Cakes

South African Malva Pudding

4.82 from 32 votes
This Malva Pudding recipe is a sweet and moist cake recipe straight from South Africa made with incredible apricot jam and heavy cream.
Malva Pudding, or cake, portioned out into two bowls.

Hi Bold Bakers!

Malva Pudding Cake is super popular in South Africa, and thankfully this delicious treat has become more well known around the world in recent years! (If it sounds familiar, you may remember that it was served for Christmas dessert in 2006 by Oprah’s personal chef to students at Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls!) So, what a perfect way to kick of 2021’s year-long campaign of bringing you recipes from around the world? I’m calling it Bold Baking Worldwide!

This isn’t like your “American” puddings, which is similar to custard; malva pudding is more like an English pudding. If you ever had a tres leches cake, it is a lot like that! It is a sweet, soft cake that is flavored with apricot jam and has lovely caramel notes. The pudding gets soaked in a beautiful bath of creamy syrup while it is still warm, ensuring that the cake is super moist and super flavorful. 

It is such a fluffy, moist cake that some people say its name, “malva,” comes from the Afrikaans word for “marshmallow!” I really hope you try this one; it’s the ultimate comfort food for a cold, wintery day! 

Malva baked to perfection, still in its baking dish.

What Is Malva Pudding?

Malva pudding, as I mentioned above, is a hugely popular dessert from South Africa that is somewhat similar to a tres leches cake. 

It all starts with a wonderful spongy cake, flavored with apricot jam, that bakes until the exterior becomes somewhat caramelized. Then, after poking holes throughout the sponge, a mixture of heavy cream, milk, butter, sugar, and salt, is poured over the pudding. The textures of the caramelized exterior, spongy center, and delicious creamy liquid are out of this world!

I don’t know if it’s possible to make a cake that is richer or moister!

What You Need To Make Malva Pudding

Two bowls of Malva Pudding, served with vanilla ice cream on top.

How Do You Make South African Malva Pudding

You won’t believe how flavorful and comforting this pudding is, especially because it is a cinch to make! Here is how you make malva pudding (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):

  1. Preheat your own to 350°F (180°C) and butter an 8-inch (20cm) square baking dish.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, brown sugar, eggs, apricot jam, melted butter, and vinegar until they are thoroughly combined.
  3. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and then combine the dry with the wet ingredients until thoroughly combined. 
  4. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking pan and bake for about 30-40 minutes until you can insert a knife and it comes out clean.
  5. While the pudding is nearly finished baking, make your sauce. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Heat until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved.
  6. Once the pudding is finished, poke holes all over the hot pudding with a skewer and then pour the warm sauce over the pudding. Let the pudding rest for at least 30 minutes before serving warm.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Malva Pudding

  • You want to be sure to pour the sauce over the pudding while it is still hot, so it absorbs all that delicious liquid properly!
  • You can bake this pudding in 10 individual small ramekins to make a pretty presentation while serving. If you choose to use ramekins, they need less time to bake. Start checking for doneness after about 20 minutes.
  • For an adult version, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of dark rum to the sauce before pouring it over the pudding.
  • Try a fruity version of malva pudding by folding 2 chopped poached pears into the batter before baking.
  • Make homemade vanilla ice cream to serve with this pudding!
  • No brown sugar? Make your own homemade brown sugar! 

How Do I Store South African Malva Pudding?

Leftover malva pudding can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Before serving, reheat it in a 300°F (150°C) oven or the microwave!

A spoonful of Malva Cake, a pudding recipe from South Africa, topped with vanilla ice cream.

Make More Cake & Puddings!

