Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
Prep time
Cook time
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This German Bienenstich or Bee Sting Cake recipe does not disappoint! It is made with an easy version of Brioche, a lightly sweetened yeast bread. A crunchy honey and almond topping is spread over the top of the cake before baking, and finally a rich and smooth Pastry Cream is spread between the split layers.

A few tips for making Bienenstich: 1 - The Pastry Cream can be prepared the day before however it is best if eaten within three days. I made the Pastry Cream the day before baking the cake. 2 - The Brioche dough will need to go through two risings (proofing,) therefore allow enough time in the day to complete the rising steps and baking. The baked cake may be cooled, covered, and stored at room temperature overnight if necessary before filling with the Pastry Cream. 3 - Start making the Honey-Almond Topping about 15 minutes before the end of the second dough rising (proofing.) 4 - The hot Honey-Almond Topping is spread evenly over the top of the brioche dough, however try to place a bit thinner layer of topping in the center, as too much weight will prevent the center of the cake from rising. If the center does not rise as much don’t worry, this is perfectly fine and the cake will still taste delicious. 5 - When assembling the cake, cut the top layer into 10 to 14 wedges, depending on how many people you are serving, and reassemble the wedges on top of the Pastry Cream layer. Precutting the top makes it easier to serve the cake so the Pastry Cream doesn’t squish out while cutting the cake.
Recipe type: Dessert | Yeasted Cake | Brioche | Pastry Cream
Serves: 10 to 14 servings
Small amount of vegetable shortening and flour for preparing pan
Pastry Cream:
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 5 large egg yolks.
  • 2 cups milk (preferably whole milk)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
Brioche Dough:
  • ½ cup milk (preferably whole milk) (110 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 envelope yeast (preferably quick rise yeast)
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) granulated sugar, divided
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoon size pieces.
Honey-Almond Topping:
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup honey (preferably clover honey)
  • 2 tablespoons whipping (heavy) cream
  • ⅛ teaspoon coarse salt, such as sea salt or coarse kosher salt
  • 1½ cups sliced almonds
Pastry Cream:
  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine cornstarch, ¼ cup sugar, and salt; whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks then add the cornstarch mixture and whisk until thoroughly blended. Set aside.
  3. In a medium, non-reactive, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low, combine the milk and remaining ¼ cup sugar. Bring the milk mixture to a simmer stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, remove from the heat.
  4. Temper the eggs: Very slowly, in a thin stream, pour about ½ cup of the hot milk mixture into the beaten eggs while quickly whisking the two together with a wire whisk. Return the egg mixture back to the rest of the hot milk, pouring back slowly while quickly whisking the two mixtures together. Return to medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula in a figure eights pattern around the edge of the pan and into the center, making sure to scrape the rubber spatula across the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until the mixture just comes to a simmer. Continue to cook while stirring constantly for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Tip: A heat-resistant rubber spatula is best for stirring because it can scrape the entire bottom of the pot to help prevent the egg from clumping together and coagulating. Keeping the heat on medium low will help prevent the eggs from becoming scrambled.
  5. Finishing the Pastry Cream: Add the vanilla and butter and stir until melted and completely blended. Let Pastry Cream cool to room temperature, stirring frequently while cooling. Or, Pour the Pastry Cream into a medium-sized bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface while the cream is cooling to prevent a skin from forming. The pastry cream will thicken as it cools.
  6. The pastry cream should be cooled to room temperature and refrigerated to thoroughly chill before using to fill the cake. The pastry cream may also be made and refrigerated the day before baking the cake or for up to 3 days before using.
Brioche Dough:
  1. In a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine warm milk, yeast, and 1 tablespoon sugar; stir with a rubber spatula and let sit until yeast is dissolved, about 10 minutes. Add flour, remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, and salt. With the mixer on low blend until the ingredients are mixed. Add the eggs, increase to medium speed and beat until the eggs are combined. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to beat from 5 to 8 minutes or until a smooth dough forms. The dough will be very soft.
  2. Place dough in a well greased bowl (grease with vegetable shortening or butter.) Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise (proof) in a warm place until doubled in volume, 1 to 1½ hours. Tip: create a warm environment in your oven by heating oven up to 100 degrees F.
  3. While the dough is rising, prepare one 9 inch round springform pan with at least 3 inch sides; lightly grease the pan with shortening and dust with flour.
  4. When the dough has completed the first rising, stir the dough with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon a few times to deflate it. Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and gently pat it with the rubber spatula or wooden spoon to spread the dough over the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  5. About 15 minutes before the dough has finished the second rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a foil-lined baking sheet in the oven while preheating; the springform pan will be placed on the baking sheet to catch any drips from the Honey-Almond Topping. Also prepare the Honey-Almond Topping.
Honey-Almond Topping:
  1. In a medium size heavy-bottomed pan over low heat, combine the butter, sugar, honey, cream, and salt. Stir and heat until the butter has melted.
  2. Increase the heat to medium and continue stirring while bringing the mixture to a boil. Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture reaches a temperature of 245 degrees F, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. Remove pan from the heat and immediately stir in the almonds. Set aside to cool about 5 minutes so the topping is not scalding hot when placed on the dough. Stir the mixture frequently while cooling. Be careful, the sugar mixture is extremely hot and will burn your skin if you touch it.
  3. When the dough has completed the second rising, drop the Honey-Almond Topping by small spoonfuls onto the top of the dough, spacing the topping as evenly as possible however try to place a bit thinner layer of topping in the center, as too much weight will prevent the center of the cake from rising fully. Let the spoonfuls sit where they fall, don’t try to spread the topping as it may deflate the dough underneath the topping.
  4. Bake: Bake 30 minutes or until the Honey-Almond Topping is golden brown and a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pan on a wire cooling rack to cool for 15 to 20 minutes then slide a small kitchen knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it and remove the sides of the springform pan. Let cake finish cooling completely before splitting and filling with pastry cream.
  5. Assembly: Using a serrated knife, slice the cake horizontally in half. Set the top half aside and place the bottom half on a serving plate.
  6. Remove the pastry cream from the refrigerator and whisk until it is smooth, 10 to 30 seconds. Spread the pastry cream evenly over the bottom cake layer. Place the top half of the cake gently on top of the pastry cream. Tip: with a sharp kitchen knife, cut the top layer into 10 to 14 wedges depending on how many people you are serving, and reassemble the wedges on top of the Pastry Cream layer. Precutting the top makes it easier to serve the cake so the Pastry Cream doesn’t squish out while cutting the cake.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate leftovers.
Adapted From: Malgieri, Nick, Perfect Cakes, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2002,
Recipe Notes
Pan: One 9 inch springform pan Pan Prep: Greased and Floured Oven Temp: 350° Storage: Cover and Refrigerate

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