As South Africans, we love our pap en sous and our spoek en diesel, but that doesn’t mean we’re not a fan of the other side. You know, the sweet side? Yep, we’re for a good old traditional South African dessert, too. This is why so many Saffas hit foreign shores, and a few weeks (or months) later, it hits; the overwhelming craving for skuinskoek aka, diagonal cake (which is skuinskoek in English, to clarify).
Skuinskoek is a delicious South African treat mostly known for its unusual diagonal shape. It’s a traditional South African cake, and if you’re a Saffa with more than one generation in the country, your family probably has a much-loved skuinskoek recipe tucked away in the family recipe book.
Skuinskoek is commonly sold at bazaars, festivals, markets, church events, and of course, grandma’s kitchen (although, hopefully, she doesn’t charge!) You can enjoy it with a cup of your favourite coffee or tea. Or, if we’re entirely honest, they’re even great to tuck into while juggling the chores of a busy day. There’s no “right” time to have a skuinskoek because all the time is the right time!
What’s the Hooha About Skuinskoek?
First of all, skuinskoek has earned its proverbial South African stripes. It’s not just another traditional South African cake. It’s one with a rich history (and a rich taste to match).
What is skuinsoek? Well, in short, they’re a beautiful marriage between the concept of a mosbolletjie and a doughnut. The sweet treat gets its name from its delightful diamond shape and its intense flavour is all thanks to aniseed.
Older recipes, especially the Karoo skuinskoek, may feature using the Khoisan practice of bierwortel (which is beer root) as a rising agent. But that’s not common practice across the country, certainly not anymore. Common store-bought yeast is now the norm.
We have the French Huguenots refugees to thank for the existence of Skuinskoek, who laid roots in Franschhoek in 1688. They are the original creators of mosbolletjies. And you might have guessed it; skuinskoek is made from leftover mosbolletjie dough.
That’s enough history for now! Let’s get to the good part; making your skuinskoek at home.
Skuinskoek Resep – Skuinskoek Recipe
No matter where you are in the world, you can whip up a good skuinskoek recipe with some simple ingredients. Below is our favourite recipe.
What you need
- 2 x 10g dry yeast sachets
- 1kg of cake flour
- 5ml of salt
- 250ml of sugar
- 15ml of aniseed
- 25ml of oil
- 2 x medium-sized eggs
- 500ml of warm water
What to do
- Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
- Whisk the eggs, warm water, and oil together, and then pour the mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients.
- Using a wooden spoon, gently combine all the ingredients until a soft and manageable dough forms. Don’t over-mix the dough.
- Knead the dough well until it appears the aniseed is protruding from the dough.
- Let the dough rest until it rises to at least double its size.
- Once the dough has risen sufficiently, knead it again, and then, using a rolling pin, roll it out so it’s flat. The thickness of the rolled dough should be around 2cm.
- Cut wide strips into the rolled dough and then cut each strip of dough into diamond-shaped pieces.
- Cover the pieces of cut dough again with greased plastic and let it rest.
- The dough should rise to at least twice its size once more before you can cook it.
- In a pot, heat enough oil to fry the skuinskoek diamonds.
- Place the diamonds into the oil and let them sizzle until they’re golden brown on both sides.
- Remove them from the oil and place them on kitchen paper to drain excess oil..
- If your dough seems too stiff while you’re working with it, feel free to add a little more water.
- Diagonal cakes are best enjoyed while they’re still warm and fresh.
- You won’t be judged for serving your skuinskoek with additional treats such as jam and cream, warm gooey caramel dipping sauce, a sprinkle of sugar, or a simple cup of good coffee. Anything goes!
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