Top 10 Kenyan desserts
Desserts are not really that popular in Kenya, or in many African homes. Many people would just eat fruit at the end of a meal, or take some tea or water. However, in many restaurants, you will definitely have the dessert option, so why not see what these options are? Here are the top 10 Kenyan desserts…
Maandazi (Sweet Donut)
Maandazi (or Mandazi), is a light, fluffy and incredibly tasty African bread. It is top on this list because it is one of those sweet bitings that can be found almost anywhere in Kenya. Some people refer to it as the African doughnut.
Mandazis are not only eaten as desserts, but can also be enjoyed for breakfast with tea/ coffee or on their own. They are mostly popular in East Africa especially in the coastal regions that are mainly inhabited by the Swahili community. If you want to make your Mandazi taste even better, make it with coconut milk, and flavour it with cardamom and grated fresh coconut flakes.
Below is the best recipe for “Maandazi” from Abdikali
Step 1: Ingredients
- 2 cups of warm water.
- 2 tsp. baking powder.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour.
- 1/2 cup sugar.
- 2 tsps. Vegetable oil.
- Pinch of salt.
Note: All ingredients should be at room temperature and make sure that you have enough vegetable oil for deep frying
Step 2: Preparation of Dough
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and the sugar.
- Mix the water and the vegetable oil. Gradually add this mixture to the flour while kneading into dough. Use additional water if necessary.
- Knead for about fifteen to twenty minutes until a smooth and elastic dough is formed.
- Let dough rest for several minutes.
- Divide the entire dough into six equal round balls.
- Spread every ball onto a flat surface maintaining a circular shape of the dough.
- Cut the flattened dough into four equal quadrants.
- Repeat steps 6 and 7 until you spread and cut all the round balls.
- Place all of the dough quadrants in a cookie sheet. This will prevent the dough pieces sticking onto each other.
- If you are the type of person who likes to add a little fluffiness to their food or snacks, I’d recommend adding some eggs and milk when making the dough.
- Also, you can use granulated yeast instead of baking powder, but you’ll have to allow more time for the dough to rise before spreading and cutting it.
Step 3: Frying the Dough
- Heat a few cups of vegetable oil to 400F – 500F in a skillet or deep pot.
- Carefully put dough quadrants in the hot oil.
- With Caution, turn the dough a few times until they are golden brown all over.
- Fry only as many together as they can float in the oil without touching one another.
- Once completely fried, take them out and place on a paper towel to drain.
Step 4: Serving the Dish
- Let it cool down and drain most of the oil off of the Mandazi.
- Serve them on a plate with tea in the morning.
When serving, you can serve with some sort of dipping sauce and it happens to work with almost all of the known sauces available.
Coconut Macaroons (“Biskuti ya nazi”)
This is another perfect Kenyan dessert made with a mixture of coconut, macadamia nuts, sugar, eggs, and butter. They are a delightful and sweet bitings, perfect after a hearty meal.
Below is the best recipe for “Biskuti ya nazi” from Coastweek:
Ingredients: (Makes about 35 macaroons)
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 and a half cups desiccated coconut
- 1 cup macadamia nuts or cashew nuts, finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Lightly grease two baking sheets.
- In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer on high, beat egg whites into soft peaks.
- Gradually add the sugar, beating after each addition until peaks are glossy. Fold in the coconut and nuts.
- With wet hands, roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into rounds and set on baking sheets.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly golden.
- Cool on racks and store in an airtight container.
- They will keep for two to three days.
Coconut and Sweet potato pudding
Another favourite dessert in many Kenyan hotels. Although Coconut can be eaten on its own as a snack and Sweet potatoes can be enjoyed with tea/coffee, a combination of the two makes for a great dessert. Sweet potatoes combined with fresh ground coconut and a splash of cinnamon is a sweet and nutty dessert that you should definitely try when in Kenya.
