Ahhhh…. What do you get when you couple moist chocolate-vanilla marbled cake with cherries, German butter cream (never too sweet) and top it with melted chocolate?
A slice of PURE BLISS called DONAUWELLEN!
What? You think this is a long word???
How about “Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän?” That’s right. You have just attempted to read Germany’s (officially!) longest word. Makes baking a cake seem like child’s play, huh!
So why is this heavenly cake called “DONAUWELLEN” (Danube Waves)?
Because it has a wave-like appearance when sliced. Check it out!
So how do you get these waves??? It’s EASY!
You spread yellow cake batter into a lasagna pan and top it with a batch of chocolate batter. Cherries are sprinkled on top of the chocolate batter and – as the cake bakes – the cherries “drag” the chocolate batter with them to the bottom of the cake. This creates a wave-like appearance that is very pretty when sliced. The neat thing is that most of the cherries are actually “encased” in chocolate batter.
This cake is as authentic as it gets and was a staple in “The German’s” home as a child.
As a matter of fact, it was the very first cake Andrea learned to make herself – at the mere age of 8! Since there is a difference between some German and American ingredients (especially flour and butter), Andrea has adapted this recipe to American standards. It comes out moist and delicious every time!
And guess what! We are also offering SHORTCUTS for your convenience! (After all, we completely understand that not everyone likes to spend their life in the kitchen just because WE do!)
SO HERE’S THE RECIPE !!!
(With step by step instructions and pictures, just for you!)
INGREDIENTS FOR MARBLE CAKE WITH CHERRIES:
- 1 ½ sticks of butter (12 tbsp) – at room temperature (we don’t care if you use salted or unsalted…just don’t add additional salt if you use salted!)
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 extra-large eggs or 3 large eggs plus 1 yolk
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups sour cream (you can substitute 4% Greek (plain) yogurt for a healthier version but what’s the point? That would be like drinking diet soda with a pint of ice cream!)
- 2 ½ cups cake flour (not self-rising!)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt if using unsalted butter.
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 (24 oz.) jar “Dark Morello Cherries”, drained well. (I get these from Trader Joe’s) You can also purchase jars of (tart!) cherries from your local supermarket. Alternately, you can use frozen (unsweetened, pitted) cherries. (Keep frozen and remove ice crystals if any. You want these as dry as possible!)
You can make this cake using CAKE MIX! This quick and easy shortcut tastes great. (Don’t worry! Once assembled, that WOW factor is still there!)
Simply use 1 box of yellow cake mix and 1 box of chocolate cake mix. Prepare both batters (in separate bowls) according to package directions. Follow the steps below for “layering and baking”.
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch lasagna pan.
(TIP: At your craft store you can find a great product called “CAKE RELEASE” in the cake decorating section and it actually works great! I’m not supposed to give away the brand but you’ll find it. )
Cream butter and sugar together for a few minutes until light and fluffy. (Got a Kitchen Aid? Use the paddle attachment and beat for approx. 5 minutes)
Add eggs – one at a time – and incorporate well between each addition.
Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl here and there!!!
Once the eggs are fully incorporated, add sour cream (or yogurt – blechhhh!) and vanilla. Mix well. I like to use a pure vanilla extract with specks of vanilla bean. It’s the closest thing to real vanilla bean!
The batter should be nice and fluffy once the sour cream has been mixed in!
In separate bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder & soda (and salt.) Mix lightly.
With mixer on lowest setting, add the flour mix to the batter and mix until JUST combined but still lumpy.
To assure that the batter is completely mixed, I finish mixing with a spatula. This step is very important! Over-mixing will make this batter tough and you do NOT want that!
Now spread half of the batter into the greased lasagna pan and set aside.
Add 2 tbsp of cocoa powder and 2 tbsp of milk to the remaining batter in the bowl. Mix with spatula until just incorporated.
LAYERING & BAKING:
Drop dollops of the cocoa batter over the yellow batter in pan and carefully spread out.
It’s easier if you spread the dollops out all over the cake…)
- Dry the cherries (yes, one more time!) on a paper towel and sprinkle evenly over chocolate batter. (No need to press in – they’ll sink during baking!)
Bake for approx. 35 – 40 minutes. (Check: Insert toothpick in center of the cake – if it comes out clean, the cake is done.) Let cool completely before assembling!
GERMAN BUTTER CREAM
- 2 boxes vanilla pudding mix (Don’t bother bringing home “instant” pudding or pre-made. No shortcuts here, Lassies!)
