Malva pudding is a South African caramelised, sweet, spongy pudding that is drenched in a creamy sauce and served alongside vanilla ice cream, crème anglaise or cream.

It has a light, moist sponge which appropriately reflects its Afrikaans translation.  The Oxford English Dictionary says it comes from Afrikaans ‘malvalekker’, meaning ‘marshmallow’ (ultimately from Latin malva, a mallow).

 It became more widely known and popular on the West Coast of the US after Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef, Art Smith, served it for Christmas dinner in 2006 to the pupils of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

Sponge pudding with cream & sauce on the side

I have ‘doctored’ this recipe from the classic original by adding Baileys and soft brown sugar to the sauce. I just like it like this!

Pouring sauce onto sponge pudding

Once poured onto the hot sponge, the sauce is left to soak in and it’s then served whilst still warm ?

Sponge pudding with cream and sauce
Sponge pudding with cream & sauce on the side

Malva pudding

South African caramelised, sweet, spongy pudding, drenched in a creamy sauce
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine South African
Servings 8


  • Baking dish approx. 28 x 18 x 6cm


  • For the sponge:
  • 150 g egg lightly beaten
  • 80 g caster sugar
  • 80 g soft light brown sugar
  • 50 g butter melted
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 40 g smooth apricot jam
  • 250 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 125 g milk
  • For the sauce:
  • 100 g cream
  • 100 g water
  • 100 g Baileys whiskey or even coffee
  • 100 g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt


  • Lightly grease the baking dish and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Sieve the flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt three times to fully combine and set aside.
  • Put the eggs into a stand mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on a high speed until fluffy.
  • Gradually add the sugars and whisk on high speed for about 5 minutes until creamy and volumized.
  • Whisk in the jam followed by the melted butter and vinegar.
  • Fold in the flour mixture alternately with the milk on a low speed. Finish folding in by hand to avoid overmixing.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Meanwhile make the sauce. Put all the ingredients into a small saucepan and gently heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring to a simmer for about 3 minutes.
  • Pour the source into two jugs, dividing it in half. Set aside.
  • Once the sponge is baked, remove from the oven and immediately pour over one half of the sauce.
  • Serve whilst still warm with cream, ice cream or crème anglaise, drizzled with some of the extra sauce.
Keyword Malva pudding

Subscribe to my newletter

Get my latest recipes, offers and news

You have successfully subscribed!