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South African Malva Pudding Recipe

South African Malva Pudding Recipe

Malva Pudding is a cream soaked, cake dessert from South Africa. After baking, the hot apricot flavored cake is soaked in a buttery sweet cream making it very moist and giving it a thick pudding-like texture.

Rather unusually for a cake, vinegar is an ingredient in the cake batter. This isn’t for flavor and once baked the vinegar cannot be tasted. The vinegar is added as a rising agent since the only other rising agent in a small amount of baking soda. The vinegar and baking soda interact, giving the cake a light and fluffy texture.

Malva pudding is an exquisite dessert which uses simple ingredients and needs no equipment, just a wooden spoon will do. The pudding is often served with cream, custard, ice cream or whipped cream.

Origin and Significance

How the name Malva came to be is unclear. Malva refers to both geranium and marshmallow in Afrikaans. Maggie Pepler is widely credited for introducing Malva pudding into South African restaurants which later became popular amongst households, making it the famous dessert it is today. Ms.Pepler did not invent the recipe; it was passed down from her mother which she later refined. It is the basis for Malva pudding recipes today.

Malva pudding was once known as and in some parts of South Africa is still called Telefoonpoeding. Its name came from when recipes were swapped over the telephone, but the dessert didn’t have a proper name, hence, telephone pudding.

South African Malva Pudding Recipe

South African Malva Pudding Recipe

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour


For the sponge:

  • Flour - 1 cup
  • Baking Soda - 1 Tbsp
  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Whole egg - 1
  • Apricot jam – 1 Tbsp
  • Vinegar – 1 Tbsp
  • Butter, melted – 1 Tbsp
  • Milk – 1 cup

For the sauce:

  • Cream – ½ cup
  • Milk - ½ cup
  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Hot water – ½ cup
  • Butter – ½ cup


  1. Set oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease an ovenproof glass with butter. Do not use aluminum, enamel or any metal container.
  3. Cut a piece of aluminum foil to cover the pudding while it bakes. Grease one side of the foil with butter.
  4. Sift the flour and baking soda together into a bowl then stir in the sugar.
  5. In another bowl beat the egg well and add the remaining cake ingredients one by one, beating well between each addition.
  6. Using a wooden spoon beat the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, cover with the foil, greased side down and bake for 45 minutes until well risen and brown and for a further five minutes without the foil if not sufficiently brown. If not sufficiently baked the dessert will not take up all the sauce making it stodgy inside.
  8. When the pudding is nearly done, heat the ingredients for the sauce, ensuring that you melt all the sugar and butter.
  9. Remove the pudding from the oven, take off the foil and pour over the sauce. The pudding will take up all the sauce.
  10. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature, though warm is best.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 602Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 814mgCarbohydrates: 88gFiber: 1gSugar: 72gProtein: 6g

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