Many cake lovers will simply forget all other cakes for a Donauwelle (the name derives from the Donau river and “Welle” is German for “wave” which resembles the cake’s appearance). And why is it so popular? With fruity cherries in a sponge filled with pudding creme and topped with chocolate, it is everything a cake should be: moist and fruity all at once! The Donauwelle is also very similar to the simple Marmorkuchen (Marble Cake). Not only does it look good but tastes great, too!



For the sponge:

  • 300 g butter (soft)
  • 250 g granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 400 g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 40 g cocoa powder
  • 1 dash of rum (optional)
  • 500 g cherries or sour cherries (in a jar)

For the butter creme:

  • 350 g butter (cut into small pieces)
  • 1 pack of vanilla pudding powder
  • 500 ml milk
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar

For the chocolate covering:

  • 300 g dark chocolate cake covering
  • 3 tbsp oil

Directions for Donauwelle

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees/ 350 °F (upper and lower heat) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Beat the soft butter with the sugar until frothy. Add the eggs individually and mix well. Mix the flour with the baking powder and salt and stir into the butter-sugar-egg mixture. Evenly distribute half the mixture onto the baking tray. Stir the cocoa powder and rum into the remaining half of the mixture. 
  3. Carefully spread the dark mixture over the light mixture. Wash the cherries, drain and evenly press into the dough mixture. Bake for ca. 30 minutes and allow to cool.
  4. To make the buttercream, remove the butter from the fridge and cut into pieces. Mix the vanilla pudding powder with a little milk and sugar and ensure that no lumps form. Bring the milk to the boil in a pot and stir in the pudding cream, stirring continuously with a whisk. Bring to the boil again and then leave to cool, stirring occasionally to ensure that a skin doesn’t form on the top.
  5. Beat the butter (at room temperature) until frothy and gradually stir the pudding mixture (also at room temperature) into the frothy butter mixture. Evenly distribute the buttercream over the cooled sponge and leave to stand in a cool place.
  6. To make the chocolate covering, break the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a bowl over hot water. Stir the melted chocolate well and evenly distribute over the buttercream layer and draw a wave pattern on the top.


The firmer the cherries are pressed into the dark and light sponge, the more pronounced the “waves” will be and the cake’s typical pattern.


It is unclear why the cake is named after the river Donau although it gets its name (Donauwelle – “Welle” is German for “wave”) because the fruits sink into the light and dark sponge and this creates a type of wave pattern which was thought to be reminiscent of the Donau. The wave pattern on the chocolate covering further enhances this effect. Others, meanwhile, believe that the cake was invented in a town which was associated with the Donau. Either way, it must have been a very clever baker who came up with the idea of this delicious combination of chocolate, cherries and buttercream. In some places the Donauwellen are also known as “Schneewittchen-Kuchen” (Snow White cake) – as Snow White is also described as being, “dark as ebony wood, red as blood and white as snow.”