South African Malva Pudding Cake

South African Malva Pudding Cake

A gluten-free recipe for a delightful South African dessert!

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

I’ve never tasted the wheat flour version of this South African dessert, but girlfriend who made wheat flour original approved of my gluten-free version.

For my talks on South Africa with a gluten free buffet, I make 2 x 8×8 pans from this recipe, cooked for about 25 minutes, removed from oven, then poured over sauce.

In England we used to make different liqueur versions of this for weddings in a 16 inch square deep cake pan using a complete bottle of sherry or brandy until the cake was literally sitting in a puddle of alcohol laced syrup.

I made this for a bridal shower with bride and mother of the bride, both with celiac disease, with orange juice and orange liqueur.

Gluten Free South African Malva Pudding Cake



  • 1+ ½ sticks melted butter (6oz, 170 g) very soft (Earth Balance is a good substitute. You can use melted coconut oil but coconut flavor was obvious to me unless you use strong orange or coffee version)
  • ¾ c sugar (6 oz, 170g). Use light brown sugar by weight for more flavor.
  • 3 extra large eggs or 4 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) gluten-free apricot jam
  • Zest of one large orange
  • 1/3 c gluten-free almond flour 1+1/4 oz/35 g
  • 1 c, 4+1/2 oz King Arthur gluten-free flour (no xanthan gum, all-purpose)
  • 4 tsp (20ml) gluten-free baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) milk


  • 1+1/2c (12 fl oz, 360 ml) cream
  • 1/2 c (4 fl oz, 120 ml) milk
  • 1 stick (4 oz, 112 g ) butter
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c (4 oz, 112g) light brown sugar
  • Amarula, a South African liqueur, optional


1. Preheat oven to 350*/180* and grease and gluten-free flour a 10”/25 cm across the top Bundt pan with food spray. A spring form pan can also be used but the cake would then have to be placed in a different container for the syrup to soak in.

2. Place melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, flour, almond flour, baking powder, milk and salt in mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer until soft, fluffy and creamy – at least 3 minutes. (Stir in orange zest, it tends to stick to beaters and you then have to scrape zest off. If you added orange zest.) Don’t skimp on this beating. Mix will look whiter as air is beaten in. It might look slightly curdled but that won’t affect taste or texture.

3. Spoon batter into prepared bundt pan, (it will only about half fill pan) smooth top and bake in preheated oven for approx. 30-40 minutes until cake is well risen, deep golden brown and deeper brown around the edges. It might have a crack in the middle but this will be hidden when you invert the cake. Note: a dark pan will darken cake sooner.

4. Remove cake from oven and leave to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then use a thin spatula or thin plastic knife to release all edges of cake including center hole.

6. Turn cake out of pan onto plate. There is no need to let cake cool further.

7. While cake is baking, make syrup by dissolving sugar slowly in cream, milk, butter and vanilla, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 1 minute. Remove from heat, cool for a few minutes (and add alcohol if using). I like to use an immersion blender to blend the sauce or it sometimes looks curdled.

8. Pour half of prepared syrup into bundt pan and return cake to bundt pan. (No need to wash pan first). Pour half of remaining syrup over cake and leave in pan for about 10 minutes until cake has absorbed all syrup. It will look as if it is swimming in liquid at first. For 8×8 pans don’t turn cake out, just stab with fork, and pour sauce over. Serve straight from 8×8 pan.

9. Carefully turn out onto serving plate (otherwise it might break) and leave to finish cooling. Don’t leave it in the Bundt pan to cool, it becomes difficult to turn out. Most recipes like to serve it with extra cream, ice cream, English custard.

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