South African Recipes

Malva Pudding Recipe | South Africa’s Sticky Bread Pudding

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Hello, fellow foodies! Today, we’re exploring a sweet treat that’s taken South Africa by storm – the delectable Malva Pudding. This dish promises a rich, sticky, and utterly delicious experience, so let’s dive in!

malva pudding recipe in south africa

Malva pudding

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine South African
Servings 4


  • Mixing Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Baking dish (If you don't have a baking dish, a large cake tin can be used)
  • Saucepan


  • 200 g Granulated sugar
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 2 tbsp Smooth apricot jam
  • 200 g Self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp Melted butter
  • 2 tbsp Vinegar
  • 200 ml Milk (For the sauce)
  • 200 g Granulated sugar (For the sauce)
  • 250 ml Water (For the sauce)
  • 2 tbsp Butter (For the sauce)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract (For the sauce)
  • 125 ml Double cream (For the sauce)


  • Preheat your oven to 180°C and grease your baking dish.
  • In your mixing bowl, beat the sugar and eggs together until they're light and fluffy. This is an important step to get that wonderful light texture of Malva Pudding.
  • Stir in the apricot jam until it's well incorporated.
  • In another bowl, combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt.
  • Add the melted butter, vinegar, and milk to your egg mixture, stirring well to combine.
  • Gradually add your dry ingredients to the wet, stirring continuously to avoid lumps.
  • Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • While the pudding is baking, prepare the sauce. In a saucepan, combine sugar, water, butter, vanilla extract, and cream. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • When the pudding is done, remove it from the oven and immediately pour over the hot sauce, making sure to cover all areas. The pudding will absorb the sauce as it cools, creating that deliciously moist texture that Malva Pudding is known for.
  • Let the pudding stand for a few minutes to absorb all the sauce before serving. It's traditionally served warm with a dollop of fresh cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
Keyword malva pudding

small malva pudding with sauce

Malva Pudding History

A gift from the Cape Dutch, Malva Pudding, is a favourite across South Africa, from Sunday family dinners to Christmas feasts. Its name, “Malva,” has stirred up debates. Some suggest it comes from “malvalekker,” a type of candy, while others propose a link to Malvasia wine, once used in the recipe. But hold on, Malva can also mean “marshmallow” in Afrikaans, hinting at the dessert’s luscious texture! Despite the name’s uncertain etymology (source: “The Classic South African Cookbook” by Melinda Roodt), one thing’s clear: this sweet pudding has firmly found its place in South African hearts.

Tips & Tricks

Malva Pudding may seem simple, but the devil’s in the details. The key? Beating the sugar and eggs until light and fluffy – this gives your pudding that dreamy texture. And let’s not forget about the sauce. Make sure it’s piping hot when you pour it over the baked pudding; it’ll soak up all the deliciousness. And hey, I remember when I tried to rush my first Malva Pudding. Bad idea, trust me!

Best Occasions to Serve Malva Pudding

Malva Pudding is the ultimate comfort food, and it’s versatile to boot. Picture this: It’s a frosty winter evening, you’re curled up with a book and a warm serving of Malva Pudding. Or perhaps you’re hosting a summer garden party, and you end the meal with a delightful surprise – Malva Pudding paired with cool vanilla ice cream. Yes, please!

Recipes & Sides That Go Well With Malva Pudding

  • Fresh Cream: The traditional way – a dollop of cream contrasts beautifully with the warm pudding.
  • Vanilla Ice Cream: Creamy ice cream makes a delightful companion to this rich dessert.
  • Custard: Pour some warm custard for a truly indulgent treat.
  • Berries: Fresh, tart berries balance the sweetness perfectly.

Ingredient Alternatives for Malva Pudding

  • Replace granulated sugar with coconut sugar for a healthier twist.
  • For a dairy-free version, use almond or oat milk, and substitute the butter with a plant-based one.
  • Use gluten-free flour for a gluten-free Malva Pudding.
  • Instead of apricot jam, try peach or marmalade for a different flavour profile.

Nutritional Facts

For a four-person serving, the nutritional breakdown is:

Calories: 590 kcal
Carbohydrates: 80g
Sugar: 60g
Fat: 25g
Protein: 8g
Fibre: 1g
Malva Pudding is a treat, so it’s a bit high on the sugar side. But remember, it’s not meant to be an everyday dessert – it’s perfect for those special occasions when you want to indulge a little.

Troubleshooting (Common Problems)

  • Dry pudding: If the pudding feels dry, it hasn’t absorbed enough sauce. Make sure to pour hot sauce over while the pudding is still warm.
  • Lumpy batter: Ensure to add the dry ingredients gradually, whisking continuously.
  • Undercooked pudding: If the skewer doesn’t come out clean, give it more time. Each oven varies slightly.

Malva Pudding Alternatives and Similar Recipes

  • Sticky Toffee Pudding: A British classic, similar to Malva but made with dates.
  • Sago Pudding: A creamy South African dessert made with milk and sago.
  • Tiramisu: An Italian favourite – coffee-soaked ladyfingers layered with a whipped mixture of eggs, sugar and mascarpone cheese.
  • Pavlova: A meringue-based dessert with a crisp crust and soft, light inside. Named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.
malva pudding being eaten

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