South Africa – Malva Pudding

Still relatively fresh off my trip to Germany I had planned to tackle Black Forest Cake next (I promise I will some day), but then all of my plans were foiled when I went home for the holidays and this lesser known alcohol was sitting around. It is called Amarula and is made from a fruit that has a tendency to get elephants drunk (this may be a myth, which would be sad). Amarula is also a favorite of the people of South Africa and is used in their most famous dessert – malva pudding. For a great history of malva pudding check out this awesome Food52 article. The takeaway – mavla pudding is the Jennifer Lawrence of desserts: beloved by all after a meteoric rise to fame; the slightly quirky but wholesome girl next door that everyone wants to have at a dinner party.

The Bake

Not much needs to be said here, as the bake was very simple. After creaming the egg and sugar, add the apricot jam and mix until combined. As with the Sachertorte, the cheaper, less chunky kind of jam works better for this recipe. If you do find any big chunks of apricot remaining in the batter after mixing, simply scoop them out – chunky apricots do not belong in a smooth cake.

Add the milk mixture and flour mixture in alternating parts, starting with the milk. The combination of the vinegar and baking sofa makes the batter bubble delightfully. Do not be afraid if your batter looks very runny – this is a good sign. The light batter will result in a light fluffy sponge cake.


As suggested by this recipe’s source, I covered the top of the cake with tinfoil while baking. In hindsight this seems unnecessary, and I actually took the tinfoil off halfway through the bake because the sides were browning while the middle was still liquid. When the cake has cracked slightly and is a nicely golden brown color all over, remove it from the oven and immediately pour on the glaze.

Since the pan will be hot, your glaze will likely bubble and steam – but that is part of the fun. Feel free to be heavy handed with the glaze – keep pouring until the glaze starts to pool on the top. This spongey cake can absorb more than you think! Scoop out slices (scooping is a more accurate description of what actually happens when you try to cut this beauty) and serve warm. If you are feeling adventurous, throw some whipped cream on top.


The Moment of Truth

Easy. Fast. Unique. Tasty. The Amarula adds a nice punch of flavor that could also be achieved with Baileys. The level of alcohol can be augmented by heating the sauce until it is only just warm – to avoid cooking off the alcohol.  Or you can do away with the alcohol entirely and make the sauce using cream. Either way you end up with a dessert that tastes as warm and comforting as crawling into bed after a long day. The blogger at Food52 likened this dessert to a”warm bubble bath or a chaise lounge.” I completely agree.


The Recipe

This cake recipe is courtesy of Food52 and the glaze recipe is courtesy of Food24.


1 egg

1 cup sugar

1 tbsp apricot jam

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp vinegar

1 cup whole milk

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt


1/4 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup Amarula

Pinch of salt

Grease an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan. Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Beat the egg and sugar for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy. Add the jam and mix to combine. Melt the butter and add the vinegar and milk. Separately, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the milk and flour mixtures, starting with the milk mixture, in 3 to 5 parts. Pour the bater into your baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and slightly firm on top. Just before the cake is done cooking make the glaze by melting all of the ingredients together in a pan. Remove from the oven and immediately add the glaze.

Fun Fact

South Africa has the most official languages of any country with 11: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu.

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