Malva pudding, a South African Marvel

The first dessert I ever tasted upon landing in Cape Town was Malva Pudding. I will never forget how lovely the spongey warm cake tasted topped with a homemade (not store bought or package-made) creme Anglaise. Simon’s at Groote Constantia had me hooked but it has taken a number of recipes and a few tweeks here and there to finally achieve perfection. I do not remember who or where this recipe comes from (sorry I cannot give any credits) but Ruth, my right-hand woman in the kitchen, and I have now got it right.




Malva delight

Whenerver we have overseas guests for dinner, I automatically serve them this Afrikaan’s kitchen pudding/cake to rave reviews. Sadly, I would love to say that it takes hours of hard work yet, this could be considered one of the easiest desserts ever.

While floating down the Nile river to celebrate a friend’s 50th, I decided to create an African dinner, including my Malva pudding. It was hysterical working in a gulet’s kitchen with the head chef puffing on a cigarette, the sous chef trying to dig up ingredients and me trying to explain that I need baking soda for the cake to be a success. Bottom line is that the Malva was not quite right since the baking soda and vinegar reaction did not occur but after having copious amounts of wine and food, nobody could actually tell the difference.

Malva base

If you have apricot jam in your cupboard and baking soda(bicarbonate of soda to some) then you are set to create a memorable finale to any meal.

Here are a few tricks to be sure that your Malva is a success:

1. Make sure that the ingredients are well blended.




2. Be sure to have the key ingredient, baking soda and WHITE vinegar.


Vinegar is the secret


3. Once the Malva is baked, be liberal with the hole poking. It is important that the sauce seeps into all corners of the cake.


making it permeable


4. Even if you think you have too much sauce, trust the recipe and keep pouring until it is all used up.


Creating the finished malva


4. This dessert can be made a day or two ahead of time and warmed up before serving it. Be sure to share and enjoy with some custard or ice cream.


Malva for two


Malva pudding, a South African Marvel
Author: MaryR
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8
This is by far the best of all the South African desserts and so easy to make

1 cup light brown sugar

3 teaspoons apricot jam

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 egg

1 cup flour

4 teaspoons butter

1 cup milk


3/4 cup cream

3 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon vanilla

  1. Melt butter and jam, leave to cool down
  2. Beat egg and sugar together
  3. Add vinegar to egg mixture
  4. Add butter and jam to egg mixture
  5. Stir in dry ingredients
  6. Stir in milk at end
  7. Pour into a buttered square or oval oven proof pan.
  8. Cook for 45 mins at 180C
  9. Once cooked, remove from oven.[br][b]Sauce[/b]
  10. Heat sauce ingredients together.
  11. While cake is still hot, make pinpoint holes over the top of the cake and pour over the sauce, allowing it to sink into the cake.
  12. This can be done ahead and the cake can be reheated.
  13. Serve with creme Anglaise or ice cream



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  • Reply
    March 30, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Hi there!

    I just want to thank you for this Malva Pudding recipe. I am thinking of adding it to my collection. I just did a Blog post “How to make Malva pudding STEP by STEP” where I share some Malva Pudding recipes. Let me know what you think!

    Best Regards,
    Errol Muller

    • Reply
      October 26, 2017 at 10:25 am

      Will check out your post. Thank you

  • Reply
    February 5, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    What are the milk quantities

    • Reply
      October 26, 2017 at 10:24 am

      It is 1 cup of milk.

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