I never knew malva pudding as a child, believe it or not. My Mom just never made it. And somehow I never had it at anyone else’s house. I think that is just crazy, considering that malva pudding is one of South Africa’s best-loved traditional baked desserts. If I remember correctly, the first time I had malva pudding was in my early twenties while working at a music festival at this place called Rock Art Café in Oudtshoorn (unfortunately it has closed down a few years ago). I saw it on the menu, ordered it, and expected something like a marshmallow pie (in Afrikaans marshmallows are called “malva lekkers”). To my surprise I received a medium-sized individually baked dessert, looking like a saucy cake of some sort. It smelled like heaven, and had a little pot of warm custard on the side. As you can image, I became an instant fan after one bite. I ordered it everyday for the rest of the week.
Since then, I’ve made malva pudding at home many times. My favourite recipe is adapted from “Huisgenoot Top 500 Wenresepte” – it is a really saucy, moist, spongy, rich, buttery, caramel pudding. I sometimes double or even triple the mixture for bigger parties, and it is always a winner. Serve it with a scoop of ice cream and custard, or even just a dollop of freshly whipped cream. You’ll be going back for seconds before you know it.
Ingredients for batter:
- 20 ml (2 teaspoons) butter
- 250 ml (1 cup) caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 heaped tablespoon smooth apricot jam
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) baking soda
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) brown vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 250 ml (1 cup) cake flour, sifted
- pinch of salt
Ingredients for sauce:
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) cream
- 125 ml (1/2 cup )milk
- 180 ml (3/4 cup) sugar or light brown sugar
- 125 g butter
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) boiling water
- 5 ml vanilla essence
- Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a deep medium-sized ovenproof dish.
- With electric beaters, cream butter with caster sugar. Add eggs one by one, and mix well after after each addition.
- Add apricot jam and mix well.
- Stir baking soda into the milk, then add the vinegar to the milk. Now add the milk/baking soda/vinegar mixture alternately with the sifted flour and salt to the butter/sugar mixture, mixing well between each addition.
- Pour batter into greased baking dish, and bake for around 45 minutes in the pre-heated oven or untill an inserted skewer comes out clean. The pudding becomes dark on top very easily, so keep an eye on it while baking, and cover it with a lid or foil for the last 15 minutes, if necessary.
- While the pudding is baking, mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepan on the stovetop. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat at once. Cover with a lid to keep warm.
- When pudding is done, remove from oven, then pour over the sauce. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream, custard, whipped cream, or all of the above.
Note: This pudding just becomes better over time. It will be fantastic the next day, and even better the day after that. That is why I always bake a double mixture to make sure I have left-overs.