We discovered this amazing dessert, basically South Africa’s answer to Latin America’s Tres Leche Cake (recipe on this site BTW), on our recent trip to South Africa. It is one dessert that a diner can almost always find on the menu. And there is a very good reason why it is featured so often. It’s absolutely delicious. And like apple pie, there appear to be as many variations of this popular dessert as there are pastry chefs or home bakers.

This variation was given to me by the owner/chef of the Soeterus Guest Farm in Calizdorp, South Africa. One of the two nights we stayed on the farm, Hannelie and her husband Jamesly fixed a wonderful dinner for all of us who were staying with them that night. We had marinated ostrich steaks that Jamesly grilled on the Braai (BBQ). Hannelie made three salads – a green salad with an amazing vinaigrette, a shredded raw carrot salad with fresh pineapple, and a fresh green bean and feta salad. Along with the grilled ostrich and salads, she also served tiny buttered new potatoes. All of the dishes were wonderful and we ate until we were totally full. Then she served dessert. OMG. Big squares of this amazing concoction with vanilla ice cream on the side.

Now I don’t normally eat sweets. Not because I don’t like them, but because as I have gathered a few post Medicare years under my belt, my stomach has decided that it will no longer tolerate refined sugar. And as much as I try and reason with my stomach, it usually wins and I forgo dessert. But not this evening! There are just times when you have to fly in the face of sagacity. And oh am I glad I did. The malva was so very wonderful. Soft, delicious, and actually quite light. Perfect after a heavy, rich meal.

Now don’t be put off after you read this recipe by the fact that this is a “5 steps to heaven” dessert. The “5 step” plan may seem onerous at first glance, but really the dessert goes together very quickly, and is SO worth the effort.

So next time you want to serve a dessert that is different and that is actually better if it is prepared a day or two ahead, give this South African classic a try. You will not be disappointed. In fact, you will probably thank me after you try this recipe. And I will respond like a true South African – “pleasure”!

Step 1 – Pudding:

  • 1 c. cake flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 T. cocoa
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ c. vegetable oil
  • ½ c. boiling water
  • 4 eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Whisk together the cake flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. Whisk together the vegetable oil and boiling water and gently mix with the dry ingredients. Separate the 4 eggs. Beat the yolks and vanilla together and stir in with the other ingredients. Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into batter. Pour into a lightly buttered 9×13-inch pan. Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 30-35 minutes if using a glass pan, or 350 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes if using metal. Remove from oven when the pudding is set and immediately pour the Sauce evenly over the top. Cool completely and frost with Dulce de Leche. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, cut into pieces and dollop with Whipped Cream or vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle lightly with Cocoa powder.

Step 2 – Sauce:

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 T. brandy
  • 2 T. Amarula Cream Liqueur* (look for an elephant on the label)
  • 1 tsp. espresso powder

Combine all the ingredients, bring to a boil, and while still hot, pour over the just out of the oven pudding.

Step 3 – Topping:

  • 1 can Dulce de Leche (to make your own, see instructions below)

Step 4 – Whipped Cream:

  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 3 T. powdered sugar
  • 1 T. Amarula Cream Liqueur

Whip the cream to stiff peaks. Add the powdered sugar and Amarula and continue whipping until thoroughly combined.

Step 5 – Garnish:

  • Cocoa, for dusting

Homemade Dulce de Leche

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (solid cans without tab lids preferred)

Peel the label off the can of sweetened condensed milk. Place the can upright in a pan tall enough to allow water to cover the can by at least 2 inches. Add water. Bring the water to a very gentle boil, reduce the heat to low, and gently simmer for 3 hours, carefully turning the can (using tongs works best) halfway through the cooking process.

VERY IMPORTANT: Watch the water level carefully. Never allow the water level to fall below the top of the can. So add water as necessary and keep a careful eye on the simmering process.

After the simmering time, turn off the heat and allow the can to come to room temperature. Never open the can while it is still hot. It must reach room temperature before opening. After opening the can, stir and pour over the cooled pudding. Homemade Dulce de Leche can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

*Amarula Cream (per the label on the bottle), “is a pure blend of nature’s fresh cream and the mysterious taste of the wild marula fruit. Africa’s majestic elephants walk for miles to feast on the sun-ripened marula fruit which is indigenous to the region’s vast subequatorial plains”.

