Waves Across The Danube Cake (Donauwellen)

So it started with a trip to The Yarn Cake, Scotland’s only dedicated knitting cafe, which is within a stone’s throw from my flat.
My husband and I, along with his parents, were out for our regular Sunday morning Coffee & Cake. We hadn’t been to The Yarn Cake before, so we decided to give it a go. None of us are serious knitters so this was purely a coffee & cake – based visit!

On offer was Waves Across The Danube Cake (Donauwelle)…
I can only describe it as a thing of beauty, which tasted heavenly!
A base of vanilla and chocolate sponge with juicy black cherries sunk in to it, topped with a vanilla custard and a chocolate glaze.

I recently decided to try to recreate this beautiful cake. I found a few recipes online, and below is my interpretation of the recipes I have found.

All the recipes I looked at used instant vanilla pudding powder for the vanilla custard!
Now, I am not entirely sure what instant vanilla pudding powder is. There was mention of Angel Delight in some recipes…
I decided to make my own creme patisserie, and followed my Dad’s recommendation of Delia Smith’s recipe*.
I was surprised at how easy and quick this was to make, and I feel, worth the effort.

The Recipe




  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 275g plain flour
  • 7g baking powder
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 200g black cherries in light syrup, drained

  • creme patisserie* see below
  • 200g dark chocolate


Preheat the oven to 170°c.
Grease and line a 20cm/8in square, shallow cake tin.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Slowly beat in the eggs a little at a time, and then the vanilla extract.
Combine the flour and baking powder, sift in to the mixture, and fold in.
Mix in the milk so that the mixture is not too dry.
Separate the batter into two batches.
Add the cocoa powder to one batch, and mix well.

Transfer the vanilla batter to the cake tin and spread out evenly.

Spread the chocolate mixture over the top.

Arrange the cherries on top – pushing gently in to the mixture to create the effect of waves from rippling the sponge.

Bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes.
A fine skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
Cool in the tin for five minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
Leave until completely cool.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
Spread the creme patisserie over the sponge, followed by the melted chocolate. Create a wave pattern across the chocolate layer using a fork.

Pop in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.


*Creme Patisserie Recipe


425ml milk
1 vanilla pod
5 egg yolks
110g caster sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp cornflour
10g unsalted butter


Pour the milk into a pan with the vanilla pod. Bring to the boil, then take the pan off the heat and leave for the milk to infuse.

Whisk the egg yolks together with the caster sugar until it is thick and creamy. Gradually whisk in the flour and cornflour.

Remove the vanilla pod from the milk after scraping some of the seeds into the milk. Pour the infused milk into the egg yolk mixture – stirring vigorously as you pour. Return the mixture to a clean pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat (stirring all the time). Simmer for 3 minutes, continue to beat briskly.

Take the pan off the heat and beat in the butter. Transfer the cream to a bowl and lay a buttered sheet of greaseproof paper over the surface, to prevent a skin from forming. Leave to cool.


3 thoughts on “Waves Across The Danube Cake (Donauwellen)

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