Fat Cakes, Amazing Botswanan Meat Filled Donuts

Fat cakes. The name alone makes we want to cook them. They are meat filled donuts popular in Botswana as well as other African countries.

I have seen versions of this recipe without a filling, which makes it basically a regular donut. These ones are special as they are filled with curried beef. You could customize the filling to your liking too.

The recipe is super simple and easy. A few key steps and you will be in fat cake heaven.

Frying them is the crucial part as the oil temperature must be quite low. The meat inside the fat cakes is raw and it takes around 10 minutes to cook it fully. If your oil is too hot, then the dough will over cook before the filling is ready. You could divide the dough and the filling into more pieces to cut down on cooking time. That way you could make more fat cakes, but smaller ones. But it worked well for me regardless. A big fat cake dipped in some sweet chilli sauce was the perfect snack.

Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.


For the dough

250g (8.8oz) strong white bread flour

25g (0.9oz) sugar

25g (0.9oz) soft butter

5g (0.17oz) salt

3g (0.1oz) instant dry yeast or 3.6g (0.12oz) active dry yeast or 9g (0.31oz) fresh yeast

1 egg, around 50g (1.75oz)

90g (3.2oz) buttermilk, cold *

To learn more about dough temperature control click here.


For the filling –

250g (8.8oz) ground beef

50g (1.75oz) onion, finely diced

10g (0.35oz) garlic, finely diced

5g (0.17oz) salt

1g (0.03oz) black pepper

7g (0.25oz) curry powder

30g (1oz) chopped coriander

15g (0.5oz) oil


Oil for frying the fat cakes


  1. Make the filling. In a pan on medium heat add the oil followed by onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes until it starts to brown and soften. Add the curry powder and the coriander. Keep cooking whilst mixing for another 30 seconds. Leave to cool down completely.
  2. Combine the onion mix with the ground beef. Weigh the meat and divide it into 10 equal pieces. Shape them into round balls. Cover and refrigerate until later.
  3. Make the dough. In a large bowl combine the egg, yeast, salt, sugar, and buttermilk. Mix well to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add the soft butter and flour. Mix to a dough.
  4. Tip the dough out on your table and knead it for around 5 minutes. *Desired dough temperature 25 – 26C (77 – 79F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer. Adjust proofing time accordingly.
  5. Cover and ferment for 2 – 2.5 hours.
  6. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Pre-shape.
  7. Rest for 30 minutes. Take the meatballs out of the fridge during this time so they warm up a little.
  8. Final shape. Flatten the dough ball and place the meatball in the centre of it. Wrap the dough around and seal it well. Pinch the seam together.
  9. Place the fat cakes on a well-floured surface. Cover and ferment for 1 – 1.5 hours.
  10. Fry for 10 minutes at 140C (280F). Flip them every minute.
  11. Drain off on some kitchen paper or on a rack.


Enjoy with a bit of chilli sauce! And check out more Baking World Tour videos while you’re at it!


Keep in mind that the conditions in each kitchen are different, so fermentation times may vary for you. It is up to the baker to control the bread and react accordingly.


Watch the video here

More Posts In This Category