Below is the best recipe for “Coconut and Sweet potato pudding” from Kenya Desserts Recipes:
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 1 cup fresh ground coconut
- 1 ½ cups sweet potatoes , boiled or mashed
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup milk
- ½ cup water
- 4 tbsp melted butter
- ½ tsp mixed spices
- ½ tsp cinnamon
Mix sugar, sweet potatoes and coconut together with a spoon until smooth. Add butter, milk, and water and beat thoroughly. Beat the eggs slightly, then gradually beat them into the mixture. Add the spices and cinnamon. Continue beating until the mixture is creamy and very smooth. Pour the mixture into a greased dish and bake for 30 minutes in a hot oven, until golden brown. You can serve it hot or cold.
Tropical fruit dessert with ice cream
In my opinion, this is the most popular dessert in Kenya, at least as per what people are offered in restaurants, in major functions like wedding ceremonies, and in house parties – fruit with ice cream as dessert.
The fruits will normally be what is in season, as long as it goes well with the ice cream.
Below is the best recipe for “Tropical fruit dessert with ice cream” from Kenya Desserts Recipes:
Ingredients (6 servings)
- 1 large pawpaw, peeled, seeded, and cubed
- 2 large bananas, sliced
- 4 passion fruits
- Juice of 1 lime or ½ lemon
Scoop the passion fruit into a large bowl. Add the pawpaw, and bananas. Toss together gently. Pour the lemon or lime and toss again. Serve into small fruit bowls.
Top up with a scoop or two of ice cream and enjoy!
Fruit with chocolate sauce
As the name suggests, this is a mix of fruits and chocolate sauce. Fruits in season can be mixed and arranged beautifully, and the chocolate sauce can be made by mixing chocolate powder with a small amount of warm water.
Below is the best recipe for “Fruit with chocolate sauce” from Kenya Desserts Recipes:
Ingredients (4 servings)
- ½ pawpaw, cubed
- 3 bananas, sliced
- ½ pineapple, cut into chunks
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup powdered drinking chocolate or chocolate milk powder
- Warm water
- 1 cup vanilla
Mix the fruit together and add the juice. Let it stand for several hours at room temperature, mixing and coating the fruit with the juice occasionally. Make a light chocolate sauce by mixing the chocolate powder with a small amount of warm water. Divide the fruit and juice between 4 glass bowls. Add ¼ cup ice cream to each bowl and top with 1 full tablespoon of the chocolate sauce.
Banana Oat pancakes
These would be in my top 3 desserts of all time, as I enjoy making them at home every chance I get. The probability of ordering for these at a restaurant and having them made for you within no time also makes them a favourite among many Kenyans.
Simply combine readily available ingredients, blend them together, and enjoy healthy pancakes that are absolutely irresistible!
Below is the best recipe for “Fruit with chocolate sauce” from Pika Chakula:
- 2 ripe bananas
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup NuVita Porridge Oats
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- Butter, for cooking
Blend together bananas, eggs, oats, cinnamon powder, baking powder and salt. Pour the mixture in a bowl and let sit for 15 minutes to overnight. Heat a non-stick pan and add 1/2 tsp butter. Once melted, pour 1 scoop of the batter on it. Let cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Serve with sliced fruit and honey or chocolate sauce.
Traditional yoghurt dessert (“pudding ya maziwa lala”)
Try this one yourself and let me know if you like it.
Below is the best recipe for “Traditional yoghurt dessert (“pudding ya maziwa lala”)” from Kenya-Advisor
- 1/2 quart (1/2 litre) thick full cream yoghurt
- 3 1/2 pounds (1 1/5 kilogram) curd cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- sugar to taste
- pinch of saffron
- some almonds and pistachios for decoration
Sieve the yoghurt and curd cheese using a large metal sieve. Stir with a spoon so that yoghurt and cheese becomes fluffy. Add the cardamom, nutmeg and sugar and stir well. Decorate with the saffron, almonds and pistachios.
Naan is an Indian flat bread that is usually a side dish for chicken curry or other curries. Seeing as there are many born and raised Indians in Kenya, it’s no wonder then that this is a must in our top 10 Kenyan desserts. In fact, if you choose to make it yourself, it is actually one of the easiest dishes to make. Naan can also be substituted with Chapati, one of the top traditional Kenyan foods.
