German Bienenstich Kuchen (Bee Sting Cake)

German Bienenstich Kuchen (Bee Sting Cake)

The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

Prep: 90 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Rise Time: 60 mins
Total: 3 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
310 Calories
17g Fat
34g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 310
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 71mg 24%
Sodium 94mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 56mg 4%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 138mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This lovely rendition of bee sting cake, or bienenstich kuchen, is a yeast-raised cake baked in an American 13 x 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.

Ingredients

For the Pastry Cream:

  • 1 1/2 cups (340 milliliters) half-and-half

  • 1/2 cup (90 grams) granulated sugar

  • 1/2 vanilla bean

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

  • 3 tablespoons (30 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt

  • 1 cup (226 milliliters) 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) unsalted butter

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (75 grams) honey

  • 1 cup (226 milliliters) milk, lukewarm but not hot

  • 1 large egg, at 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) unsalted butter

  • 2 cups (150 to 200 grams) almond slices or slivers

  • 1/2 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

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

Make the Pastry Cream

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Pastry cream ingredients for bee sting cake

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

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

    Combine half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla bean in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

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

    Whisk together 2 eggs, egg yolk, flour, and salt in a bowl

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  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.

    Adding some half-and-half mixture to the egg mixture while whisking

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

    Pour egg mixture into the half-and-half mixture while whisking

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  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.

    Pastry cream cooking in a saucepan

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

    Pastry cream in a bowl on top of an ice-cube-filled bowl

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  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.

    pastry cream in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

Make the Cake Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cake dough ingredients for bee sting cake

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

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

    whisk together the instant yeast and flour in a bowl

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  3. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter and honey in the microwave until just melted. Stir in the lukewarm milk. Add the egg and salt and whisk well. This mixture should have a temperature of 100 F/38 C.

    Honey, butter, milk, eggs, and salt whisked together in a bowl

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  4. 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.

    Dough in a bowl

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

    Knead the dough in a bowl

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

    Dough ball in a bowl

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  7. 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.

    dough in a bowl, covered with a towel

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Make the Almond Topping

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Almond topping ingredients for bee sting cake

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

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

    Sugar, honey and butter in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  3. Add the almonds and vanilla extract, stirring to coat.

    Almonds added to the butter and honey mixture

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  4. Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm.

    Almond topping mixture in a saucepan

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Bake the Cake

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

    cake dough rolled out on parchment paper

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

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

    cake dough in a baking pan

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

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

    almond topping on top of the cake dough in a baking pan

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  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. Using 2 spatulas, carefully remove the entire cake from the pan, moving it to a waxed paper-coated surface or cutting board.

    baked cake with almond topping on top

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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.

    Whip heavy cream in a bowl

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  2. Stir a 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.

    Combine whipped cream with pastry cream in a bowl

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

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

    Cake cut in half horizontally

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

    Spread the pastry cream over the bottom of the cake

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

    German Bienenstich Kuchen (Bee Sting Cake)

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of foodborne illness.

Tips

  • 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).
  • While this cake is best on the day it is made, any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Recipe Variation

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

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