This homemade Himmelstorte recipe has such a fitting name. Translated from German, Himmelstorte – Heaven Cake, is the perfect name because each bite tastes like a slice of heaven.
The light and fluffy texture of the soft, yellow cake layers with alternating meringue and raspberry whipped cream resemble the airy clouds in the sky. Topped with sliced golden almonds for a bit of delicate crunch and flavor, this cake is memorable and is absolutely a celebration cake.
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We love meringue recipes from Boccone Dolce Cake, melt-in-your-mouth Meringue Shell Cookies, or even a simple Eton Mess– they are so delicate and satisfying. If you are a fan of delicate, sweet meringue, you have got to make this Himmelstorte – Heaven Cake recipe!
Himmelstorte (Heaven Cake)
My husband and I first tried this cake while on vacation for our 20th wedding anniversary (Wow, 20 years of marriage has gone by so quickly, time sure flies when you’re having fun!). This Himmelstorte was love at first bite. After finding a recipe (in English – that was tricky!) and adding our own touches to the recipe, here is why we love it:
- Light and airy dessert, which is great during the summer or after a large meal
- Make ahead – The cake layers can be prepped ahead of time
- Easy to assemble and decorate
- Customizable – The fruit in the filling can be easily changed to your taste
Himmelstorte -Meringue Cake Video
Between the cake, meringue, and whipped cream, there might seem like there is a lot of mixing, but you will be surprised at how easy it is to make this Himmelstorte recipe. Your stand mixer does most of the work – Watch Natasha make this recipe and see for yourself!
What is Himmelstorte?
Himmelstorte is a German cake recipe with many names and closely related variations. It is also called Heaven Cake (in German Himmel- sky/heaven + torte- cake), Hannchen-Jensen Torte (giving credit to the recipe’s creator), or even Schwimmbadtorte (Swimming Pool Cake). Hanna Jensen ran a Bed and Breakfast on Germany’s North Sea coast. She was known to serve tea and this two-tier meringue, fruit, and whipped cream cake to her guests- and the happy guests shared her recipe around the globe.
As with many recipes, there can be discrepancies in the origin, ingredients, or flavors and this recipe is no different. No matter what you call this dessert, the essential features of Himmelstorte are the light and airy layers of cake, meringue, whipped cream, and fruit.
This recipe Is loosely based on Luisa Weiss’ recipe from her cookbook, Classic German Baking.
Pull your eggs and dairy out to bring to room temperature and get your stand mixer ready because there is a lot of mixing to do in this Himmelstorte recipe.
For the meringue cake layers:
- Butter – unsalted, softened
- Sugar – for sweetness
- Eggs – room temperature, separated into egg whites and egg yolks
- Vanilla – we like to use our homemade vanilla for the best taste
- Flour – all-purpose or gluten-free if you prefer
- Baking powder – leavening ingredient
- Salt – fine sea salt to enhance the flavor of the cake and meringue
- Milk – room temperature, and you can use whole milk or low-fat
- Confectioners’ sugar – to sweeten the meringue, plus more to dust the top
- Sliced almonds – add a delicate crunch to this light and airy recipe
For the raspberry whipped cream:
- Heavy whipping cream – the fat content adds structure and light and airy texture after whipping
- Sugar – to sweeten the whipped cream
- Vanilla – for the signature flavor of whipped cream
- Raspberries – divided, keep a handful to garnish the top of your cake
Use light-colored metal baking pans. Darker pans will brown the cake too much. If using dark pans, bake for 28-30 minutes.
How to Make Himmelstorte
To make the cake and meringue layers:
- Prepare – Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and line the bottoms and sides of two, 9-inch round cake pans or springform pans with parchment paper. Add a little butter under the parchment strips where they overlap to keep them in place.
- Mix the cake ingredients – In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Next, add vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Combine – Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on medium/low speed just until well incorporated. While mixing, drizzle in the milk and mix until blended. Divide the batter between your prepared cake pans and spread evenly in the bottom. The batter will be thick.
- Make your meringue – Clean the bowl of your stand mixer and beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Increase to medium-high speed and add a pinch of salt then gradually add the powdered sugar. Beat until smooth, glossy, and thick with nearly stiff peaks, about 3-4 minutes. Divide meringue into your 2 cake pans and spread evenly. Using the back of a spoon, make peaks and mounds then sprinkle the top with almonds.
- Bake – Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until meringue and almonds are golden. The meringue will not be fully dried out. Remove from the oven and cool the pans on wire racks until room temperature then remove the cakes from the pans.
Use a kitchen scale to help divide the batter and meringue evenly between your cake pans. This will ensure even-sized layers and an even baked time.
Raspberry whipped cream filling and assembly:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine cold heavy whipping cream with granulated sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until it starts to thicken then increase to medium-high speed and beat another 2-3 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Don’t overbeat or it will turn buttery. Fold in most of your raspberries, setting aside a handful to use as garnish.
