Malva pudding

A South African sweet, warm, moist spongy treat.

Jason Edmunds
4 min readFeb 20, 2022


Photo by The Bake Studio

My mom used to bake Malva pudding — the perforating sweet, indulgent smell of the pudding baking in the oven filled the whole house. When I entertain friends I usually opt for baking this special sweet pudding for dessert. Even today, it brings back many happy, content childhood memories.

Malva pudding contains amongst the normal baked pudding ingredients apricot jam and has a spongy, fluffy texture. A creamy sweet sauce is poured over the pudding when it is baked and comes out of the oven. It is served with custard or ice cream. As a child we splashed out with both toppings and added pouring cream for good measure. As a South African sweet delight Malva pudding is served by many South African restaurants as a dessert option on their menus.

According to Kaunda Selisho, a lifestyle journalist for the ‘The Citizen’ newspaper the “…origins of this South African dessert aren’t as clear cut as one would believe. Most readily available texts on the origins of Malva pudding definitively describe the dessert as a sweet, sticky pudding of Cape Dutch origin.” (Selisho, 2020). I do believe that the pudding’s name is linked to the Afrikaans word ‘Malva’ (Marshmallow) due to its similarity in texture to fluffy marshmallows.

When baking I usually adapt recipes to my taste and dietary requirements being diabetic- so, I try to cut down on the sugar contents. I even tried artificial sweetener such as Xylitol. But, it just do not taste the same. I guess those childhood memories are imprinted in my brain. A warning — this pudding is not for the feint hearted or those on a calorie restricted diet . Ok, yes, small portions will do. It is very high in calories and sugar. In my adaptation of the recipe I cut the sugar contents by half and it is still sweet enough, especially, if you serve it with custard and vanilla ice cream.

How to make Malva pudding? Below is my recipe adapted from the traditional Malva pudding recipe baked by mom.

Sponge cake ingredients:
250 ml all purpose or plain flour (1 cup)
5 ml baking powder (1 teaspoon)
5 ml bicarbonate of soda (1 teaspoon)
30 ml apricot jam (2 tablespoons)
45 ml butter (3 tablespoons)
250 ml milk (1 cup)
125 ml sugar (0.5 cup)
1 egg
5ml lemon juice (1 teaspoon)
a dash…



Jason Edmunds

I enjoy socialising, experimenting in the kitchen, reading, writing and walking.