Low-Carb Traditional South African Malva Pudding


“I Am An African, Not Just Because I Was Born In Africa. But Because Africa Was Born In Me.”

– Kwame

Every year on the 24th of September, we South Africans celebrate Heritage Day.

Also called “the rainbow nation”, South Africa is home to many cultures and peoples – so many, in fact, that we have eleven official languages! And on Heritage Day, we celebrate our own culture, beliefs and heritage. But, despite certain politicians looking to promote their own agendas by fuelling conflict between the different groups, on Heritage Day, we also proudly acknowledge that no matter how we may differ from one another, we are united in our love for our country and her treasures.

My specific family is of European origins – German, Dutch, French – who became Afrikaans after settling into South Africa while it was still just the Cape colony under British rule. When I think of my heritage, I think of my maternal grandparents. Most of my happiest childhood memories were made running around barefoot on their farm – walking the sheep back to the kraal, picking strawberries, falling asleep in the old tyre swing, helping my grandmother make pudding for the church bazaar, picking proteas and other fynbos…


“I Braai Therefore I am… South African!”

– Unknown

Locally, Heritage Day is also known as Braai Day. Braai is the Afrikaans word for the process – and art, to those like my little brother – of grilling meat and fish over an open flame or hot coals. Even though the word is of Dutch origins and characteristic of the Afrikaans language and culture, it is a social activity enjoyed by many African cultures. A love of braai vleis (grilled meat) is another thing all South Africans have in common.

Traditionally, a braai uses charcoal and/or wood, while a barbecue is fuelled by gas and electricity. But it is about soooo much more than just standing around and cooking meat… Through the years, having a braai has become akin to a patriotic act. Indeed, most of the men I know consider learning to braai meat properly a kind of rite of passage to manhood. Never make the mistake of comparing a braai to a barbecue – especially not in front of a self-proclaimed South African braai master. It may just be the last thing you ever do! (I don’t think my little brother will ever forgive me for that one…)


“If You’re In Any Doubt As To Whether Your Fire Is Big Enough, Then Your Fire Is Not Big Enough.”

– Jan Braai

In my family, there is a tradition to braai every Sunday after going to church. Come wind, rain, hail or the dominee (Afrikaans pastor), my grandparents always had a braai for their Sunday lunch. And with it, always a dessert made from scratch by my ouma (grandma).

But aside from boerewors en pap, vetkoek, braai vleis, and samp, there is also the wide variety of South African desserts and treats…

Walk into any local grocery store, and you’re guaranteed to find melktert (milk tarts), koeksusters (koeksisters), soetkoekies (old-fashioned sweet cookies)… and malva poeding (malva pudding)!!


“Cooking Is All About People. Food Is Maybe The Only Universal Thing That Really Has The Power To Bring Everyone Together. No Matter What Culture, Everywhere Around The World, People Get Together To Eat.”

– Guy Fieri

Malva pudding is a baked dessert with a spongy, caramelized texture made with apricot jam, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. What makes it stand out from other brown puddings is the thick, cream sauce poured over the pudding and allowed to seep through before serving while it’s hot out of the oven. It is then served with warm with vanilla ice-cream and/or homemade custard.

Food historians differ on the origins of this pudding – and its name.


Some believe the “malva” comes from “malvalekker”, the Afrikaans word for “marshmallow”, because of the resemblance between the texture of the pudding and that of a marshmallow. Others believe that the pudding is named for the rose-scented geranium leaves with which the pudding was originally flavoured, what with “malva” also being the Afrikaans word for the native South-African geranium plant. Another theory is that the pudding was named for a woman known as Malva. Others suggest that the sauce was originally made with Malvasia wine, or accompanied with this wine when serving.

Malva pudding is also known by other names: a brown pudding, Jan Ellis pudding or vinegar pudding. There are, of course, many other variants of this dessert, such as the Cape brandy pudding, for example.

“Food Brings People Together On Many Different Levels. It’s Nourishment Of The Soul And Body; It’s Truly Love.”

