Malva Pudding, who knew?

The Band of Bakers,, “is a chance for people in South East London who love baking to get together and share their latest creations over a drink and a chat!” So when I saw a tweet saying there was an unexpected opportunity to participate in the next event, I jumped at it. The theme was “a great opportunity for some international flair!” and an invitation “to bake something either sweet or savoury from one of the 202 participating countries in the 2012 Olympic Games.”

I decided to pick South Africa as my country and googled recipes. Malva pudding sounded kind of familiar, although I had no idea what it was. It was difficult to imagine, a sponge pudding with the addition of apricot jam, bicarbonate of soda dissolved in milk with vinegar added, covered and baked in the oven. The baked pudding was then covered in a caramel sauce – could that work?

Wikipedia,, provided some interesting background. Of Afrikaner origin, it has been revived by Oprah Winfrey’s chef. It is a versatile pudding which forms the basis of some interesting variations, some brandy based.

I chose this recipe: An email to a South African friend suggested that cake flour was probably what I know as self-raising flour.

I set to work, following the recipe as carefully as I could. So far so good.  I poured the mixture into a greased casserole dish, covered it with a lid  and put it in the oven. Boy, did it rise! After half an hour, I turned the oven down. I think I could have cooked it on 150c, as I decided it was done five minutes before the end of the recommended cooking time.

Making the sauce was easy. I poured it carefully over the pudding, allowing time for it to be absorbed by the pudding.  It did all go in eventually. I couldn’t wait to try it.  I made some custard and put it in a vacuum flask and off I went to the event.

One of the first people I met was a South African. He graciously agreed that the pudding looked alright.  Then it was tasting time. Wow! The pudding was so light and fluffy! The sauce was not too over powering.  I’ve never had anything quite like it. And yet I think this is one of those family stand-bys that can be varied as the maker is inclined.

Someone said it was their favourite of the evening and it is one recipe I shall be making again.