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Donauwelle (Snow White Cake)
Favorite childhood dessert

Donauwelle (Snow White Cake)

Donauwelle or Snow White Cake is a delicious layered dessert recipe made of pound cake, buttercream, sour cherries, and chocolate glaze.

Donauwelle (Snow White Cake)
I (Maja) grew up eating this dessert. Whenever we had a happy celebration, like a wedding, anniversaries, christenings, or birthday parties, my mom or my grandma, or grandma’s German friends, made this fabulous, wavy, layered cake. In the last couple of years, this tradition of baking Danube cake or Donauwelle decreased slightly, so we knew we had to make something to change that. This year’s cherry and sour cherry season is amazing, which gives us the perfect excuse to recreate the fantastic Donauwellen. The pound cake recipe is our family recipe, and the recipe for the buttercream and chocolate glaze is ours. We shared this recipe with my mom before posting it here on the blog, and we were super happy when we got her seal of approval; after all, she has way more experience with the cake than we do.

The best Donauwelle recipe

In our humble opinion, this is the best dessert you can make if you get your hands on delicious sour cherries. It can easily be made throughout the year. We love:

  • soft and delicious sour cherries slices with vanilla buttercream and chocolate glaze
  • the cake is soft, and the sour cherries make the flavor even more exciting and slightly tart
  • the buttercream is creamy and has the same consistency as a delicious vanilla pudding
  • the chocolate on top is soft, and it doesn't break
  • the perfect recipe for any day of the year
  • fancy enough for celebrations, weddings, baby shower, birthdays
  • feel free to use fresh sour cherries, sour cherries from a jar or frozen sour cherries

How to make Donauwelle at home

The Donauwelle is made of 5 delicious layers followed in this order:

  1. White cake batter
  2. Dark cake batter
  3. Pitted sour cherries
  4. Homemade buttercream
  5. Chocolate glaze

Making the white cake batter for Donauwelle (Snow White Cake)

Making the dark cake batter for Donauwelle (Snow White Cake)

Spreading the sour cherries on top of the cake batter for Donauwelle (Snow White Cake)

Baked cake batter Donauwelle (Snow White Cake)

Spreading the buttercream on Donauwelle (Snow White Cake)

Spreading the chocolate glaze on Donauwelle (Snow White Cake)

Donauwelle or Danube Cake origin

Donauwellen or Danube Cake is a fantastic dessert recipe originating from the german speaking area. It's extremely popular in Austria and Germany, where it got its name from a river called Danube (or Donau). Often, a wave pattern is made on top of the chocolate glaze, to represent the origin of the name - the river. Another name for this dessert is Schneewittchenkuchenor Snow White Cake, thanks to the beautiful white, black and red color of the cake. No matter how you name it, one thing is for sure. This dessert is fit for a queen or king. It's incredibly tasty. The original recipe calls for ingredients like flour, butter, eggs, cacao, sour cherries, buttercream, and chocolate glaze, and that's what you will find in this recipe too.

Donauwelle (Snow White Cake)

Danube Cake slice

Tips and tricks on how to always make a delicious Snow White Cake (Donauwelle)

  • All ingredients should be at room temperature - before starting the recipe, bring all the ingredients to room temperature, for at least 10 minutes. 
  • Drain the sour cherries - always drain the sour cherries well before arranging them on top of the cake. This way the cake won't be soggy and the layers will look prettier too. 
  • Cool the baked cake with the sour cherries before spreading the buttercream on top and cool it well again before spreading the melted chocolate on top.
  • Before adding the creamed butter to the pastry cream, place the pastry cream to room temperature for 10 - 15 minutes. This way it will be much easier to incorporate the butter.
  • Top the chilled buttercream with melted chocolate without using any equipment. Spread the chocolate on top by simply moving the pan around quickly until the chocolate is evenly spread.

How to store Donauwelle

Store Donauwelle in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. Before serving, place on room temperature for about 5 minutes for the cream and chocolate to soften slightly. 

Donauwelle (Snow White Cake) slices

Donauwelle recipe

Try these delicious cherry recipes too


Lets get cooking!

  • makes
  • preparation:
  • bake:
  • cooling:
  • total time:


  • sour cherries

    Add pitted sour cherries to a bowl along with sugar, Kirsch (optional), and cornstarch. Stir to combine and set aside until needed. If you are using sour cherries from the jar, you can leave this step out, just make sure to drain the cherries well before using.

    Feel free to use frozen pitted sour cherries too. Defrost and drain well before using it.
  • make the cake

    Prepare a baking pan approx (25 cm x 30 cm and 5 cm high OR 9-inch x 13-inch x 2-inch high). Line with parchment paper and grease on all sides. In a small bowl, stir to combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. In a large bowl, cream the softened butter with the sugar, and vanilla paste until pale, fluffy, and creamy, for about 5 minutes on high speed using an electric mixer or stand mixer. Gradually add the eggs. Add the next egg once the previous one is completely incorporated. Add the flour mixture and mix it in quickly, using an electric mixer or stand mixer. Don't overbeat the mixture.

  • spread the cake over the baking pan

    Pour half of the prepared cake batter into the prepared baking pan. Spread evenly using a spatula. Fold the unsweetened cacao powder into the rest of the cake batter to get an even brown cake batter. Pour the brown cake batter over the cake batter in the pan. Spread evenly using a spatula. Arrange the drained sour cherries on top. Place in the preheated oven on the middle rack. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes at 180 °C / 350 °F or until it is fluffy, yet firm when tested with your fingers. Remove the baked cake batter from the oven and set aside to cool.

  • make the buttercream

    While the cake is baking, make the pastry cream (click for the recipe). Make half of the pastry cream. You can make this step one day ahead and keep it chilled (covered with cling film) in the fridge until needed, but at least for one hour. Ten minutes before using, bring to room temperature. Add softened butter to a bowl. Cream the butter using an electric mixer. Mix for about 5 - 8 minutes or until creamy, fluffy and smooth. Working in batches of three, incorporated the creamed butter into the pastry cream. When all of the butter is incorporated, continue to mix for 3 - 4 minutes or until the cream is smooth and creamy. Spread the buttercream evenly over the chilled cake using a spatula. Place in the fridge for at least one hour or overnight.

    Feel free to use a different pastry cream recipe. You will need 400g or 14 ounces of pastry cream.
  • chocolate glaze

    Melt the chocolate chips and stir in the canola oil. While the chocolate is still slightly warm (but not hot), pour it over the chilled buttercream. Working fast, move the baking pan around so that the chocolate spreads evenly. Place in the fridge for one hour for the chocolate to set.

  • serve

    Cut the chilled Donauwelle into 15 slices and serve. Keep chilled in the fridge for up to 3 days. They are best served at room temperature.


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