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Bee Sting Cake

This delicious Bee Sting Cake is made with a yeast risen cake base layered with a creamy custard filling. Topped with a sweet honey almond glaze, this cake is perfect any occasion!

Slice of cake with almonds on a plate.

German Bee Sting Cake (Bienenstich)

When you hear the words “bee sting”, we’re sure happy thoughts aren’t crossing your mind unless you’re talking about a bee sting cake!

So what exactly is in a bee sting cake?

Also known as a Bienenstich, this cake is a German classic that has been around for centuries. The name literally means “bee sting” in German, which comes from the characteristic beehive shape of the cake as well as the fact that it’s traditionally made with a honey glaze.

The cake base is a simple yeast cake recipe that’s filled with rich pastry custard and finally topped with crunchy almonds. Serve bee sting cake with a cup of dark chocolate coffee, a chai latte or peach tea, but we think it would be just as delicious with a cold glass of milk!

How To Make A Bee Sting Cake From Scratch

To Make the Custard:

  1. In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, whisk the milk, butter, and vanilla. Whisk constantly to ensure the ingredients don’t burn. Once the milk has started to bubble, take the pan off of the heat.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, ¼ cup of heavy cream, cornstarch, and salt together in a large bowl then slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the bowl, whisking the entire time to prevent the egg yolks from curdling.
  3. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve back into the pan and return the pan to the heat. Continue whisking until it has thickened and has started to bubble.
  4. Pour the custard into a shallow dish then cover with plastic wrap and press it down on top so that the custard doesn’t form a film on top. Transfer it to an ice bath until it’s room temperature. Then, refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Collage showing how to make custard.

To Make the Cake Base:

  1. Whisk the warm milk, sugar and yeast together in the bowl of your stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl. Allow it to sit, undisturbed, for 5-10 minutes until the yeast is tan and frothy. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla, and salt until fully combined.
  2. Change to a dough hook attachment, then add the flour. Gradually stir in 1 tablespoon of the butter at a time and continue kneading on medium speed for 4-5 more minutes. The dough will be very sticky, but do not add any more flour or the cake will be tough and dense.
  3. Butter a large bowl. Scrape the dough out of the mixer and transfer it into the buttered bowl. Cover and allow it to rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and lightly flour a countertop. Turn the dough out onto the countertop and knead it 3-4 times. Dust a rolling pin then roll the dough out into an 8-inch circle. Place a sheet of parchment paper into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan then spray the entire pan generously with non-stick cooking spray. Place the dough on top of the parchment paper and set it aside while you make the glaze.
Collage showing how to make Bee Sting Cake batter.

To Make the Almond Glaze:

  1. Melt the butter, sugar, and honey together in a medium saucepan until it starts to bubble. Stir in the almonds and gently pour the almond mix on top of the dough. Make sure the almonds are evenly spread out but do not press the almonds into the dough or the cake will fall in on top.
Collage showing how to make almond glaze and custard filling.

Bake and Assemble The Bee Sting Cake:

  1. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges and top have turned a light golden brown. Allow the cake to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing it from the pan and slicing it in half horizontally using a serrated knife. Place the bottom half of the cake on a serving plate or a cake stand. 
  2. Whip the remaining ¼ cup of heavy cream from the custard ingredients together with the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the cooled and set custard to a medium bowl then fold in the whipped cream until smooth. It should be very thick and hold its shape.
  4. Spread the custard filling onto the bottom half of the cake. Place the top half of the cake over the custard filling and dust with a bit of powdered sugar before slicing and serving.
Collage showing how to assemble a bee sting cake.

Bee Sting Cake Tips

  1. When mixing the dough, it will be very sticky. This is normal, so don’t add any additional flour to the base or it will become tough and dense.
  2. The cake is best served within a day or two so that it doesn’t become too dry.
  3. Check the expiration date on the yeast. Expired yeast will not activate causing the cake not to rise.
  4. If you don’t have a springform pan, you can use a regular cake pan. Just line it with parchment paper and be sure to grease it well so the cake doesn’t stick.

