Traditional South Africa Malva pudding

One dessert that follows me wherever I go, similar to how I get haunted by red velvet cake, is this one here. Cape Dutch in origin and one of the few Afrikaner foods that wasn’t taken from Cape Malay slaves. Malva pudding is a classic and is totally fused to the South African psyche like no other dessert. Every second restaurant in South Africa serves it and you can find it in most South African supermarkets.


No one quite knows where the name comes from but there are very opinionated views on who came up with it first. I’ve also had the odd Afrikaans speaker correct my pronunciation of the name. I say it the way it’s spelt…it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is an awesome recipe.

So what is Malva pudding? Essentially a vanilla and apricot sponge that has been soaked lovingly and unhealthily in a butter and cream sauce. Similar to sticky toffee pudding but less dense. Enjoy it with vanilla anglaise (custard) or vanilla ice cream. Although purists will tell you it must be eaten warm, cold Malva pudding is still good too.

For the pudding:
Butter – 30ml
Sugar – 125ml
Egg – 1 large
Apricot Jam – 15ml
Bicarb of soda – 5ml
Milk – 125ml
Cake flour – 250ml/ 1cup
Salt – pinch
Vinegar – 15ml

For the soaking sauce:
Butter – 125g
Sugar – 185ml
Water – 65ml
Cream – 185ml
Vanilla extract – 5ml

– Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy and light by beating it with a paddle in a mixer or with a wooden spoon. Add the jam and beat
– Beat in the egg
– Dissolve the bicarb of soda in the milk
– Sift the flour and salt together and then add it to the butter/jam mixture
– Add the milk and finally the vinegar.
– Pour into individual moulds or into a deep greased oven dish.
– Bake at 190°C for about 45mins or until the Malva is golden brown like in the pic above.

To make the sauce melt all the ingredients together in a pot on the stove and immediately pour it over the Malva pudding as soon as it comes out the oven.

12 thoughts on “Traditional South Africa Malva pudding

  1. Loved the malva pudding….did it nd woooooooooooooow…..clap hands loved it…love..wil continue to try ur recipes. ..m soooo happy

    1. The quantities are correct. It’s 30ml of butter. If you add too much butter to the sponge it won’t absorb the butter sauce you add after baking.

  2. Hi,
    How many does this pudding serve and how big does the dish have to be that the mixture gets poured into?

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