Malva Pudding (Dessert)

Looking for an easy to make, delicious and authentic South African dessert for your dinner party, office pot luck, African themed party, braai time around the pool – or just for yourself and the family to enjoy? Look no further, Malva Pudding (dessert) is a great dish that can fill all those needs!

Malva pudding dessert

Malva pudding is a rich and sweet pudding (dessert) from South Africa with Cape Dutch origins. It’s apricot jam, spongy caramelized texture is very distinct and sinfully delicious. The “cake” once baked is infused with a cream sauce that is poured over it while it is hot and is absorbed into the cake itself. It is often served with custard or ice cream although it can be eaten plain also. It you visit South Africa you will find it on many restaurant menus. It has many variants based on regions in South Africa including the Cape Brandy dessert and Tipsy tart. This stick and sweet dessert is also a great cold weather comfort food.

Unfortunately, when your guest love it, you cannot say that it took hours of hard work as this is one of the quickest and easiest desserts to make. Total prep time is only about 20 minutes! In addition, it can be made a up to a couple of days ahead of time and simply warmed up before serving. It keeps very well in the refrigerator and stays moist for many days, that is if you and the family can resist it!

In case you are visiting South Africa there is even a website to guide you to the best Malva pudding in various cities!

Ingredients for the Malva pudding (cake) base

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon smooth apricot jam
  • 1.25 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Sauce
  • ½ cup heavy cream, whipped

Cooking the Malva pudding “base”

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Beat sugar, egg, butter and jam until even and fluffy.
  • Beat in flour, baking soda, milk, vinegar and vanilla. Important – make sure ingredients are well blended.
  • Pour mixture into a buttered baking dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until it is brown on the outside and it can pull away from the sides of the dish. It should be cooked through – you can test with a knife or fork for dryness (should come out clean).

Ingredients for the Malva pudding sauce

  • 3 ounces unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Making and adding the sauce

  • While the pudding is in the oven, prepare the sauce by combining the butter, sugar, milk and vanilla in a microwavable bowl or in a saucepan.
  • Heat in the microwave or on the stove until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Pour the hot sauce over the pudding little by little. The pudding will soak up the sauce slowly. Keep adding a little sauce at a time until it is finished. It helps if you poke a few holes in the pudding with a knife to ensure more sauce is being absorbed. If your edges of the baking dish are high you can pour more on at a time – otherwise it might take a few pours to absorb, be patient and use all the sauce!

Leave to sit for about 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm with whipped cream, custard or ice cream!

Extra Malva pudding Tips

  • Use dark brown sugar for a sweeter, more caramel tasting Malva.
  • Try experimenting with adding other ingredients like Fruits, Nuts, Honey and Wines. Have fun with it!
  • Try adding or using Amarula Cream or Baileys for the sauce – for an adults only dessert!
  • Try making individual puddings for something a little different.


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