Malva pudding. Picture: Supplied
Malva pudding. Picture: Supplied

Mandela Day: How to make Madiba's favourite dessert dish

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Jul 18, 2021

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One of Madiba’s favourite desserts was Malva pudding

Everyone has a list of their favourite dishes and the late Nelson Mandela was no different.

Food writer and ’gastro-detective’, Fiona Ross, says Mandela enjoyed fish cakes and poached eggs, bacon, scrambled eggs and toast, after recuperating from an operation.

Xoliswa Ndoyiya, Mandela’s chef, once said that ‘one of his favourite (desserts) was Malva pudding’, adding that when she made it, he would ‘just eat it up'.

With adjusted lockdown level 4 in place, many South Africans may not able to go out today to help their local communities to remember the man who united us as the Rainbow Nation, his contagious laugh, his trademark dance, and his philanthropic nature that inspired this global day of kindness.

So why not support a worthy cause with a financial contribution and stay home (and stay safe) with a hearty family lunch? Cook up your Sunday lunch favourites and add a little Madiba magic with his favourite dessert.

Making Malva is pretty easy, and essentially involves making a thick sponge batter that is baked and then topped with a sugary, creamy butter sauce. Although apricot jam and butter are credited with giving Malva its flavour, it is the three large eggs that gives the dessert its distinctive moist, sponge-like custard texture. This can be served hot with vanilla ice cream or, for a real winter warmer, with heated vanilla custard.

Malva pudding

Serves: 6 - 8


For the batter

250g sugar

3 large eggs

5ml lemon juice

10ml bicarbonate of soda

30g apricot jam

300g cake flour, sifted

125ml milk, warm

60g butter, melted in the milk

For the Malva sauce

125ml boiling water

125g sugar

250ml cream

125g butter

5ml vanilla essence


Preheat the oven to 180°C.

For the batter:

Grease 12 ramekins or a 23cm oven dish.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or a mixing bowl, beat the sugar with the eggs, adding the eggs one by one until well combined and creamy in colour.

Add in the lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda, and apricot jam and beat together.

Stir in the flour alternating with the milk and butter mixture, to create a thick batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake at 180°C for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. If using ramekins, they will need less time, check by inserting a skewer in the centre of the puddings and checking that it comes out clean.

NB: Cover with aluminum foil halfway through cooking time if the top is getting too brown.

For the sauce:

Pour the boiling water into a saucepan and add the sugar, cream, butter, and vanilla essence. Heat on low until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for five minutes.

Pour the syrup over the hot pudding as it comes out of the oven and allows to soak for 20 minutes.

Serve with cream, ice cream, or custard.

Recipe by The South African Poultry Association.

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