Donauwellen (German Danube Waves Cake)

Chocolate, cherries and custard... a winning combination! These are the ingredients combined in this recipe that my friend Maria made for our German Wine & Dine event. The beautiful cake layers are said to look like the waves of the Danube river, hence the name Donauwellen (German Danube Waves Cake). This is just another German dessert that combines chocolate and cherries in a delicious way...

This traditional Donauwellen recipe, translated Danube waves cake, is layered alternating with vanilla and chocolate cake dough, sour cherries and vanilla cream. After the cake is baked and cooled off a chocolate glaze is applied to the top of the cake and waves are made using a fork. When the cake is cut in squares it sure looks like the waves of the Danube river from the side. The 'Donauwellen' cake looks very elegant and tastes great with the different flavors.
Donauwellen (German Danube Waves Cake)
recipe adapted from the Bavarian Kitchen

17.5 oz butter at room temperature (optional: margarine)
12.5 oz sugar
2 pinches salt
7 eggs (room temperature)
10.5 oz flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons cacoa powder
1 quart milk
2 jars of sour cherries (about 6 cups total)
2 packages Dr. Oetker® Vanilla pudding powder (substitute with 2 JELL-O® Vanilla pudding 3 oz box, make with 2 cups milk for each pudding, 4 cups milk total)
2.5 oz powdered sugar
10.5 oz dark chocolate (semi-sweet)
1.5 oz coconut fat
5.2 oz whipping cream
20 cherries for garnish

Combine butter, sugar, pinch of salt and eggs, and mix until creamy.

Mix the flour with the baking powder and fold to the batter. Mix everything together then divide the mixture in half.

Mix 2 tablespoons cocoa powder with 2 tablespoons milk and add to the one half of the dough mixture, combine by mixing until all is blended well.

Drain the sour cherries in a sieve.

Line a deep baking sheet with parchment paper. First spread the light colored dough mixture and then layer on top with the cocoa dough. Make a wave pattern with a fork (to mix it up lightly). Distribute the well drained cherries all over and push them lightly into the dough. Bake in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes (350° F). Check with a toothpick if cake is done. (When it comes out clean the cake is done)

Mix the pudding powder with a little of the cold milk. Bring the remaining milk with the sugar and a pinch of salt to a boil, add the pudding powder, bring to a boil again, stirring continuously until thickened. Pour the pudding into a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap, let cool at room temperature. Mix the powdered sugar with the remaining butter. Fold the cooled pudding one spoon at a time into the butter mixture. Spread the cream evenly on the cake. Refrigerate.

Chop the chocolate and let melt in a double boiler. Heat the coconut fat and add to the melted chocolate mixing it until it looks glossy. Spread over the cake and make wave pattern with a fork. Let chocolate harden. Sieve the cocoa powder with powdered sugar over the cake. Cut the cake in squares. Whip the cream and decorate one tab on each square, top with a cherry.


  1. Like the traditional Donauwellen recipe. A combination of Chocolate, cherries and custard is really a winning combination. Wish if I could taste it while going through your blog. Enjoyed it very much.

  2. What is coconut fat and is there anything I can sub for it?

  3. Fey - you can find coconut fat at ethnic groceries but can cub it with shortening.