German Bienenstich Kuchen (Bee Sting Cake)

German bienenstich kuchen or bee sting cake
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  • Total: 2 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 90 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Servings: 24 servings

This lovely rendition of bee sting cake, or bienenstich kuchen, is a yeast-raised cake baked in an American 13- by 9-inch pan, then split and filled with a pastry and whipped-cream mixture. All ingredients can be found in American supermarkets, which makes this a German cake that is easy to put together.

The cake takes about 1 1/2 hours of total hands-on time, 50 minutes to bake, and a few hours to chill the pastry cream and cool the cake. To make things a little easier, you might want to make the cake and/or the filling the day before assembling it.


  • For the Pastry Cream:
  • 1 1/2 cups (340 milliliters) half and half
  • 1/2 cup (90 grams) white sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 large egg yolk (room temperature)
  • 3 tablespoons (30 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
  • 1 cup (226 grams) heavy whipping cream
  • For the Cake:
  • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) instant yeast
  • 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (500 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 7 1/2 tablespoons (100 grams) butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (75 grams) honey
  • 1 cup (225 milliliters) milk (lukewarm but not hot)
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (4 grams) salt
  • For the Almond Topping:
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 grams) honey
  • 9 tablespoons (125 grams) butter
  • 2 cups (150 to 200 grams) almond (slices or slivers)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, it is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and assembly.

Make the Pastry Cream

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the half and half, sugar, and vanilla bean. Stir constantly to dissolve the sugar.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs, egg yolk, flour, and salt until smooth.

  4. Temper the egg mixture by adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the hot half and half mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly.

  5. Pouring in a thin stream and whisking constantly, stir the egg mixture into the saucepan with the remaining hot half and half mixture.

  6. Keep stirring until the mixture starts to thicken; do not let it boil. When it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove it from heat.

  7. Pour the pastry cream into a bowl set on top of an ice cube-filled bowl. Stir several times.

  8. Place plastic wrap over the pastry cream so that it touches the surface to prevent a skin from forming. When the pastry cream has cooled down some, remove it from the ice bath and store it in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.

    Note: the heavy whipping cream will be incorporated into the pastry cream when assembling the cake.

Make the Cake Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the instant yeast and flour.

  3. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter and honey in the microwave until just melted.

  4. Stir in the lukewarm milk. Add the egg and salt, and whisk well. This mixture should have a temperature of 100 F/38 C.

  5. Add the liquid mixture to the bowl of flour and yeast. Mix on low in a stand mixer (or with a wooden spoon) until a shaggy dough forms.

  6. Knead until the dough becomes smooth and pliable and comes away from the bowl.

  7. Form the dough into a ball, oil the surface, and place in a clean bowl.

  8. Cover with a clean cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Make the Almond Topping

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, honey, and butter.

  3. Heat and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Continue boiling for several minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn.

  4. Add the almonds and vanilla extract, stirring to coat. Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm.

Bake the Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a 13- by 9-inch pan with cooking spray. Roll the risen dough out into a 13- by 9-inch rectangle.

  2. Place the dough in the pan, pushing it so the edges are slightly higher than the middle.

  3. Spread the lukewarm almond topping evenly over the top of the dough.

  4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Test for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the center of the cake; if it comes out clean, the cake is done. Remove from oven and let the cake cool completely.

  5. Using two spatulas, carefully remove the entire cake from the pan, moving it to a wax paper-coated surface or cutting board.

Assemble the Cake

  1. Whip 1 cup heavy whipping cream until very stiff, but stop whipping before it becomes clumpy and starts to turn into butter.

  2. Stir one-third of the whipped cream into the cold pastry cream to lighten it, then carefully fold the rest into the pastry cream trying not to deflate the volume.

  3. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake in half horizontally.

  4. Remove the top half and set aside. Spread the pastry cream over the bottom of the cake.

  5. Place the top back on the cake. Serve immediately or place in the refrigerator, which helps the pastry cream set up.

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.


  • If your pastry cream is too loose, you can freeze the entire cake, cut it frozen, plate it, and let it thaw or serve as an ice cream cake (not traditional but still delicious).

Recipe Variation

  • As a substitute for the vanilla bean, use 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste vanilla sugar.

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