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

South African Malva Pudding Recipe

4.82 from 32 votes
This Malva Pudding recipe is a sweet and moist cake recipe straight from South Africa made with incredible apricot jam and heavy cream.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 8 people
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
This Malva Pudding recipe is a sweet and moist cake recipe straight from South Africa made with incredible apricot jam and heavy cream.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients

Cake

  • ¾ cup (6floz/170ml) whole milk
  • ½ cup (3oz/85g) dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam, strained
  • 2 tablespoons (1oz/57g) butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • cups (7½oz/213g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • a pinch of salt

Sauce

  • ½ cup (4floz/115ml) heavy cream
  • ½ cup (4floz/115ml) whole milk
  • ½ cup (4oz/115g) butter
  • ½ cup (4oz/115g) sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and butter an 8-inch (20cm) square baking dish.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the milk, brown sugar, eggs, apricot jam, melted butter, and vinegar until fully combined.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and then combine with the wet ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Just before the pudding is done, make the sauce: in a saucepan over medium heat combine the cream, milk, butter, sugar, and salt and heat until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved.
  • Once the pudding is done, poke holes all over the hot pudding with a skewer and then pour the warm sauce over the pudding. Allow resting for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Store leftover pudding in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat before serving, either in a 300°F (150°C) oven or in the microwave.

Submit your own photos of this recipe

3 Images

Amanda Carroll Barnes

Nitya M

ShamimaS

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Tronel Candiotes-Strydom
Tronel Candiotes-Strydom
7 months ago

Hi Gemma, as a South African we love Malva Poeding.

From your videos I know you love recipes that have flexibility. This one also has variants, the milk can be substituted with Orange Juice or my preference Desert wine (Sherry).

The Apple Cider Vinegar can also be replaced with White Vinegar.

Thanks for making a South African favorite a world favorite.

7 months ago

I made this tonight and it was a hit. Not a strong apricot flavor, so if that’s not your thing, still give it a try. It was great and easy on cold winter night.

An added plus – My 14 year old som didn’t believe it would soak up all the liquid and not be mushy. It’s always fun to impress a teenager 🙂

Annet Schoombie
Annet Schoombie
7 months ago

HI Gemma

Thank you for this. Yes! This is a typical favourite amongst us here in South Africa. The pudding was originally called “Telefoon Poeding”. Telefoon meaning Telephone in Afrikaans as woman would often phone one another to get the recipe from each other. I got my recipe from my great grandmother. There are so many variance which are all great and the pudding is a good keeper in the freezer to warm up when needed and it is a great comfort food.

Cindy-Lee
Cindy-Lee
7 months ago

Hi Gemma

Had the biggest smile when I saw you made our beloved Malva Pudding. It is definitely one of the biggest puds over here. If you can, next time get your hands on Amarula cream and add that to your recipe. You will absolutely love it. Thanks for all the awesome recipes. I am a huge fan. All the way from Cape Town, South Africa 😊

7 months ago

Hi gemma this recipe looks delicious I was wondering if we could use any other flavoured jams or other flavourings ..maybe strawberry jam or lemon curd ..or even chocolate chips instead of the apricot jam?

ShamimaS
5 months ago

Hi Gemma!

Thanks for sharing the lovely recipe, I have never tried it before,it is very tasty. Have shared a pic also.

Love
Shamima

PM
PM
7 months ago

Hi Gemma,

I have a few questions:
1. Is it okay to use store bought Apricot spread or preserves here?
2. Will white rice vinegar work here?
3. Can I use a glass baking dish for baking?

This looks wonderful, I haven’t tried anything like this. Can’t wait!

Thanks 😊

Nitya M
7 months ago

First tasted Malva pudding when friends got it back from South Africa and really wanted to try making it once. Available recipes always asked for too much butter. When I saw Chef Gemma put up a recipe, I just absolutely HAD to try it and I’m so happy with it! Super delicious and exactly like the one we tasted! Thanks Chef Gemma!

nodweber
7 months ago

I saw this recipe and knew I would love it! Easy to make and delicious. The ingredients are pretty forgiving too. I didn’t have cream – just used whole milk – and maybe only used just under a 1/3 cup of butter for the sauce. I absolutely love this kind of sauce-soaked cake.

Eunice Ellis
Eunice Ellis
7 months ago

Hi Gemma, super excited to see this recipe and all the South African fans adding comments. We are pationate bakers. I can add that you can also serve this puding with vanila custard. This is a classic🤗

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!