Home Desserts 20 Traditional African Desserts

20 Traditional African Desserts

These traditional African desserts are so incredible, you may not want to share them with anyone. 

Although, one of my favorite African proverbs says, “An onion shared with a friend tastes like roast lamb.” 

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The idea behind it is that everything tastes better when you share it with someone else.

Glazed Golden Donuts or Koeksisters

On this list, you’ll see cakes, puddings, tarts, cookies, and more. Common ingredients include cinnamon, nuts, raisins, bananas, honey, and coconut.

So sit back, dive in, and kufurahia! That’s Swahili for ‘enjoy!’ 

1. Malva Pudding

This wonderfully sweet cake is similar in texture and consistency to a tres leches cake.

It’s soft and moist thanks to the yummy homemade syrup that you pour over it while it’s still warm.

It also has a delightful mixture of flavors from the apricot jam, sweet syrup, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. 

The apricot jam and apple cider vinegar add a bit of tartness, while the brown sugar and the syrup give it a hint of an almost caramel-like flavor. 

2. Chocolate Malva Pudding

This warm, incredible cake is similar to the malva pudding recipe mentioned above. It even includes apricot jam, vinegar, and brown sugar.

The difference is in the sauce.

Whereas traditional malva pudding uses a syrupy sauce, chocolate malva pudding features a decadent chocolate sauce you’ll want to lick straight out of the bowl.

I like to serve mine with a dollop of whipped cream and sliced strawberries on top.

I think strawberries and chocolate should always go together on everything!

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3. Moroccan Shortbread Cookies

These shortbread cookies are probably a little rounder than what you’re used to eating.

They’re also crunchy, crumbly, and full of cracks, which is why they’re called “silly cookies.” 

The dough is made from sesame seeds and almonds, which is why the cookies are so crumbly.

They’re a bit messy, but their sweet, slightly nutty flavor makes up for that.

4. Melt-in-Mouth Butter Cookies (Egyptian Ghorayebah)

All you’ll need to make these soft, indulgent cookies is powdered sugar, flour, ghee (unsalted butter won’t work), and a tiny dash of baking powder.

You can also add slivered almonds if you’d like.

With these few ingredients, you can make 35 bite-sized morsels of heaven in less than 30 minutes. 

They’re so soft that they literally melt in your mouth, and you can shape them in all kinds of adorable ways to make them extra fun.

5. West African Lime Cake

If you enjoy your cake extremely tart and tangy, this is one recipe you have to try, and you probably already have all the ingredients in your kitchen!

The lime juice comes through strongly in this one.

If you add the chopped peanuts on top, it adds a bit of salt that gives the whole cake a margarita-like flavor that’s sweet, tart, and salty. 

6. Crunchies (South African Oatmeal Bars)

These are granola bars for people who don’t like granola bars. 

They’re also granola bars for people who do like granola bars and for people who are on the fence about the whole issue.

In short, these granola bars are for everyone

Their taste is unbelievable. They somehow manage to incorporate almost every possible flavor into them – salty, sweet, spicy, crunchy, buttery, nutty, and syrupy!

They truly have something for everyone.

Despite all that, they’re easy to make, taking only 10 minutes to prep and 30 minutes to bake. 

7. Koeksisters

Koeksisters take about 2-and-a half-hours to make. Much of that time, though, is idle time for refrigerating, resting, and cooling.

Because I love any food that’s pretty, I adore these. They’re gorgeous.

They’re perfectly braided, golden doughnuts covered in a shimmering, shiny glaze.

They’re so pretty that they don’t even look real. They’re also a warm, sticky mess, but that’s okay. 

All the tastiest foods are a little messy.

8. Umm Ali (Egyptian Bread Pudding)

This Egyptian dessert is similar to bread pudding, only with a few extra goodies thrown in for a more enjoyable taste.

It includes coconut flakes, raisins, cinnamon, walnuts, pistachios, and more. 

Best of all, it takes less than an hour to make, and 30 minutes of that is bake time. 

9. South African Peppermint Crisp Fridge Tart

I love cooking, but sometimes I just want something sweet and yummy without having to stand over a stove for half an hour to make it.

Those are the days when no-cook recipes come in handy. 

This one is one of my favorites because it’s both lovely and tasty and because all it requires me to do is mix and arrange things.

