Chocolate and vanilla marble cake, studded with sour cherries cherries, layered with smooth vanilla pudding, and topped with a thin layer of dark chocolate ganache, this Donauwelle is a German classic!
Which cherries should I use?
I really love the Bada Bing cherries from Stonewall kitchen (especially the bourbon ones). But, fresh, frozen, jarred, or canned sour cherries will work too!
What does Donauwelle mean?
Directly translated, Donuawelle means Danube wave aka the waves from the river Danube in Germany. It gets its name because of the waves caused by the chocolate cake and cherries dropped into the vanilla cake as well as the classic ridges that can be frequently found in the surface of the chocolate. To give it the more traditional look, drag a fork lightly across the chocolate layer in a squiggle pattern.
You may also like…
Tips for making Donauwelle
- The cake base will turn out best if all ingredients are at room temperature, it will ensure all ingredients come together well and the cake is nice and light.
- This vanilla pudding is quick and easy, but because all ingredients are mixed together from the beginning it is important to keep a careful eye on it and not stop stirring while it is cooking. If you leave it for too long, the egg could split, or the milk could burn. If you are worried that you have cornstarch clumps in the pudding, pass it through a strainer before pouring it over the cake.
- Allow the pudding and cake to cool fully in the fridge before pouring the chocolate over top.
- Because the chocolate is hard when cutting the bars, I recommend running the knife under hot water and drying it off before each pass. This will help the knife slide through the chocolate rather than cracking the chocolate and causing the pudding to squeeze out.
- All Purpose Flour: Any all purpose flour will work for this Donauwelle! I have not yet tried any other flours with this recipe.
- Baking Soda & Baking Powder: These both help make the cake rise – make sure to check the expiration date! If they are expired, they won’t be very effective.
- Cocoa Powder: Both dutch processed and natural cocoa powder will work here.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla adds flavor and enhances the chocolate.
- Eggs: I use standard large eggs from the store for the cake base and egg yolks for the pudding.
- Sugar: This Donauwelle uses granulated sugar in the cake batter as well as the vanilla pudding.
- Sour Cream: Sour Cream adds richness and moisture to the cake; greek yogurt or quark can be used as well.
- Butter: Butter adds moisture and richness to this cake as well as to the pudding.
- Dark Chocolate: The dark chocolate is for the chocolate cake portion as well as the chocolate topping. Make sure that it is at least semi-sweet or dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate.
- Milk: Any milk or non-dairy milk will work for this recipe.
- Heavy Cream: This can be either heavy cream or heavy whipping cream – it is mixed with milk in the vanilla pudding to create a richer pudding as well as combined with the dark chocolate for a ganache topping.
- Sour Cherries: It’s important to use sour cherries rather than dark sweet cherries to balance out the sweetness of the cake
- Corn Starch: Corn starch is used to help thicken the vanilla pudding.
How to make Donauwelle
Make the Marble Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 F or 325 F if baking on convection. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven.
- Line an 8″ x 8″ square metal baking pan with parchment paper.
- Melt the dark chocolate for the cake batter and set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the batter.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Then add in the eggs, sugar, vanilla, butter, and sour cream. Using a paddle attachment beat the ingredients on high for 30 seconds until light and fluffy.
- Pour 300 grams of the batter into the lined baking pan. Then add the melted chocolate, milk, and cocoa powder into the bowl of the stand mixer with the remaining cake batter. Mix again until fully combined – scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Once fully mixed, dollop the chocolate batter onto the vanilla batter. Spread the batter evenly across the vanilla batter.
- Space the cherries out evenly across the surface of the cake.
- Bake in the oven for 20, rotate the cake 180 degrees, and bake for another 15 minutes. Once fully baked, a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean and the surface should be a light golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Make sure the cake has cooled to at least room temperature before beginning on the pudding.
Make the Vanilla Pudding
- In a medium sauce pot, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch.
- While whisking continuously, slowly pour in the milk and cream.
- Place the sauce pot over medium heat and whisk continuously until it thickens and begins to bubble. Once bubbling, remove it from the heat. Whisk in the butter and vanilla continue whisking to cool it down.
- Once slightly cooled, pour the pudding over the cake.
- Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the pudding and place it in the fridge to chill for 2-3 hours.
- Place the chocolate in a heat safe bowl. Heat the heavy cream until just simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Leave to sit for one minute before whisking together into a smooth ganache.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the surface of the pudding.
- Pour the melted chocolate over the surface of the pudding, pour around the edges first and then finish in the center of the square.
- Work quickly to spread the melted chocolate over the pudding with a rubber or offset spatula.
- Leave the chocolate to set and then cut into 16 squares with a long sharp knife. To create clean slices, run the knife under hot water (and dry it off) before each slice.
- Stand Mixer
- 30 grams semi-sweet chocolate melted and cooled
- 150 grams all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 150 grams granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs large, room temperature
- 125 grams butter softened
- 100 grams sour cream room temperature
- 16 grams cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 230 grams sour cherries jarred or frozen
- 36 grams corn starch
- 80 grams granulated sugar
- 400 milliliters milk
- 100 milliliters heavy cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 20 grams butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 125 grams dark chocolate
- 175 grams heavy cream
Make the Cake batter
- Place a rack in the center of the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (or 325 F if baking convection).
- Line an 8" x 8" metal baking pan with parchment paper.
- Melt the 30 grams of semi sweet chocolate and set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the batter.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, baking soda and baking powder.
- Add in the sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla extract, and sour cream. Using the paddle attachment, on high speed, beat together all the ingredients for 30 seconds – until light and fluffy.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Pour 300 grams of the batter into the lined baking pan. Spread the batter into an even layer.
- Then add the melted chocolate, cocoa powder, and milk to the batter that is still in the stand mixer bowl.
- Beat on high once more to combine all the ingredients. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again, just briefly.
- Dollop the chocolate batter onto the vanilla cake batter and spread into an even layer.
- Evenly space the cherries across the top of the batter.
- Bake the cake for 20 minutes, then rotate 180 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Leave the cake to cool fully before beginning on the vanilla pudding.
- In a medium sauce pot, whisk the sugar and cornstarch together.
- While continuously whisking the cornstarch and sugar, slowly pour in the milk and cream.
- Whisk in the egg yolks.
- Place the pot over medium heat and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble.
- Immediately remove it from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla. Continue whisking to cool it slightly.
- Pour the pudding over the cake and place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding.
- Place the cake with pudding into the fridge to chill for 2-3 hours.
- Pour the chopped chocolate into a heat safe bowl.
- Heat the heavy cream to just a simmer and pour it over the chocolate. Leave it to sit for 1 minute, then whisk to combine and create a smooth ganache.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the surface of the pudding.
- Pour the melted chocolate over the pudding, starting at the edges and then go towards the center.
- Working quickly, spread the chocolate out into an even layer using a rubber or offset spatula.
- Leave the chocolate to set in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
- Use a long sharp knife to cut the Donauwelle into 9 or 12 portions. To create clean even slices, heat the knife under hot water (and dry it off with a towel) before each cut.