– Giada De Laurentiis


It’s so popular that most South African restaurants have it on their menu. The malva pudding gained international acclaim after Art Smith (Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef) served it to the pupils of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa for their Christmas dinner back in 2006.

But with or without sugar and gluten, this recipe is one I am very proud of. I’ll totes be passing it on to my own daughters, daughters-in-law and granddaughters one day. It’s yummy, healthy and traditional! What more could an Afrikaans meisie want?


Low-Carb Traditional South African Malva Pudding

Sugar-Free. Gluten-Free. Wheat-Free. Grain-Free. Diabetic Friendly. Vegetarian. Allergy Friendly. Dairy-Free Option. Paleo Option.

Low to medium carbs.

Paleo, Primal, Keto, Banting, LCHF

  • PREP TIME: 20 minutes
  • COOK TIME: 20-25 minutes
  • REST TIME: 5 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME: 45-50 minutes



Bowl 1:

  • 2 tablespoons xylitol
  • 4 tablespoons sugar-free or diabetic apricot jam
  • 3 large free-range eggs

Bowl 2:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup fine desiccated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • a pinch of salt

Bowl 3:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown vinegar
  • 1/2 cup full-cream milk


  • 1 cup fresh cream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons xylitol



  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius (or 375 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. For the pudding, beat together the jam, eggs and xylitol in Bowl 1.
  3. Sift together the dry ingredients in Bowl 2 and mix through.
  4. Move to the ingredients in Bowl 3: melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat, then add the milk and vinegar, and stir through until well combined.
  5. Remove the ingredients of Bowl 3 from the heat and add to the dry ingredients in Bowl 2.
  6. Next, add the egg mixture from Bowl 1 to the batter in Bowl 2. Mix well using an electric whisk/mixer.
  7. Pour the batter into an ovenproof dish and bake for 20-25 minutes until nicely browned. The pudding should be firm but spongy. Be careful not to burn.
  8. To make the sauce, melt the ingredients together in a small saucepan over medium to high heat. Let it simmer for 3 minutes, constantly stirring to prevent it from boiling over.
  9. Pour the sauce over the pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven.
  10. Give it 5 minutes for the sauce to sink through the pudding before serving.


Serving Suggestion

Although malva pudding is traditionally served warm, this version tastes almost just as good cold. Keep the leftovers – if there are indeed any! – for breakfast or tea time the next day. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Serve this healthier alternative with homemade low-carb custard, and low-carb vanilla ice-cream, freshly whipped cream or coconut cream.



You can substitute the xylitol with erythritol or granulated stevia.

Make it Paleo-friendly and dairy-free by substituting the full-cream milk with coconut or almond milk and the fresh cream with coconut cream. Just be aware that the change in ingredients will affect the taste, and make the pudding that much richer – and maybe even yummier! Swap out the butter for coconut oil or ghee.

If using other dairy substitutes, just be aware of the added carbs to the overall carb content of the malva pudding.

What we call bicarbonate of soda in South Africa and the UK is known as “baking soda” in the USA.

“We Can Change The World And Make It Better Place. It Is In Your Hands To Make A Difference.”

– Nelson Mandela


To find out more about the braai culture of South Africa, visit this article by www.braaiculture.com


Please note that I am not a medical or nutritional professional. I am simply recounting and sharing my own experiences on this website. Nothing I express here should be taken as medical advice and you should consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. I provide nutritional information for my recipes simply as a courtesy to my readers. I expressly disclaim any and all liability of any kind with respect to any act or omission wholly or in part in reliance on anything contained in this website.


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Low-Carb, Unsweetened Apple, Cinnamon & Almond Muffins


“If You Dress Up A Muffin To Awesomeness, They’re Cupcakes.”

– Brinda Kansara

Who doesn’t like their house to smell all cinnamony?

