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Malva Pudding Panna Cotta Cake…

July 7, 2010

Today we’re going traditional. Traditional South African that is, but in a very non-traditional way.

Malva Pudding is one of the most traditional South African desserts around. It also happens to be the yummiest. Yes? No? Yes! In its original form, it is a baked pudding with a rich buttery syrup that gets poured over after baking and is left to soak in. It is perfect on cold nights.

My friend, T, loves this pudding and so I decided to make her one all for herself. (I’m not saying she’s greedy, though she did threaten to eat it all and not share one bite.)

I wanted to do something different, something to challenge my inner baker, so I sat down with 4 different recipes, studied the general proportions, tweaked a bit here and there, and so it existed. Malva Pudding Panna Cotta Cake. The name’s a mouthful I know. I haven’t been able to decide on a better one, any suggestions?

The base is the original baked pudding soaked in the syrup. For the panna cotta mixture I more or less multiplied the syrup quantity by 4 and added an extra cup of cream and gelatine.

It was my first time creating my own recipe and let me tell you it is so rewarding. The birthday girl loved it and no, she didn’t end up eating the whole thing. :)

Malva Pudding Panna Cotta Cake:


  • 2/3 cup sugar (1/3 cup castor, 1/3 cup muscavado)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp smooth apricot jam
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 20g butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/3 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F and line and grease a 20-25cm spring-form pan. (The size depends on how tall you want the cake to be, the smaller the taller)

Cream the sugar and eggs together in a medium bowl until the mixture is a pale brown colour.

Add the apricot jam and gently stir with a whisk to combine.

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine the melted butter, vinegar and milk in a separate bowl.

Add the dry and wet ingredients alternately to the creamed mixture, stirring gently with the whisk to combine.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.

While the base is baking, make the syrup.


  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk/hot water/liqueur

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the syrup is smooth and all sugar has dissolved.

When done, remove the base from the oven, poke holes all over, and pour the syrup over immediately. Let it stand to soak in all the syrup. Don’t fret, it will seem like it won’t soak it all up but it will.

Told you.

Now for the panna cotta mixture…

Panna Cotta Layer:

  • 3 cups cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk/hot water/liqueur
  • 25ml gelatine, sprinkled over 50ml water and left to bloom

Combine all ingredients except for the gelatine in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth and all sugar has dissolved. Add the gelatine and stir until all the gelatine has dissolved.

Pour the mixture into a large bowl and place the bowl in a sink of ice water (being careful not to get any water into the mixture), stirring until the mixture has cooled considerably.


Place a large piece of greaseproof paper onto the counter and invert the malva pudding base onto it. (be careful as it is soaked through and may break if you’re not careful)

Peel off the greaseproof liner and place the base back into the spring-form pan.

Pour the panna cotta mixture into the pan on top of the base and chill in the fridge until firm. (about 4-6 hours or overnight)

When you’re ready to serve, heat the outside of the pan lightly with a blow torch, or with a cloth warmed in hot water to make it easier to release. If it is sticking you can run a knife around the edges but be gentle as you don’t want to mess up the sides. (if you’re a perfectionist, like me. Not always a blessing hey? often a curse.)

Hope I’ve inspired you to shake things up a bit. What do you think?

14 Comments leave one →
  1. July 8, 2010 1:34 pm

    This is genius. Pure, unadulterated, sinful genius.

    • chocswirl permalink*
      July 8, 2010 4:55 pm

      :) I’ll try keep my ego in check after that one.

  2. Melissa permalink
    July 29, 2010 6:28 pm

    Well done, a lovely combination of textures and tastes! Rich, sticky cake and creamy, smooth panna cotta. I can just about taste it!

    • chocswirl permalink*
      July 30, 2010 11:19 am

      Hey Mel, I wasn’t so sure how it would turn out in the beginning but it really worked! I didn’t get to taste it but it got rave reviews:)

  3. May 12, 2011 9:55 am

    I was recently introduced to the Malva cake by a South African friend, and simply fell in love with it! I just couldn’t get enough of it. Now, I found this recipe with my 2nd favorite dessert (panna cotta), and it sounds like a match made in heaven! mmmmmmm, I can’t wait to try this!

    • May 12, 2011 1:23 pm

      I know, malva is a tiny taste of heaven! Hope it turns out well! :) Would love to know how it goes

  4. Renee du Bruyn permalink
    June 13, 2011 8:33 am

    I tried the recipe but somehow something went wrong. More than half of the Panna Cotta was absorbed by die Malva Pudding base.

    Please advise where I went wrong

    • June 14, 2011 12:05 pm

      Hi Renee,

      I’m so sorry it didn’t turn out the way you expected it! It started out as an experiment so I didn’t know what to expect myself the first time. It does soak up part of the panna cotta mixture so you didn’t do anything wrong, It’s meant to be a very moist base with only a thin layer of panna cotta remaining on top.

      I liked it this way as it’s such a sweet dessert as it is! :) Thanks for asking me about it though, as I’m not perfect and like I said, it was an experiment to begin with.

      Please let me know if I can help further,


  5. Emily permalink
    June 15, 2011 5:45 am

    had a version of this the other day for the first time and absolutely fell in love with it. congrats on creating your first recipe. Looks great!!

  6. Renee du Bruyn permalink
    June 20, 2011 3:13 pm

    Hi Robyn

    Thanks for the feedback. Now I feel a lot better. But a great recipe anyway will definitely make it again.

  7. November 21, 2013 2:40 am

    This is indeed outside the box. Haven’t tried making Malva pudding or Panna cotta cakes before. I love Malva pudding and will give it go with my own cheesecake recipe. Malva pudding as base for the usual cheese cake sound wonderful and I am now inspired to do a challenge like this. Thanks for this idea.

  8. Katherine permalink
    July 27, 2017 12:57 pm

    Hi, this looks divine, may be a silly question however just checking when you say milk/hot water/liquer do you mean either or, or 1 cup of each ! Would love to hear back as dying to try this , thanks

    • July 27, 2017 1:04 pm

      Hi Katherine!

      No question is silly :)

      It means either or, so you can choose which liquid you want to use!

      I hope it turns out well! Would love to know how it comes out :)

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