The first time I ever had malva pudding was in Colesberg, a tiny town in the Karoo, just about halfway between Johannesburg and Cape Town. When Ty moved down to Cape Town, he began driving home to Nelspruit for the Christmas holidays, and it became a tradition of his to spend a night in Colesberg on his journey back to Cape Town. When Ty realized I was worthy, he brought me to Nelspruit to meet the parents and eventually let his tradition of stopping in Colesberg on his way home, become ours.
The first time Ty took me to Colesberg, many years ago, we stayed at Gordon’s Cottage and ate dinner at Die Plattelander, which was where I had my first and incredible malva pudding experience. I distinctly remember sitting in the back of the restaurant at a corner table, reading the dessert menu (because I always have room for dessert, especially while on holiday) and asked Ty what malva pudding was. He was shocked and appalled that I had never had this traditional Afrikaans delicacy and immediately ordered us a slice. A dark brown piece of cake arrived slathered in yellow custard. I took my first bite and instantly fell in love with the moist, spongy, cream-soaked cake, with a hint of apricot, and compulsory yellow custard. It was unlike any dessert I had ever had and soooo good!
Over the years, Beth has mentioned her infamous secret malva pudding recipe that I unfortunately have not had the pleasure of tasting (from her kitchen) for some crazy reason! However, a few weeks ago she decided to let me into her inner circle and emailed me the special recipe, which I have been saving for the perfect occasion. This occasion arose last weekend, when we were invited to what turned out to be an Afrikaans foody night which included waterblommetjie bredie (a traditional South African stew with lamb, edible water flows, and potatoes) served with sides of pickled beets, apricots, and gherkins, delicious fresh-herb garlic bread, salad, rice with black-eyed peas, and malva pudding.
When I arrived with my giant dish of malva pudding but not a drop of custard, I was met with looks of despair, which left me feeling worried. How could I have forgotten such a crucial ingredient!? However, I had faith in Beth’s recipe and new she wouldn’t let me down! Despite their apprehension, everyone politely got a slice, took a bite, and was shocked that the malva pudding was so incredibly delicious even without the customary custard. The level of sweetness and moisture was to perfection and we all concluded that the custard was entirely unnecessary. It was certainly bittersweet to see it disappear before my eyes, as people went back for seconds and thirds, so I look forward to another special occasion that calls upon Beth’s perfect malva pudding.
Beth’s perfect malva pudding
Ingredients (serves 8-10 gigantic slices, perfect for a dinner party)
For the cake
- 4 tbl margarine/butter
- 2 cups browns sugar
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 tbl apricot jam
- 2 tsp brown vinegar
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- 2 cups cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- preheat the oven to 180C
- in a large bowl, cream together the sugar and margarine
- mix in the eggs, jam and vinegar
- add the milk
- in a separate bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients
- pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth
- pour the mixture into a deep dish pan
- bake in the oven for 1 hour
- when there is about 10 minutes to go, in a small pot, bring the water, sugar, and vanilla to a boil, turn the heat down, and stir in the cream
- when the hour is up, remove the cake from the oven, pour the sauce on top, and allow it to soak into the hot cake
- serve warm on its own (it’s that good) or with custard
Here is the Waterblommetjie Bredie recipe that was used for our delicious feast, straight from chef Sybrand and Adina’s kitchen. Unfortunately we were so busy devouring our food that we forgot to take pictures of the bredie, so I found these ones online to give you a glimpse of how cool (and beautiful) it is to cook with flowers!