South African Malva Pudding

November 11, 2016
7 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 8 to 10
Author Notes

This recipe is from The Jubilee Happy Cooker, published in 1987 by the Union of Jewish Women in Durban, South Africa. It came to me by way of my friend Stephen and his mother, Lesley.

The original recipes calls for a sauce made with 1 cup cream, 180 grams butter, 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup hot water. I've reduced the amount of sauce by 25%, as I found my pudding couldn't absorb the full quantity. You might want to pour the sauce over the pudding in stages, reserving some in case your pudding absorbs it all (and so that you don't flood it with more than it can take in right off the bat). —Sarah Jampel

What You'll Need
  • For the cake:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (I used apple cider)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt (generous)
  • For the sauce:
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 135 grams (about 9 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 112 grams (about 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) sugar
  • 3/8 cup (6 tablespoons) water
  • 1 pinch salt (generous)
  1. For the cake:
  2. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish and heat the oven to 350° F (180° C). In the bowl of a stand mixer or working with electric beaters, beat the egg with the sugar very well, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is pale in color and greater in volume, 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed. Add the jam and mix to combine.
  3. Melt the butter and add the vinegar. Mix it with the milk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. With the mixer running on low, add the milk mixture and the flour mixture, alternating, in 5 parts (starting and ending with the milk).
  5. Transfer the batter to the baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes, or until the pudding is nicely browned and set. When the pudding is almost done, make the sauce.
  1. For the sauce:
  2. In a small saucepan, melt all of the ingredients together.
  3. Pour over the pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven and wait for the liquid to absorb. Serve warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • aharper05
  • Bayo
  • Paula Costa
    Paula Costa
  • Martin
  • Barbara Chapman
    Barbara Chapman

17 Reviews

aharper05 September 7, 2020
This is a fantastic recipe. Made it for my boyfriend who is from SA. He was so excited and said it “tastes like home.” He almost ate the entire thing.
I found that the milk needed warmed before mixing with butter.
I also added a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the sauce. Turned out amazing and is now one of my favorite desserts that I plan to bring to every holiday gathering.
Sowmini S. August 10, 2020
Absolutely love it! Made this for the first time 4 years back for a Christmas dinner. It was a hit! And ever since it has been my party favorite and I always end up give few of them the recipe cause it’s so good. It’s also very easy to prepare.
Sowmini S. August 10, 2020
Absolutely love it! Made this for the first time 4 years back for a Christmas dinner. It was a hit! And ever since it has been my party favorite and I always end up give few of them the recipe cause it’s so good. It’s also very easy to prepare
Bayo April 21, 2020
I didn't have apricot jam and, seeing as we're in the middle of a pandemic, had no motivation to go out looking. Instead, I subbed with fig preserves. At first I was a bit put off by the mushy texture, but you quickly put that out of mind. The flavor is fantastic. Actually, I liked it better reheated after a couple of nights in the refrigerator.
NB April 7, 2020
Thank you for a great recipe. The cake is so easy to make and it quickly became a favorite among my family members. I usually double the amount of apricot jam for the flavor to be more noticeable. The cake itself reminds me about a movie Out of Africa.
radhaks December 28, 2017
I'm intrigued by this recipe and want to make it but questioning the single tbsp of apricot jam in here and no other flavorings (ex vanilla)...surely such a mild flavored jam in such a small quantity vs a large pudding won't be noticeable...or is it? is this supposed to be just sugary/sticky and buttery (which is also fine...!)?
Paula C. October 9, 2017
I made this recipe after discovering Malva Pudding at Sqrl in LA. The recipe sure did deliver and was a crowd-pleaser! Overall, pretty straight-forward to make, and I cried out with joy once I saw how easy the sauce was. I baked the pudding in a cupcake tin in order to have 12 single-serve portions (only took 20 minutes before the toothpick came out clean), and served them on a large plate with the sauce soaked in. Thank you for the great recipe!
Martin August 3, 2017
I don't taste the apricot jam! I was looking forward to it!
Barbara C. December 11, 2016
Wondering why this is not baked in water bath like other puddings/pudding cake recipes are?
Sarah J. December 11, 2016
I'm not 100% sure why it doesn't require a water bath, but it's more like a cake than a pudding, surely—so it's not quite as sensitive to the temperatures of the oven and doesn't have to be backed as gently (and you don't have to worry about it setting or not settling, curdling or not curdling, etc.) It's pretty accommodating!
Abhishek G. December 6, 2016
Hey Sarah..I made this recipe with some slight modifications as I dont have access to some ingredients (Apricot Jam, Heavy Cream). I used preserved apricots which I soaked in some warm milk and blended the whole thing. I also used a mix of milk, water and condensed sweetened milk with a bit of mace for the sauce. The cake/pudding came out a bit dense but with addition of the sauce it fluffed up...very very soft yet with some body. Reminded me of an Indian sweet (Shahi Tukda) that we get here. Will make again.
Sarah J. December 6, 2016
Glad to hear it!
Arrxx December 2, 2016
Can you make any of this ahead of time?
Sarah J. December 2, 2016
You can make the whole shebang ahead of time. I ate this for about 4 nights, straight from the fridge. But it's really sensational warm—and very quick to put together—, so I recommend trying it that way, too.
Arrxx December 2, 2016
Thanks for the feedback. I want to make it for a SA expat friend and will serve with some others things that need the oven. I just didn't want to fuss a the last minute. Maybe I'll try making it before the guest arrive and pop it in a warm oven just before dessert.
Sarah J. December 2, 2016
That's a great idea—you could also keep some extra of the sauce on the side and warm it up right before serving!
Arrxx December 2, 2016
I might just have to do a test run ;-)