This Beinenstich or Bee Sting Cake is an easier version of the German dessert with soft cake layers filled with decadent vanilla pudding and with a fabulous crunchy almond-honey caramelized topping. Fancy and easy, this is one show stopping cake!
Bee Sting Cake (Bienenstich)
One of the most popular German specialty cakes, the classic Beinenstich is made with a rich yeast dough. The easier recipes for this cake do not have the same caramelized almond topping — which is really the crowning glory of this cake. And those recipes also use a very rich cream filling, unlike the comforting vanilla custard filling of the classic version.
Although the original yeasted cake is an option, it takes more time to make. Also, yeast based cakes or breads dry up sooner, especially in the refrigerator. But bee sting cake with a custard filling definitely needs to be in the fridge. And I wanted to have a cake that will last a while.
After some trials, here is my Bienenstich with no yeast, for you to try.
- Wet Ingredients: Milk, Butter, Cream, Eggs, Honey
- Dry Ingredients: Sliced almonds, Sugar, All Purpose Flour, Pudding Powder, Baking Powder, Vanilla flavoring
You could use corn starch and vanilla instead of pudding powder.
How to Make it
Below is a brief overview of the process. Full recipe at the end of blog post.
- Filling: Make the pudding with milk, pudding powder, honey or sugar, vanilla and stir in whipped cream. Let it chill.
- Whisk eggs with sugar and vanilla until thick ribbon stage.
- Mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Melt the butter and stir in the milk.
- Fold in the flour mix into the egg-sugar mixture, alternating with the addition of butter-milk mixture.
- Transfer cake batter to the prepared springform pan and bake until it is set.
- Almond Topping: Melt the butter with honey, sugar, cream, vanilla, salt and cook until thick. Stir in sliced almonds.
- Spread the almond mixture over the cake and bake at 400º F until caramelized.
- Using a long knife cut two uniform layers of the cake. Then cut top layer into 8 to 10 wedges.
- Cake Assembly: Spread vanilla pudding over the bottom cake layer. Arrange the almond topped cake wedges over the filling. Refrigerate and serve.
Extra Tips and Tricks
- Using honey in the pudding filling gives this cake a stronger honey flavor and taste overall.
- This is not traditional, but you could add a layer of fresh fruit before spreading the pudding layer. Either banana or strawberry slices.
- Try a thick layer of chocolate ganache on the bottom layer. Chill it before spreading the pudding layer.
- You could also make it as cup cakes.
I have not tried the following variations. Just a few suggestions you could try, making sure to adjust the quantities.
- Vegan: Make vegan yellow cake and use non-dairy milk. Use maple syrup or more sugar instead of honey for the topping. Try coconut oil and whipped coconut cream instead of butter and cream.
- Gluten Free: You could try this gluten free yellow cake but scale it down, as that recipe is for two cakes. Use gluten free pudding powder or corn starch for the pudding.
- Dairy Free: Try non-dairy milk, coconut oil and coconut cream as in vegan option above.
- Egg Free: Try the vegan yellow cake linked under vegan.
- Healthier: Use whole wheat pastry flour and oil for the cake. Use milk instead of cream for the topping. Skip the whipped cream in the filling.
- Get Fancy: Make the filling old fashioned way using vanilla pastry cream.
How to Serve the Cake
Although it makes a pretty presentation to serve it in the usual way, with the almond topping facing up, it is a lot more easier to eat it with a fork if the cake slice is served on it’s side.
More Cake Recipes:
- Persian Love Cake
- Moist Maple Sweet Potato Cake
- Tahini Chocolate Marble Cake
- Pineapple Cupcakes
- German Blueberry Kuchen
★ DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? PLEASE COMMENT AND GIVE IT A STAR RATING BELOW!
Easy Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
Vanilla Pudding Cream
Vanilla Pudding Filling
- Mix the pudding powder with ½ cup of milk to make a smooth paste. Heat the remaining milk with the honey in a saucepan. When it comes to a boil, take it off the burner, and whisk in the pudding powder paste.
- Place it back on the stove and add vanilla extract. Cook the pudding until thick, while whisking it. Cover it with a lid that is lined with a paper towel to absorb moisture and let it chill.
- Preheat the oven to 325º F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Using the whisk attachment in a stand mixer or hand mixer, whisk eggs for 1 minute at high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk at full speed for 8 to 12 minutes (more time for hand mixer) until the mixture reaches thick ribbon stage. Tip: Drop the mixture in a "S" shape and it should hold the shape for few seconds.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the milk. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Then sift it into the egg-sugar mixture in 3 batches, alternating with folding in the butter-milk mixture.Tip: Each time, fold the flour in evenly and scrape the bottom of bowl to not miss any flour. But don't over mix to avoid deflating the batter.
- Transfer cake batter to the prepared springform pan and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes until it is set in the middle. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and raise the oven heat to 400º F.
Caramelized Honey Almonds
- Make the caramel-almond topping while the cake is baking. In a saucepan, melt the butter with honey, sugar, cream, vanilla, and salt. Bring it all to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, until it thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the sliced almonds.
Topping the Cake
- Dollop the almond mixture over the cake and gently spread it to the sides of the cake pan. Do not apply any pressure on the cake.Tip: Warm the topping if needed, adding honey or cream to loosen it up.
- Place the cake back in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the caramel around the almonds starts to bubble.
- Remove the cake from oven. After couple minutes, run a knife around the cake to release it when it is still warm. Let the cake cool completely.
- Slide the top cake layer on to a wooden board. Using a sharp serrated knife cut it into 8 to 10 wedges. Tip: This will make cutting the cake wedges easier later on.
- Stir the chilled pudding and then gently whisk in the whipped heavy cream.
- Place the bottom cake layer on the base of the springform pan. Fit the cake ring around it.
- Dollop the vanilla pudding over the cake layer and spread it evenly. Arrange the almond topped cake wedges over the custard filling.
- Refrigerate the cake overnight. Run a knife around the cake, loosen it and remove the outer cake ring.
- If you prefer, use a sturdy cake lifter and transfer it carefully to a cake stand. Enjoy the refrigerated cake for 3 to 4 days or more.
- You could use corn starch and vanilla instead of pudding powder.
- Bird's, Jello and Dr. Oetker are some brands that make vanilla pudding mixes. I used Bird's custard powder.
- Check the blog post for suggested variations (gluten free, vegan), flavor options, healthier substitutions