Below is the best recipe for “Fruit with chocolate sauce” from Pika Chakula:
- 3 1/2 cups Unga wa Dola all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 cup plain yoghurt
- 1/2 cup milk
In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Add the oil and mix that in. Add the yoghurt and milk a little at a time until it all comes together.
Take the dough out on a clean working surface and knead for 5-8 minutes. Return to the bowl and cover with a wet kitchen towel. Let rest for 30 minutes.
To make the Naan, take a portion of the dough in your palm and roll. Place it on a flat surface and use a rolling pin to roll it out to a thickness of 1/2 cm.
Place it on a hot skillet and flip it once the bubbles form. Cook for 1 minute on each side and take it off the heat.
Spread butter on the Naan and sprinkle coriander leaves before serving.
Another popular dessert especially with the kids and the kids at heart is the Oreo Milkshake. This is a milkshake that is made by combining vanilla ice cream with milk and Oreo cookies. The combination is then blended to a desired consistency and served ice cold.
Below is the best recipe for “Oreo Milkshake” from Nikita Singhal:
- 2 cup milk
- 4 tsp cocoa powder
- 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
- 4 tsp Sugar
- 4-5 pcs chocolate sponge cake
- 4 oreo biscuits
Blend all the ingredients in a jar
Decorate the glass with chocolate sauce
Pour in the milkshake
Freeze it for 15-20mins
Serve chilled topped with Oreo biscuit and a piece of chocolate cake.
Black Forest Cake
This cake is a favourite dessert with many Kenyans, especially because of the way it looks. Also known as German cake, the cake combines layers of rich chocolate cake with whipped cream and cherries or strawberries. Most Kenyans will use strawberries because cherries are a bit hard to find and can be expensive.
Below is the best recipe for “Black Forest Cake” from Emmanuel Shalale:
Ingredients for the layers
5 large eggs, room temp, ½ cup granulated/white sugar, 1 cup all-purpose flour- should be correctly measured, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 Tbsp (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temp and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (1 lb.) Bing pitted strawberries plus 12 whole strawberries for decor, 2 Tbsp. kirsch (a cherry liqueur) and 1/2 cup cold water
Topping and frosting ingredients
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, 1/3 cup Confectioners’ sugar, 1 Tbsp. kirsch (cherry liqueur) and 2 oz. good quality dark chocolate
Whisk together oil, vanilla essence, milk, and eggs in a jug and put aside.
Sieve plain flour, chocolate powder, salt, baking powder and soda bicarbonate. Add sugar to the dry mixture and whisk until combined.
Pour the liquid in the jug into the dry ingredients and whisk until it forms a uniform batter.
Grease a 9-inch pan and cover the bottom with waxed baking paper. Pour the batter into the pan and spread it out evenly using a spatula.
Bake in a preheated oven at 175C for 35 minutes. Let the cake cool down in the pan for 10 minutes then remove on a wire rack and let cool completely.
Boil strawberries, sugar and water for 5 minutes to make the strawberry filling. Let cool completely before using.
Apply some of the strawberry syrup onto the bottom layer of the cake to make it moist.
Pipe an even layer of whipped cream using a piping bag, pipe an even layer of whipped cream. Use an offset spatula to flatten it. Spoon some strawberries onto the cream and press down the top layer of the cake.
Add a few dollops of whipped cream on the cake and using an offset spatula, smoothen it out in back and forth motions. Ice the sides as well. Pop into the freezer to set for 5-10 minutes.
Using the palm of your hand, stick the chocolate shavings onto the sides of the cake. Pipe a few rosettes around the cake and add strawberry halves for garnishing. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate shavings over the middle. The cake is ready to slice and serve
There you go! The top 10 Kenyan desserts according to a local. These are just some of what we can refer to as “desserts” in this part of the world. Like I mentioned at the beginning, desserts are not really that popular with many Kenyans but it doesn’t hurt to try some!