- To assemble, first, place the bottom cake layer on a cake platter meringue-side-up and cover it with all of the whipped cream filling, spreading it evenly over the surface. Place the next layer on top. Dust the top lightly with powdered sugar and scatter the reserved raspberries over the top.
If your whipped cream becomes stiff from over-beating the heavy whipping cream, try adding more whipping cream to the mixer to help loosen the mixture and bring it back to a soft, smooth texture. Start with a small amount and check the consistency every 10-20 seconds and add more as needed. If it is pale yellow in color, it is probably too far gone to save. Embrace it, and keep whipping it. Congratulations, you just made butter.
Variations of Himmelstorte
While there are many variations of this recipe, the most commonly found version is Himmelstorte mit himbeeren, or Heaven Cake with Raspberries. Other delicious substitution options based on your taste include:
- Berries – blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries (pitted and halved), or poached gooseberries
- Citrus fruits – the original recipe used 2 cans of drained and halved mandarin oranges
- Tropical fruits – kiwi, pineapple, mango cut into small bite-sized pieces
- Stone fruits – apricots, peaches, nectarines
- Fruit compote – a mix of your favorite fruits reduced to a compote, or use your favorite jam
Beat meringue just until nearly stiff peaks form. If you over-mix the egg whites they will lose moisture which affects the meringue’s crispness and could cause it to collapse.
I have tested this recipe with 1/4 tsp cream of tartar and without it. The finished product remained the same so I concluded it wasn’t necessary in this recipe. If you prefer to add it, add it to the egg whites right away, before you start beating.
This recipe really tastes best with fresh or canned fruit.
To ensure the cake comes out of the pan easily without breaking it, use a cake release tool or a plastic knife, or a thin-edged spatula and run it around the edges for easy removal.
Make-Ahead and Storage
You can make the cake layers twenty-four hours ahead of time. Let them cool to room temperature in their cake pans. After they have cooled, loosely cover them with plastic wrap and leave them at room temperature in a low-humidity environment.
Make the whipped cream filling and assemble your Himmelstorte preferably within 2 hours of serving the cake.
- To Refrigerate: Cover any leftover cake and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- Freezing: We do not recommend freezing this cake, as the meringue is quite fragile and the moisture could damage it when thawing.
Make this Himmelstort recipe for a birthday, baby shower, bridal shower, anniversary… or any excuse you can find to taste your own slice of heaven.
More Meringue Recipes
If you love this Himmelstorte – Heaven Cake recipe, then you won’t want to miss these other meringue recipes.
Himmelstorte- Heaven Cake Recipe (VIDEO)
Our Heaven Cake recipe has light and airy layers of cake, meringue, and raspberry whipped cream. This Himmelstorte is truly heavenly.
Servings: 12 slices
For the cake and meringue layers:
For the whipped cream filling:
To make the cake and meringue layers:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and line two, 9-inch round, preferably light-colored cake pans with parchment paper. Line the bottom with a round of parchment and line the sides with parchment strips. Add a little butter under the strips where they overlap to keep them together.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Beat in the yolks one at a time and beat to incorporate with each addition then add vanilla. Scrape down the bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on medium/low speed just until well incorporated. While mixing, drizzle in the milk and mix until blended. Scrape down the bowl then divide the batter between your prepared cake pans* and spread the thick batter evenly in the bottom.
In a separate very clean mixing bowl (preferably the bowl of your stand mixer), add egg whites. Beat on medium speed until foamy. Increase to medium-high speed and add a pinch of salt then gradually add the powdered sugar by the spoonful. Continue to beat until smooth, glossy, thick, and nearly stiff peaks form, 3-4 minutes. Divide the meringue between your 2 cake pans and spread to the edges. Use the back of a spoon to create peaks and mounds. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top.
Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until meringue and almonds are golden. The meringue will not be fully dried out. Remove from the oven and cool the pans on wire racks until room temperature then run a cake release tool around the edges to loosen the cake and remove from the pans.
To make the raspberry whipped cream filling:
In a large mixing bowl, combine cold heavy whipping cream with granulated sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until it starts to thicken then increase to medium-high speed and beat another 2-3 minutes or until stiff peaks form – don’t overbeat. Fold in most of your raspberries (Be sure to set aside a handful to use as garnish).
Set the bottom cake layer on a cake platter meringue-side-up and cover it with all of the raspberry whipped cream, spreading it evenly over the surface. Place the next layer on top, meringue-side-up. Dust the top lightly with powdered sugar and scatter the reserved raspberries over the top. Serve immediately (or within 2 hours). Cover and refrigerate any leftover cake in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
418kcal Calories42g Carbs6g Protein26g Fat