2 dozen peach leaves, 3 pieces of ginger, 3 tablespoonfuls of brandy.


Cover the tomatoes with water, put in the peach leaves, and boil very gently until the tomatoes are quite soft, but unbroken. Drain the water into another pan, add to it the sugar, and boil to a syrup.

Strain, when cold replace in the pan, put in the thinly-pared lemon rind and ginger tied together in muslin, the lemon juice and the tomatoes.

Boil gently until a little of the syrup jellies quickly when poured onto a cold plate., then stir in the brandy.

Turn into pots (jars), cover at once, and store in a dry place.

Dutch Almond Cake Recipe

Castor Sugar

In the USA substitute Super Fine sugar, a.k.a. Bar Sugar. In Canada use Super Fine or Berry Sugar. These sugars are finely ground yet not powdered like icing sugars.

Ingredients: 1 pound of Jordan or Valencia almonds, 1 ounce of bitter almonds, 1 pound of castor sugar, 12 eggs, 4 heaped tablespoonfuls of pounded cracknel biscuits (sweet, crispy cookies), rosewater.

Method: Blanch and pound the almonds, adding from time to time a little rosewater to prevent them oiling. Beat the sugar and yolks of eggs together until smooth and light.

Whisk the whites of eggs, add them alternately with spoonfuls of the prepared almonds to the yolks and sugar, stir in the powdered biscuits, and beat lightly until well mixed.

Turn into a well-buttered cake tin, and bake gently from 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours.

Honeycomb Cream Dessert

An easy-to-make traditional South African dessert recipe from the West Cape.

Ingredients: 1 quart of milk, 1 ounce of castor sugar, 1/2 ounce of gelatine, 3 eggs, vanilla to taste.


Dissolve the gelatine in a little hot water. Beat the yolks of the eggs until light, and whisk the whites to a stiff froth. Boil the milk, stir in the sugar, add the yolks of eggs and dissolved gelatine, and boil up.

Stir in the whites of eggs as lightly as possible, add vanilla to taste, and turn into a mold previously rinsed with cold water.

Turn out when firm, and serve with boiled custard or compote of fruit.

About the Traditional South African Dessert Recipes

South African Cape Dutch Gooseberry JamSo Good Tasting

South Africa's West Cape Dutch influence is very strong in the cakes, custards, and fruit preserves. Particularly, try the recipe for Old Dutch almond cake. Also, the Cape Dutch preserve recipes are easy to make and the results are so delicious.

You'll especially love the fresh sweetness of the fruit flavors. The honeycomb cream dessert is absolutely delicious when served with a fruit compote or a simple homemade custard. Give these traditional Cape Dutch recipes a try. You'll love them!

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