Marvellously moist malva pudding (photography by Tasha Seccombe)
Marvellously moist malva pudding (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

This is my third post about malva pudding in the past 3 years – just shows how much I love this classic South African dessert! I first posted about it in  August 2011, then again in March 2012 – the second one a malva pudding with a twist.

The recipe that I’ve followed since 2011 is originally by Helmine Myburgh from her book “So eet ons aan die Kaap” (1990) – an old-school illustrated Afrikaans cookbook. Helmine’s recipe was then included in  Huisgenoot’s Top 500 Wenresepte (2006), and I was completely hooked. Her pudding was the most velvety version that I had come across, and I loved the smooth fine texture.

Then I discovered Michael Olivier’s post about Maggie Pepler’s malva pudding recipe from the late 1970’s. Michael worked with Maggie at Boschendal’s restaurant, and asked her to teach them how to make this pudding from her original recipe. I’ve made Maggie’s recipes also a few times, and I have to say that it just remains a show stopping dessert every time.

A few weeks ago, I served Maggie’s malva pudding to my #Stellenblog colleagues and guests as part of a local food demonstration, and everyone raved about the lightness of the texture. It’s like a sea sponge, so delightful, with creamy caramel flavours.

I’ve decided to post both recipes – both are classic, and quite similar in ingredients. Just a note on the batter: it’s quite thick and sticky, and spreads out thinly in your baking dish. Don’t worry, it rises quite a bit, and with the added soaked-up sauce it becomes even higher. The biggest difference? Helmine’s malva pudding has a slightly finer, smooth cake texture, while Maggie’s pudding has a unique spongy texture. Both taste absolutely heavenly – check the quantities of cream, eggs and sugar in both, and see which one tickles your fancy!

Helmine Myburgh’s malva pudding: (see photograph)

For the batter:

  • 20 ml butter
  • 250 ml caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 12,5 ml fine apricot jam
  • 5 ml baking soda
  • 125 ml milk
  • 5 ml brown vinegar
  • 250 ml cake flour, sifted
  • a pinch of salt

For the sauce:

  • 250 ml cream
  • 180 ml sugar
  • 125 g butter
  • 125 ml boiling water
  • 5 ml vanilla essence


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a deep medium-sized ovenproof dish.
  2. With electric beaters, cream butter with caster sugar. Add eggs one by one, and mix well after after each addition.
  3. Add apricot jam and mix well.
  4. 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.
  5. Pour batter into greased baking dish, and bake for 45 minutes in the pre-heated oven or until 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 foil for the last 15 minutes, if necessary.
  6. 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. Cover with a lid to keep warm.
  7. When pudding is done, remove from oven, then pour over all of the sauce. Leave to stand for at least 15-30 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream, custard, whipped cream, or all of the above.

Maggie Pepler’s malva pudding: (as published by Michael Olivier)

For the batter:

  • 250 ml flour
  • 15 ml bicarbonate of soda
  • 250 ml sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 15 ml apricot jam
  • 15 ml vinegar
  • 15 ml melted butter
  • 250 ml milk

For the sauce:

  • 125 ml cream
  • 125 ml milk
  • 50 ml sugar
  • 125 ml hot water
  • 125 g butter


  1. Set oven at 180°C. Grease, with butter, an ovenproof glass or porcelain container approximately 23cm x 23cm x 5cm.  Do not use an aluminum, enamel or any metal container.
  2. Cut a piece of aluminum foil to cover it while the pudding is in the oven and grease it well with butter on one side.
  3. Sift the flour and the bicarb into a bowl and stir in the sugar.
  4. In another bowl beat the egg very well and add the remaining ingredients (excluding those for the sauce) one by one, beating well .  Using a wooden spoon beat the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, cover with the foil, greased side down and bake for 45 minutes in the present oven until well risen and brown If not sufficiently baked the dessert will not take up all the sauce making it stodgy inside.
  6. When the pudding is almost done, heat the ingredients for the sauce, ensuring that you melt all the sugar and butter.  When the pudding is done, remove from the oven, take off the foil and pour over the sauce.  The pudding will take up all the sauce.  Serve hot, warm or at room temperature, though warm is best, with a little thin cream or a vanilla custard.


This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe sourcing, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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  1. Isabella Niehaus

    Ek bak gereeld Hermine se malva-poeding vir langtafel etes op die duin hier in Langebaan!! Dit is ‘n alsolute gunsteling en wenner !!! Ek gooi net ‘n bietjie brandewyn by die sous…lOL

    1. Ag fantasties, Isabella, ek gaan dit ook probeer! Dis ‘n uitstekende resep daai.

  2. Good day,

    Thank you for posting these recipes – I have been meaning to try making a malva pudding, and could’t delay any longer once I’ve read your post.

    I absolutely loved the first recipe – perfect the first time, great texture, great proportions.

    The second one turned out to be a bit of a challenge. First, it seemed as too much baking soda. Second, when I had uncovered the foil after 45 minutes, the whole thing was still raw (((( I had to cook for 15 minutes more to get it properly cooked, but, once covered with sauce, it ended up being far too gooey (maybe it’s supposed to be like that, but didn’t quite suit my taste).

    So far, Helmine Myburgh’s malva pudding is the winner, but now I am curious to get the second one right, so if you have any comments or suggestions, they would be much appreciated.


    1. Hi Maria, it’s great to get feedback like yours, thanks for taking the time to write! Helmine’s recipe is also my favourite – the texture is slightly finer than that of Maggie’s. When Maggie’s recipe is baked right, the texture has slightly bigger holes, almost like a sea sponge. I remember, I had to bake Maggie’s recipe once for a shoot, the oven on site was different from mine and I also had to bake it longer than usual. Other times it comes out much too dark on top because of the sugar content. Therefore the foil. But it’s never happened with Helmine’s recipe.

      It’s a question of preference, but I also feel that ovens do differ, and that some ovens might give you a better result with the first one, and others with the second. I’ve tasted both puddings a number of times and they are both excellent! My personal favourite will always be Helmine’s.

      Happy baking!

  3. […] boring. This is my current work in progress version, inspired by the Maggie Pepler recipe found here. The original used twice this amount of sugar, and it was regular white sugar not muscavado. I also […]

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