Traditional Malva Pudding

Sweet and spongey South African apricot poke cake.

If you are like me, I had no clue what Malva Pudding was the first time I heard of it. I was first introduced to Malva Pudding at the restaurant, The Cafe, in Key West, Florida. The chef served us this dessert by mistake, and we fell in love with it! It is a dessert that is truly very unique in its texture and flavor. It is similar to a bread pudding or tres leches cake, but better. It isn’t too sweet, and it is absolute perfection with vanilla ice cream. Ever since that vacation, I have been testing and trying different recipes to create the perfect Malva Pudding. I have finally made a recipe that tastes just like The Cafe’s! I hope you like it!

Malva Pudding is a South African dessert with a hint of apricot flavor and a caramel-like, spongey texture. The base of the dessert is a vanilla apricot cake variation, called the pudding. Then, there is a sweet and creamy syrup that gets poured over and absorbed into the baked cake, similar to a poke cake. This cake is traditionally soaked overnight, but I can’t wait that long for dessert! Letting the cake sit for 10 minutes after pouring the liquid over top is just as yummy.

Malva Pudding is made to be served warm. However, most of the time when I make this pudding, I have to make the cake part earlier so the kitchen is free for others to make dinner itself. Beacause this cake is served warm, I like to bake the cake ahead of time without pouring the syrup on top yet. Then, about 30 minutes before it is dessert time, I make the syrup and pour the hot liquid over the cake. This hot liquid warms up the cake as it gets absorbed into the cake at the same time!

When making the cake, the process isn’t traditional. First, in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the eggs and sugar until they are a very pale yellow color. While that is whipping, you place the butter and apricot jam in a small sauce pan over medium heat until the butter is just melted. The jam will not melt, but that is okay. Then, you add the vinegar and and the butter jam mixture to the whipped eggs and sugar.

Now, this is where the recipe really diverges from the typical cake making process. Pour half of the milk, half the dry ingredients, and and the vanilla into the bowl of the stand mixer, don’t mix yet. Then, pour the rest of the milk into the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix until a shaggy dough forms. A shaggy dough is lumpy yet cohesive dough ball with small pockets of flour. Add this shaggy dough to the stand mixer. Mix until combined. By mixing in the shaggy dough, a unique texture from the clumps of flour form when baking. This will give you a little bit of a chew in your cake which is what makes Malva Pudding so uniquely delicious.

After you bake the cake, the syrup is very straight forward. If you are making the cake ahead of time, 30 minutes before dessert time, place everything in a medium-large size sauce pan and let everything melt, or until the mixture is hot to the touch. If you are not making the cake ahead of time, make the syrup while the cake is baking and pour the hot liquid over top the cake right out of the oven. I suggest that you poke several holes through the cake with a fork so that the syrup absorbs into the cake more easily.

I would love to see your Malva Pudding creations, tag me on instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane with your Malva Pudding!

Traditional Malva Pudding

Serves 6-8

Rating: 5 out of 5.

For the cake:


For the pudding:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons apricot jam
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 cup (150 grams) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the syrup:

  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and generously grease a 9 x 6 x 1 3/4 inch oven safe dish.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the sugar and eggs together until a pale yellow color and foamy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Melt the apricot jam and butter together until the butter is just melted, do not let this mixture get too hot or boil. Add the melted butter and the jam to the stand mixer along with the vinegar. Mix until well combined.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Switch to a paddle attachment. Add half the dry ingredients and half the milk.
  6. Mix the remaining half milk and the remaining half of the dry ingredients until a shaggy dough forms. Add to the stand mixer with the vanilla extract until combined.
  7. Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. While the cake is baking, in a medium size sauce pan, place the cream, butter, sugar, water, and vanilla. When there is 10 minutes left on the cake timer, place the sauce pan over medium heat until the butter is melted and the ingredients are combined.
  9. When the cake is done, immediately, using a fork, poke several hole into the cake. Then, slowly pour the hot liquid all over the hot cake. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and enjoy!
Taste tested by friends and family with love.

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