Note about elephants: Elephants love citrus fruit. Upon entering a nature reserve, guests are always asked if they have any citrus fruit with them. If so, they are persuaded to leave it behind because elephants can smell it from miles away. Who knew? Good thing the fine rangers and other qualified nature reserve people are watching out for us poor uneducated tourists. I mean really, who wants to have their rental car turned over by an elephant in search of a lemon anyway?


(Just one of the many darling “little” fellows we encountered while visiting nature reserves.)








Well I guess the first thing to do is apologize for not posting any new recipes for the last few weeks. But I have a very good excuse. (Don’t I always!) I was in SOUTH AFRICA! Yep – you read it right – South Africa. And I have to say, my time there was one of the best travel experiences of my life. We only visited the Eastern side of the country as far up as Richards Bay and environs – Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve for wild animals and St. Lucia for an afternoon boat ride spent cruising the river estuary amid the local hippo and crocodile population. (BTW – if you are interested in how you pronounce Hluhluwe, I will give you the same advice I was given by a nice older couple from Johannesburg. “Pretend you have had too much to drink, and then slur your words. If it sounds like schlu-shlouwee, you’ve got it right!”) Let’s see, where was I? Oh yes.

We only drove from Cape Town as far up as Richards Bay, touring mostly along the coast. On the way back to Cape Town, we stuck close to the Indian Ocean again for about half the distance, then turned inland to drive through glorious mountain passes and wine country. During the 24 days that we had our rental car, we drove a total of 7,016 kilometers or 4,360 miles. And even if the amount of kilometers we travelled seems like a lot, we actually only visited a very small part of this glorious country.

And of course along the way, we had many opportunities to enjoy South African cuisine. Along our route one day, we stopped for lunch at a quiet little café. Basically it was a place to buy gourmet condiments, fresh bread, and take-away food. But we were tired, so we asked the kind server if she would heat something up for us. She said, “pleasure” and we settled ourselves in their small outside dining area to await our meal.

I truly don’t recollect what Mr. C. ordered, but I decided to try a South African comfort food  called Bobotie. Bobotie is basically a savory meat loaf flavored with curry and other aromatic spices and topped with a simple egg custard. Well from bite one I was hooked. So I decided there and then that Bobotie had to be the first South African recipe to get posted when I returned.

So for the next few weeks, my cooking time is going to be mainly spent trying to duplicate some of the amazing dishes we experienced on our trip. And because I know you all love new and different recipes to fix for your family and friends, I have faith that as you try some of these amazing dishes, you will forgive me for being away from my blog for so long.

So give this recipe a try. It’s easy to prepare and just delicious. Comfort food, Cape Town style.

  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground lamb or beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lg. carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 thick slice or 2 thin slices of white bread soaked in ¼ cup milk
  • 1/3 c. slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1/3 c. golden raisins
  • 1 c. buttermilk or plain milk (or combination)
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 bay leaves
  • chutney, opt.

Heat the oil in a large fry pan. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the ground lamb and cook until just cooked through, breaking up the meat as it cooks. (You don’t want any large lumps of meat.) Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the coriander, ginger, curry powder, cinnamon, turmeric, sugar, salt, pepper, grated carrot, and lemon juice. Remove from heat and add the soaked white bread, making sure you have mixed the milk and bread thoroughly. (You shouldn’t be able to see big chunks of bread). Add the almonds and golden raisins and mix through. Spoon the mixture into a lightly buttered casserole dish, press down and level the top.

Whisk together the buttermilk and eggs and pour over the meat mixture. Gently lay the bay leaves over the egg mixture for decoration.

Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes. (The egg custard should be firm and set and the top a nice golden brown in color.)

Serve hot with Yellow Rice (see recipe below), Greek salad, and chutney.



  • 1½ c. long grain white rice
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper (just a bit)
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ¼ c. golden raisins
  • 1 T. butter
  • 2½ c. chicken broth

Place all the ingredients in a rice cooker and set it on “go”. Serve with Bobotie or any other South African dish.