It’s basically layers of cookies, whipped cream, caramelized condensed milk, sugar, peppermint essence, and peppermint crisp chocolate bars. 

It’s a cool, minty, delicious treat. 

10. Chebakia (Moroccan Sesame Cookies)

It may take you a couple of tries to get these rose-shaped cookies shaped precisely right.

The great part about that is that you’ll get to eat all the mistakes yourself! (Rose-shaped or not, these taste amazing, after all!)

Other than shaping them, they’re pretty easy to make. The final product is a plate of gorgeous, crispy, syrupy-sweet cookies that’ll brighten up any special occasion. 

11. Meskouta (Moroccan Yogurt Cake)

Meskouta is Morocco’s answer to the American bundt cake.

To make it, you’ll need unsweetened yogurt, eggs, sugar, flour, vegetable oil, baking powder, vanilla, and salt. 

You’ll mix everything together, adding in the ingredients in stages. Then, you’ll bake it for about 45 minutes, and you’re all done.

It’s a very straightforward and simple cake to make. You will need a bundt or tube pan, though. 

12. Banana Glace

If you’re a fan of bananas, this is an excellent dessert for you. You’ll mash, blend, and freeze bananas. 

Then, you’ll cut eight more bananas in half, lay them out on a plate, and cover them in the mashed and frozen banana paste.

Finally, you can add the toppings listed on the recipe or add your favorite toppings – candied fruits, various nuts, whipped cream, etc. 

You can even throw on chocolate sprinkles if that’s your thing.

13. Akwadu

This recipe is for another yummy, banana-heavy dish. You would typically serve it for breakfast. However,  it’s sweet enough to eat for dessert. 

It’s baked bananas covered in honey, butter, fruit juices, cinnamon, brown sugar, and coconut. All in all, it’s one of the best ways to eat bananas. 

14. Makroud el louse (Almond Cookies)

These unique-looking cookies require very basic ingredients – sugar, water, eggs, almonds, and confectioner’s sugar. 

The only non-standard ingredient is the orange flower water. If you can’t find any, you can substitute lemon essence instead. 

The cookies are crunchy and taste a bit like a tangier version of Italian wedding cookies. 

15. Sonhos De Banana

Sonhos de bananas are deep-fried doughnuts with mashed bananas in the dough. 

All you’ll have to do is deep-fry them and dust them with a cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Furthermore, it’ll only take you about 20 minutes to make them.

16. Baseema

Baseema is Sudanese for “delicious,” and that pretty much tells you what you need to know about it. 

It’s a traditional dessert from the Sudan region. It’s made from yogurt, flour, coconut, sugar, and other essential baking ingredients. 

After you bake the cake, you’ll cover it in a glaze made of lemon juice, water, and granulated sugar.

17. Basbousa

This Egyptian cake is sweet, soft, and topped with a honey- and lemon juice-based syrup and your favorite nuts. 

Because it’s made with lots of sugar, honey, coconut, vanilla extract, and yogurt, it’s intensely sweet. 

Therefore, you should serve it with something to help offset the sweetness a little, such as unsweetened tea or coffee.

18. Hertzoggies

These taste like sweet biscuits that have been filled with apricot jam and topped with homemade coconut meringue.

They’re super addictive – flaky on the bottom, fluffy on top, with sweet, fruity middles.

Best of all, you should have most of what you need to make them in your kitchen already. 

19. Kunafa

Soaked in sugar and filled with thick, sweet cream, kunafa is a particular favorite during Ramadan.  

After it’s done, you’ll drizzle it in sugar syrup and cover it with pistachios for an extra crunch. It looks a little odd, but it tastes incredible.

20. Shuku Shuku (Coconut Balls)

All you’ll need to make these light, tasty Nigerian macaroons are four ingredients: unsweetened coconut flakes, self-rising flour, egg yolks, and superfine sugar or caster sugar. 

The instructions are just as easy to follow. Start by preheating your oven and mixing the coconut, egg yolks, and sugar until you have a nice, thick dough. 

Roll them into balls and cover the balls in flour. Bake them for about 20 minutes, and they should be good to go. 

The whole process takes a little over half an hour.

20 Traditional African Desserts

Directions

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African Desserts

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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