Donauwellen (Cherry, Custard and Chocolate Cake)

    9 hours 30 minutes

    This is a very popular German cake recipe with cherries, vanilla custard and chocolate! The Donau is a river and Welle is the German word for wave.

    16 people made this

    Serves: 20 

    • For the Cake
    • 280g butter, room temperature
    • 1 cup (220g) white sugar
    • 5 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
    • 3 cups (375g) plain flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda
    • 1/4 cup (30g) cocoa powder
    • 1 tablespoon milk
    • 570g tinned pitted cherries
    • For the Custard
    • 3 tablespoons cornflour
    • 1/2 cup (110g) white sugar
    • 2 cups (500ml) milk
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence
    • For the Topping
    • 1 1/3 cups dark chocolate chips
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

    Preparation:30min  ›  Cook:1hour  ›  Extra time:8hours chilling  ›  Ready in:9hours30min 

    1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 30x45cm rimmed baking tin or Swiss roll tin or line with baking paper.
    2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup (220g) sugar using an electric mixer. Mix in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, salt, and bicarb soda; quickly fold into the egg mixture.
    3. Spread 2/3 of the batter in the bottom of the prepared baking tin. Stir the cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of milk into the remaining batter just until blended. Spread evenly over the vanilla layer. Pat the cherries dry with paper towels and sprinkle them evenly over the top of the cake batter.
    4. Bake the cake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool.
    5. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornflour and 1/2 cup (110g) sugar. Heat the milk in a small saucepan just until hot but not boiling. Whisk in the cornflour mixture and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Spread the thickened custard over the surface of the cake and refrigerate overnight.
    6. For the chocolate topping, place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat at 30 second intervals, stirring each time until just melted and smooth. Stir in the oil. Working quickly, spread the chocolate over the chilled custard layer. If you like, you can use the tines of a fork or a cake comb to make "waves." When the chocolate is set, cut the Donauwellen into about 20 squares to serve.

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    Reviews in English (7)


    Unfortunately, my daughter chose this recipe for a German class project. Though I followed the recipe, the 'custard' never got thick enough to spread. I ended up at the 24 hour market getting premade pudding to spread. There was no instruction on when to add the second measurement of vanilla and the chocolate siezed up. She was crying and I was not happy.  -  28 Mar 2006  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    We have edited this recipe and corrected the directions for making the custard layer. The mixture must be boiled for the cornstarch to thicken the custard. We apologize for any difficulties this error created.  -  25 Aug 2009  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    I've made this cake many times but used a different custard. Here is how I made it: Cook 2 packages vanilla pudding but only use the milk for one package. Let the pudding cool down. Take 1 cup of unsalted butter and mix it until it's creamy. Test both the pudding and the butter for the same temperature and slowly mix the cooked pudding, under permanent mixing, into the butter. Let it cool down on the cake before you put the chocolate on it.  -  31 Aug 2009  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)