That’s exactly what you get when you bake these yummy apple, cinnamon and almond muffins! It’s surprisingly hard to resist these little treats when they come hot out of the oven!

Think you’ve had great muffins before? Well, you ain’t seen muffin yet! Because when it comes to yummy goodness on a low-carb lifestyle, it’s all or muffin! After all, muffin tops work best on actual muffins. But for every generic cupcake, there’s that one in a million stud muffin! And I would be muffin without you, dear reader. So screw the Muffin Man, and call me the Whimsical Rebel because I am muffin much… LOL! (Sorry, I’ve just always wanted to do that!)


These muffins are light, but filling. A truly nutritious and delicious combo of cinnamon, almond and apple! The green apples sweeten the muffins enough so that no additional low-carb sweeteners are required. With the almond flour, apple and psyllium husks, these muffins are high in fibre.

Not only is cinnamon highly delicious, but it comes with a whole host of health benefits. Cinnamon has long been praised for its medicinal properties – all the way back to ancient Egypt! – and modern science has only confirmed this.

“An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away!”

Apples also have a lot of nutritional benefits, being rich in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that help protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals. Most of the fibre and antioxidants in apples are found in the apple peel – another reason not to peel your apples when making these muffins! Just make sure to thoroughly wash off any possible trace of pesticides (although laboratory findings apparently consistently show low levels of pesticide residues on apple skins).

So, if you’re a muffin lover or just looking for an awesome grab-and-go snack, then definitely include this recipe in your meal planning!

“Cupcakes Are Muffins Who Believed In Miracles!”


Low-Carb, Unsweetened Apple, Cinnamon & Almond Muffins

Unsweetened. Sugar-Free. Gluten-Free. Wheat-Free. Grain-Free. Dairy-Free. Coconut-Free. Allergy Friendly. Diabetic Friendly. Vegetarian.

Low to medium carbs.

Makes 6.

Paleo, Primal, Keto, Banting, LCHF

  • PREP TIME: 15 minutes
  • COOK TIME: 20 minutes
  • REST TIME: 20 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME: 55 minutes



  • 1 ½ cups almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons psyllium husks
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder


  • 3 green apples, cored and grated
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted


  • 25g pecan nuts, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (or 355 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Line a 6-hole muffin tray with paper cases.
  3. Place the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir through until well-combined.
  4. Add the melted coconut oil and eggs to the dry ingredients. Whisk together until smooth.
  5. Add the grated apple and stir through to combine well.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared paper cases.
  7. Sprinkle with the chopped pecan nuts.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until firm.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Or serve warm if you can’t bear to wait!


Serving Suggestion

Serve for breakfast, with afternoon tea or as a snack.

These muffins taste good warm or cold.

Layer them with cheese and butter for some extra yumminess!



I used golden delicious apples for this recipe. I did not see the need to peel the apples, but you’re welcome to do so if you want to.

To make these muffins coconut-free, substitute the coconut oil for ghee or butter.

If you prefer a sweeter muffin, feel free to add in a bit of low-carb sweetener, such as stevia, erythritol or xylitol. Or, sprinkle the muffins with cinnamon “sugar” (equal parts cinnamon and granulated low-carb sweetener) along with the chopped pecan nuts before putting the muffins into the oven to bake. But, honestly, this recipe is so good that you don’t really need the extra sweetener!

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. With most low-carb recipes, it works better to store your meals in the refrigerator as they have a higher moisture content than traditional high-carb baked goods and pastries.

Enjoy! Xx




Please note that I am not a medical or nutritional professional. I am simply recounting and sharing my own experiences on this website. Nothing I express here should be taken as medical advice and you should consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. I provide nutritional information for my recipes simply as a courtesy to my readers. I expressly disclaim any and all liability of any kind with respect to any act or omission wholly or in part in reliance on anything contained in this website.


I ♥ Hearing From You!
Follow Me On Facebook & Instagram!
#Hashtag Me With #TheWhimsicalRebel & #TheWRebel! Xx