Malva pudding recipe

Malva pudding recipe

Inspired by a recent trip to South Africa, food blogger and photographer Kerstin Rodgers teaches us how to make Malva Pudding – like a steamed sponge, but so, so much better.

Fire up the braai

While travelling in South Africa reporting on Cape fruit farmers, I grew to love Malva Pudding. The unctuousness and comfort of this dessert is almost on an English school pud level; it's stodgy but also light, warm, spongy and sweet, reminiscent of Sticky Toffee Pudding.

During my trip I visited La Plaisante Estate, the house of fruit farmer Nic Dicey and his English wife Natasha. While the others gorged on thick ropey steaks three foot long, slung extravagantly on the ‘braai’ (a South African barbecue), I sweltered in the kitchen, cooking a vegetarian meal. The vegetarian braai was met with some incredulity by the South African farmers. This is a country that is overwhelmingly protein focused, so my vegetables struggled to be accepted at the dinner table.

Perfect for Christmas

malvaNevertheless, I enjoyed cooking with Nic and Natasha’s smiling housekeeper Jeanette, who has cooked for the former since he was a child. Nic’s mother Antoinette taught this Malva Pudding recipe to Jeanette, and it has been a firm family favourite ever since. South Africans often have Malva Pudding as a Christmas treat.

This recipe makes enough for 6-8 people (double the quantities of every ingredient for more), and doesn't require any fancy ingredients... just flour, sugar, butter, eggs, bicarb, milk, a little vanilla, and golden syrup. Oh, and some double cream, sugar and butter for the delicious sauce. 

Make it yourself!

I had several stabs at making my own Malva Pudding, and think this is the best recipe of the bunch. Give it a go yourself! It’s delicious the next day, too. 


  • 250 g self-raising flour
  • 150 g brown or dark sugar
  • 30 g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 10 g bicarb of soda
  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
  • 30 g golden syrup
  • 8.8 oz self-raising flour
  • 5.3 oz brown or dark sugar
  • 1.1 oz butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 0.4 oz bicarb of soda
  • 8.8 fl oz whole milk
  • 0.2 fl oz vanilla essence
  • 1.1 oz golden syrup
  • 8.8 oz self-raising flour
  • 5.3 oz brown or dark sugar
  • 1.1 oz butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 0.4 oz bicarb of soda
  • 1.1 cups whole milk
  • 0 cup vanilla essence
  • 1.1 oz golden syrup
For the sauce
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 ml water
  • 8.8 fl oz double cream
  • 3.5 oz butter
  • 3.5 oz caster sugar
  • 3.5 fl oz water
  • 1.1 cups double cream
  • 3.5 oz butter
  • 3.5 oz caster sugar
  • 0.4 cup water


  • Cuisine: South African
  • Recipe Type: Dessert
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Preparation Time: 20 mins
  • Cooking Time: 45 mins
  • Serves: 6


  1. Mix all the pudding ingredients to form a thin batter.
  2. Bake in a greased oven dish (with lid or foil covering so that it doesn’t burn on top) for 30-40 min on 160 degrees Celsius.
  3. Meanwhile, put all the sauce ingredients into a medium saucepan and heat on medium to low heat until all the ingredients are melted.
  4. Pour the sauce over the pudding as soon as it emerges from the oven and allow it to seep into the sponge. Prick with a fork if necessary to aid absorption.
  5. Serve with ice cream, cream or custard!

Kerstin Rodgers, aka msmarmitelover, has a new book, Secret Tea Party, due out 28th August 2014.

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