This was our dessert for Christmas dinner this year, probably the third time it has filled this role. It is a South African version of an English pudding, which means that it is a very moist cake. It is not at all what Americans normally mean by “pudding”. This will serve about 12 people.
For the pudding
1-1/2 cups (6.5 oz.) all purpose flour
1-1/2 Tbs. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
3 Tbs. butter, softened at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
3-1/2 Tbs. apricot preserves
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
¾ cup cream
½ cup sugar
4 Tbs. butter
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 Tbs. brandy (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar. With the mixer still running, add the eggs one at a time. Once the eggs are incorporated, add the vinegar, apricot preserves, and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, blend in one third of the flour mixture and then one third of the milk. Repeat the process twice to incorporate all the flour and milk. Scrape the side of the bowl with a spatula to make sure that all of the flour is incorporated, but do not overmix so that you do not develop the gluten and toughen the pudding.
Thoroughly grease a Bundt pan with baking cooking spray (i.e. cooking spray with flour. The best kind of Bundt pan to use would be one without a hole in the middle, since you will later be pouring the sauce over the pudding.) Bake 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Wait 5 minutes, and then use a knife to make sure the pudding is released from the pan, and then carefully invert the pudding onto a plate.
While the pudding is baking, prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients together and heating them.
Poke holes in the pudding and slowly spoon the warm sauce over the pudding to maximize absorption. At the beginning, the sauce will easily be absorbed – at the end, you will need to work at it.
Serve warm or cold, as is or with whipped cream. I think this would be better with some more brandy poured on each slice prior to serving.