Variations

  • If you want a more pronounced almond flavor, use almond extract instead of vanilla extract in both the batter and glaze or add a tablespoon or two of amaretto liqueur.
  • You can also substitute different kinds of honey in the glaze for a different flavor. Try using clover honey or orange blossom honey.
Side view of a cut bee sting cake.

Storage and Reheating

Storing: Cooked and cooled cake can be stored cover in the refrigerator for up to three days.

To Freeze Before Baking: Prepare the dough as written, and arrange it in the springform pan. Then, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or cling wrap followed by aluminum foil. The dough will stay good for about 2 months. Thaw by placing the dough in the refrigerator overnight.

To Freeze After Baking: Allow the assembled bee sting cake to cool completely. Then, freeze it for 1 hour (flash freeze). Wrap tightly in plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil. The cake will stay fresh for about 2 months.

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Top down view of a slice of cake on a plate.

Bee Sting Cake

Yield: 1 (9-inch) Cake
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Rise and Cool Time: 6 hours 40 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes

Our Bee Sting Cake is made with a yeast risen cake base, a custard filling, and topped with a sweet honey almond glaze.

Ingredients

Custard Filling

  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream, divided
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Cake

  • ½ cup warm milk (110 - 115°F)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons dry, active yeast
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Honey Almond Glaze

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

Instructions

To Make the Custard:

  1. In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, whisk the milk, butter and vanilla. Whisk constantly to ensure the ingredients don’t burn. Once the milk has started to bubble, take the pan off of the heat.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, ¼ cup of heavy cream, cornstarch and salt together in a large bowl then slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the bowl, whisking the entire time to prevent the egg yolks from curdling.
  3. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve back into the pan and return the pan to the heat. Continue whisking until it has thickened and has started to bubble.
  4. Pour the custard into a shallow dish then cover with plastic wrap and press it down on top so that the custard doesn’t form a film on top.
  5. Transfer it to an ice bath until it's room temperature. Then, refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

To Make the Cake:

  1. In the meantime, make the cake by whisking the milk, sugar and yeast together in the bowl of your stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Allow it to sit, undisturbed, for 5-10 minutes until the yeast is tan and frothy.
  3. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla and salt. Then, use a dough hook to incorporate the flour.
  4. Gradually stir in 1 tablespoon of the butter at a time and continue kneading on medium speed for 4-5 more minutes. (The dough will be very sticky, but do not add any more flour or the cake will be tough and dense.)
  5. Butter a large bowl. Scrape the dough out of the mixer and transfer it into the buttered bowl. Cover and allow it to rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and lightly flour a countertop. Turn the dough out onto the countertop and knead it 3-4 times. Dust a rolling pin then roll the dough out into an 8-inch circle.
  7. Place a sheet of parchment paper into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan then spray the entire pan generously with non-stick cooking spray.
  8. Place the dough on top of the parchment paper then make the almond glaze topping.

To Make the Almond Glaze:

  1. Melt the butter, sugar and honey together in a medium saucepan until it starts to bubble. Stir in the almonds and gently pour the almond mix on top of the dough.
  2. Make sure the almonds are evenly spread out, but do not press the almonds into the dough or the cake will fall in on top.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges and top have turned a light golden brown.
  4. Allow the cake cool for at least 30 minutes before removing it from the pan and slicing it in half horizontally using a serrated knife. 

Assembly:

  1. Place the bottom half of the cake on a serving plate or a cake stand. 
  2. Whip the remaining ¼ cup of heavy cream from the custard ingredients together with the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the cooled and set custard to a medium bowl then fold in the whipped cream until smooth. It should be very thick and hold its shape.
  4. Spread the custard filling onto the bottom half of the cake. Place the top half of the cake over the custard filling and dust with a bit of powdered sugar before slicing and serving.
  5. Serve chilled. See post for storage options.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 slice of cake. Actual calories will vary.

*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

*Photos courtesy of Karla Rae Photography.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 633Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 202mgSodium: 257mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 3gSugar: 44gProtein: 12g

*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.

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