Bee sting cake (Bienenstich)

I had a serious face-palm moment. I had been buying this cake from the supermarket’s cake fridge for years before it occurred to me to actually… you know… bake it! I am so glad I did! Now I’ve decided to make a proper bucket list, actually written down, of all the yummy things I like to eat and really should try to make. Any suggestions?  🙂

bee sting final

I adapted a recipe from Australian super-cook Stephanie Alexander and filled it with my own pastry cream recipe. The dough and pastry cream can both be prepared the day before.

Crème Pâtissière

240ml (1 cup) whole milk, divided
2 tbsp cornstarch
75g (6 tbsp) granulated (white) sugar
3 large egg yolks
30g (2 tbsp) butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Dissolve cornstarch in 1⁄4 cup of milk in a mixing bowl.

Combine the remaining 3/4 cup milk with the sugar in a small to medium heavy based saucepan on medium-low heat, bring to the boil, whisking occasionally so it doesn’t form a skin on top or scald on the bottom, and remove from heat.

Beat the egg yolks into the cornstarch mixture. Pour 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly (this tempers the eggs so they don’t cook before they are mixed into the custard).

Return saucepan to low heat and pour the hot egg mixture back into the milk in a stream while continuously whisking.

Continue whisking until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla.

Pour into a stainless steel, glass or ceramic bowl. Press plastic wrap firmly against the surface. Cool to room temperature then refrigerate until ready to use.


250g (2 scant cups) all-purpose (plain) flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp instant yeast
120ml (1/2 cup) cup milk
3 tbsp granulated (white) sugar
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
75g (5 1/2 tbsp) unsalted butter, diced, room temperature

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.

Warm milk and sugar slightly, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved, then allow to cool a little.

Whisk together egg yolks and warm milk mixture.

Make a well in flour, then pour in milk mixture and mix to a dough. Continue beating while adding butter bit by bit. The dough should be shiny and smooth and will come away cleanly from sides of bowl.

Cover bowl with a plastic wrap and leave dough to double in size, at least two hours. Mine took closer to four!

Butter a round 24cm (9”) or 30 x 20cm (12 x 8”) springform pan and line bottom and sides with parchment.

Punch down dough, turn out and briefly knead by hand. Shape into disc and pat out into pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for at least two hours, or overnight in the fridge. If refrigerating, bring to room temperature for at least two hours before proceeding the next morning.

Preheat oven to 180°C (360°F) while you prepare the topping.


75g (5 1/2 tbsp) unsalted butter
65g (3 tbsp) honey
80g (2/5 cup) sugar
75g (3/4 cup) flaked almonds
1 tbsp cream

Combine butter, honey and sugar in a small, heavy based saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring continuously.

Remove from heat and whisk in cream and stir in almonds. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

Spoon topping gently over top of dough in pan.

Bake in centre of oven for about 25 minutes, until deep golden on top.

Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes, remove from pan to a wire rack, carefully peel off parchment and allow to cool completely before filling.

Use a large serrated knife to cut the cake into two layers, spread the Crème Pâtissière on the bottom half and replace the top.



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11 Responses to Bee sting cake (Bienenstich)

  1. mmmarzipan says:

    Oooh, I used to always get a slice of bee sting cake when we visited a German village near where I grew up. Love it! This one looks lovely 🙂

  2. huntfortheverybest says:

    it looks delicious. I’d love to try it!

  3. I live in France, near the German border. We call this cake “Nids d’Abeilles” or Bee’s Nest and it is one of my favorites!!!! I buy this all the time by an artisan, but after reading your post I’m thinking I might give it a chance 🙂

    • pizzarossa says:

      Oh, wow! I’ve never noticed the French name on the label here – I will have to look today! You should give it a go – it’s a bit time consuming but it’s not hard at all. 🙂

  4. Bienenstich – oh the childhood memories this brings up. Being German this was one of the classics we had often. Along with ‘Kalter Hund’ – the one cake that was a given at many childhood birthdays. But I digress. I’ve never made Bienenstich myself but had actually been thinking about it these past weeks. Only not eating eggs [but there are vegan recipes] and – pity! – living on my own kept me from it. Because a whole cake is just -slightly- too much for a single person.
    By the way: your version looks great!

    • pizzarossa says:

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment! Maybe you could scale back a vegan recipe for a tiny little mini one? I have now added Kalter Hund to my to-do list. 🙂

  5. bellissima torta, peccato per il lievito non naturale!

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