- 3 cups whole milk (if you want it to taste good…if you don’t care, go ahead and use skim milk. Just don’t complain to me if it’s not as rich and yummy tasting as you expected! I don’t want to hear it…)
- 8 oz (2 sticks) of butter at room temperature (TIP: We recommend using EUROPEAN butter for this recipe. IRISH, FRENCH…whatever you can find at your local store will do. American butter contains more water than its European counterpart and that’s not ideal for mixing this cream. Hey! Calm down! We did not say you CAN’T use American butter…it’s just harder to mix to a smooth consistency, that’s all! Use it if you want… we don’t care… just trying to be helpful with the tips!)
- Cook the vanilla pudding according to package directions using 2 boxes of mix but only 3 cups milk. (We want it to be nice and thick!) Remember to cook on LOW! Don’t burn it or it will ruin the taste of the cream! I know that some of you are impatient and it is very easy to burn milk. Slow and steady now!!!
- Transfer the cooked pudding to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. (Press the plastic wrap directly on the pudding – this will prevent “skin” from forming on top of the pudding while it’s cooling. If you don’t have plastic wrap, no biggie. Just be sure to stir the pudding every few minutes. (You can stir that silly “skin” right back into the pudding, no worries.)
***THE SECRET TO PERFECT GERMAN BUTTER CREAM***
1. The pudding and butter MUST be at the same exact temperature! (That’s easy…simply leave both out for a couple of hours and voila! Life should always be this easy, huh!)
With a wooden spoon (if you have one) “beat” the softened butter in a bowl until shiny and smooth.
Now mix the fluffy butter into the pudding – one spoon full at a time – with a wooden spoon or spatula. Be sure to incorporate well with each addition.
That’s it! You now have German Butter Cream! It is buttery rich like its American counterpart but it’s also got the wonderful vanilla taste and richness of custard. And – most importantly – it’s not nearly as sweet as American butter cream that is made from butter and powdered sugar only. While American butter cream is a great frosting, this version makes an awesome filling you will not get sick of!
Oh! And if the butter cream does not blend too well, (it almost looks like sour milk in hot coffee but a lot finer) it means that the pudding and butter were not at the same temperature or it tells us that you used American butter which contains more water! Now you know why we recommended using “Euro-butter”! Don’t you worry, once spread on the cake and chilled, it’s all the same and it tastes great either way!)
- 1 (12 oz.) bag of good quality chocolate chips (mini chips melt even quicker!)
- 1 tbsp. Crisco or vegetable oil
Melt and mix together in double boiler. NO PICTURES! You can’t convince me that you never saw melted chocolate before! Come on! You never sat on a chocolate bar????
(And what do you mean what is a double boiler??? It’s a saucepan, filled with a couple of inches of boiling water. Place a (heatproof) bowl on top – make sure the bowl is big enough so the steam does not escape. The bowl should be large enough so it does not touch the bottom of the pot – ever! The heat from the boiling water will melt the chocolate in the bowl. Why don’t we like steam? Because even the tiniest drop of water will cause the chocolate to harden within seconds. And that is not “good spreads” as Alton Brown would say… Nope! It’s not.
So absolutely no water, you hear? And don’t even THINK about adding butter instead of the oil or Crisco. Did you not read what I said earlier???? Butter contains WATER!
Geez, now I sound just like my grandmother who taught me how to make this cake when I was a little pipsqueak! (You should have heard her when she saw the mess I made with the chocolate!!!) God bless that woman! I miss her terribly! She was FAMOUS for her Butter Cream Tortes around town and made them for many weddings, communions and other celebrations. Her cakes were amazing!
Melt the chocolate and Crisco (or oil) in microwave but never at full power! Set power to 30% and stir every 30 seconds. YES, EVERY 30 SECONDS! (Unless you want the chocolate to burn…)
Don’t want to bother with Crisco and other silly things? Buy a bag of melting chocolate from the craft store! (The kind you use for molds and candy making or for chocolate fountains)
It melts way faster and easier than regular chocolate and contains more fat which makes it easier to spread. BUT! Remember, if you are a chocolate connoisseur, you may want to stick with good quality chocolate chips. It’s much better than the melting chocolate version!
OK! NOW TO THE ASSEMBLY OF THIS LOVELY THING!
Don’t worry, this is the EASIEST part!!!
Spread the butter cream over the cooled cake. Smooth out with a spatula.
Now pour the melted chocolate all over the butter cream. Ahhhh… this is a wonderful experience. (Hint: Have someone else pour and stick your tongue under the steady steam of chocolate. Don’t worry, I did not do that since nobody was around when I made this cake…just sayin’!)
Spread a thin layer of the (cooled!) melted chocolate over the entire cake to cover it completely. (If the chocolate is too hot, it will melt the butter cream so be patient! Let it cool slightly!)
OPTIONAL: Draw a fork over the (still soft) chocolate in a wave pattern.
Enjoy the heck out of it!!!
Life is meant to be sweet!