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i was not going to rate this recipe at first - i was disappointed with it. i must not have given the cherries and pudding enough time to set, and everything was all sloppy and floppy when i served it (I have never had this cake before so did not know what it should look like). after a lukewarm response from my family, i put it into the fridge thinking if someone has hungry enough, they would try it again. the next day, the cake looked and tasted great! i also love that i can/should make this cake ahead of time - that i do not have to make it just prior to serving. beautiful recipe. and thanks for introducing me to a piece of german food culture!
Molly, thanks for contributing this recipe. I made this cake yesterday. I've never had one before, so I didn't know quite what to expect. I have seen pictures and other recipes on the web, and this recipe was so similar to many German recipes that I read translated to English online. I've been told by European guests, that it is in the European preferrence of richness and sweetness. That said, I feel better! First, I thought it was not soft enough. there is no liquid other than eggs, sugar and butter, so it has a firm tight and somewhat dry texture like an old fashioned pound cake recipe, but it's not as sweet. This cake not very sweet, so those that are looking for a less sweet dessert, this is your recipe! The buttercream was outstanding, very rich and smooth and I'm excited to play around with that for other desserts. All in all, I'd make this cake again..it is absolutely stunning when sliced. The chocolate layer waves beautifully between the vanilla cake layer and the buttercream as it is supposed to do. I will tweak the recipe some to moisten and soften it a bit for my taste though.
This is darned near perfect Donauwellen Kuchen. I have never had it with thicken cherries however and it just didn't sound right, so I just placed the well drained cherries on top of the batter and slightly pushed them in. The cake is the perfect texture, nice and light and not overly sweet. It also makes the most perfect "waves" when baked. The filling is PERFECT!!! The topping was even the traditional topping. I find this topping VERY difficult when cutting the cake to serve (I get MUCH agreement on this from my German friends). I think perhaps I will try using a thick chocolate glaze next time. I have eaten this MANY times before, but this was my first attempt at preparing it and it will NOT be my last. Thank you SO much for posting this recipe, it is a gem.
This recipe, though traditional-- is not quite as good as the version handed down to my mother by a bavarian farmer's wife.<br/><br/>To simplify the recipe-- you can use commercial devil's food cake mix, as well as white cake mix (that uses eggs). The commercial mixes will give you a moister cake texture, that generally appeals better to the American palette.<br/><br/>Meanwhile for the frosting... if you can find it... the old trick mom uses is she makes a Dr. Oekter ORGANIC vanilla pudding mix-- these are available in specialty German stores and online (don't use the jello-based pudding mix-- and don't use the Oetker mousse mixes either). She then mixes a stick of butter into the pudding when its still warm. The frosting only sets in the fridge with the cold temperature. Cake tastes better 2-3 days sitting in the fridge-- somehow the cherry flavor seems to permeate it more.
I made the cake this past week, there is something wrong with the recipe regarding the cake part. There is no baking soda or baking powder used so its a very dense unrisen cake. Normally after speaking with a German relative this cake should have some kind of baking powder to make a lighter cake. The buttercream part was great. I would tweak this recipe slightly, use drain sour cherries pushed down in the batter, make a lighter marble cake, and add some whipped cream to the butter cream to give it more volume. Traditionally the whole cake is covered with a chocolate glaze that have waves put on top with the tines of a fork, I did that but it was very hard to cut the cake. Next time I will drizzle a mixture of semi sweet chocolate, sweet German chocolate and a teaspoon of coconut oil to make a chocolate glaze that I will drizzle on in a wave pattern.
After trying this recipe & not having great success, ( over all cake was a bit too mushy) I learned after asking my German neighbour, there is no filling in donauwellen, the drained cherries are placed on top of the batter in the pan before baking. I believe with this adjustment, my next attempt at donauwellen, will be more successful.