• Serves: 12
  • Prep Time: 1 hour + chilling time
  • Cooking Time: 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: Medium

Having spent quite some time in Germany, there are certain foods and recipes that (along with my French repertoire) I like to bring out every once in a while. Glühwein (mulled wine) is a pre-Christmas must and my son can’t get enough of Schnitzel (pork or veal escalopes in breadcrumbs). Cakes are a pretty big thing in Germany (even if they’re not quite as good as the French ones – ha!) and one that has always been a big favourite amongst friends is called “Donauwellen”.

Literally translated, it means “Danube Waves”. I’m not quite sure where the name originates from, but in the original German recipe, the chocolate topping is “combed” with a kind of “toothed” spatula and the result looks like waves.

I’ve adapted the original recipe to work with ingredients available in the UK (it’s impossible to find solid coconut fat or vanilla pudding powder here which are required for the original recipe) and made it into a round cake rather than the original huge baking tray version.

One word of advice though: this one is not for the calorie conscious!


here's what you'll need...

For the base:

  • 150g flour
  • 200g soft butter
  • 125g sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 400g tinned, pitted black cherries, well drained

For the topping:

  • 300g mascarpone
  • 150ml double cream
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod

For the chocolate couverture:

  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 200ml double cream
  • Plus fresh dark cherries for decoration

Donauwellen Cake Ingredients


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have you seen...

Donauwellen Cake Post 1


Donauwellen Cake Post 2


Donauwellen Cake Post 3


Donauwellen Cake Post 4



set oven temp: 180C/gas mark 3

here's how it's done...

  • 1

    Starting with the base:

    Preheat your oven to 180C (170C fan).  Mix the butter and sugar until creamy, then add the eggs and mix well until all combined. Mix the flour and baking powder and add to the egg mixture, mix well.

    Donauwellen Cake Steps 1 and 2

  • 2

    Grease your baking tin and add 2/3 of the cake mixture smoothing it down.  Add the cocoa to the remaining 1/3 of the cake mixture and give it another whizz.

    Donauwellen Cake Steps 3 and 4

  • 3

    Now carefully add the dark layer of the mixture on top of the light one and smooth.  Put the drained cherries on top of the mixture and put in the oven to bake for 40 minutes.

    Donauwellen Cake Steps 5 and 6

  • 1

    Now for the topping:

    Scrape the vanilla seeds out of the pod (you can see how here). Put the mascarpone, icing sugar and vanilla seeds into a mixer and whizz until smooth. Now add the double cream and mix again until well combined.

    Donauwellen Cake Steps 7 and 8

  • 2

    Put it in the fridge until the cake is completely cooled down.  Sit down and enjoy a cup of tea whilst the cake finishes baking and cools.

    Now, take the mascarpone mixture out of the fridge and spread over the cooled cake. Put back into the fridge.

    Donauwellen Cake Step 10

  • 1

    For the chocolate couverture:

    Finely chop the chocolate and put into a bowl. In a pot, bring the double cream to a boil – Do not stir!

    Donauwellen Cake Steps 10 and 11

  • 2

    Pour over the chocolate and wait for the chocolate to melt, then gently fold together with the cream.

    Donauwellen Cake Steps 12 and 13

  • 3

    Now spread the chocolate over the cake deliberately leaving it uneven. Put back into the fridge for at least a few hours.

    Donauwellen Cake Step 14

  • 4

    Just before serving, remove from the baking form and top with fresh cherries for decoration.

    Donauwellen Cake Post 5

    Bon Appétit – or maybe I should say Guten Appetit in this case!


By Carole Poirot on 31.03.14

Guest Contributor

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