This lovely rendition of Bee Sting Cake, or Bienenstich Kuchen, is a yeast based cake baked in an American 9 inch by 13 inch pan, 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.
Makes 24, two inch squares (it is very rich).
This cake takes about 1 1/2 hours total hands-on time, 40 minutes to bake and a few hours to chill the pastry cream and cool the cake. You may also make the cake and/or the filling the day before assembling, if you like.
Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
- ***Pastry Cream***
- 1/2 c. sugar (90 grams)
- 1 1/2 c. half and half or light cream (340 ml)
- 2 eggs + 1 yolk
- 3 T. flour (30 grams)
- 1/4 tsp. salt (2 grams)
- 1 c. heavy whipping cream
- ***Cake Dough***
- 2 tsp. instant yeast (8 grams)
- 4 1/5 c. flour (500 grams)
- 1/2 tsp. salt (4 grams)
- 2 1/2 T. honey (75 grams)
- 7 1/2 T. butter (100 grams)
- 1 egg (50 grams)
- 1 c. milk (225 ml)
- ***Almond Topping***
- 1/4 c. sugar (50 grams)
- 1/2 c. honey (125 grams)
- 9 T. butter (125 grams)
- 2 c. almond slices or slivers (150 - 200 grams)
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Start the Pastry Cream
Heat the half and half or light cream with the sugar and 1/2 vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste or 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar (If you are using vanilla extract, add at the end instead) until almost boiling. Stir to dissolve sugar and be careful to keep the heat at medium to low so that you don't burn on the bottom.
Whisk the 2 eggs and egg yolk together with 3 tablespoons of flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt until smooth.
Temper the egg mixture by adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup hot milk to the eggs, whisking constantly. Then stir the egg mixture into the rest of the milk in a thin stream, whisking constantly.
Keep stirring until mixture starts to thicken but do not let it boil. When it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat (add vanilla extract or other flavor here, if using), pour into a bowl which has been set on top of a bowl of ice cubes. Stir several times.
Place plastic wrap over the custard, so that it is touching the custard while it cools. This prevents a skin from forming.
When the custard has cooled down some, place the smaller bowl in the refrigerator (or outside, in the winter) to cool completely. discard ice cubes.
(Do not worry, you will use the whipping cream just before assembling the cake.)
Prepare the Yeast Dough
Mix 5 cups of the flour with the instant yeast and salt in a large bowl.
In a microwave safe bowl, heat the butter and honey until just melted. Stir together. Stir in lukewarm milk so that the butter stays in liquid form, add the egg and whisk all liquids well. This mixture should have a temperature of 100°F (38°C), or body temperature.
Add liquids to the bowl of flour and mix on low (or with a wooden spoon) until a shaggy dough forms.
Add the rest of the flour, a little at a time, until the dough becomes smooth and pliable and comes away from the bowl. You may also knead it with your hands, if necessary.
Form the dough into a round ball, oil the surface and place in a clean bowl. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes, to an hour, or until doubled in bulk.
In the meantime, make the almond topping. Place the sugar, honey and butter in a saucepan and heat and stir until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Boil the mixture for several minutes, stirring so that nothing burns on.
Add the almonds and vanilla extract (optional), stirring to coat. Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm.
Bake the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Roll the dough out into a rectangle, about the size of your pan. Here, you must make a decision. As pictured, all the dough went into one 9 inch by 13 inch pan. You may split it between two pans, which makes a thinner (more traditional) cake. You will want more almond topping and filling if you do this. Or you can go ahead and make a nice, tall cake, as I have done.
Spray the pan with oil and place the dough in the pan. Push the dough to the edges and make the edges slightly higher than the middle.
Spread the lukewarm honey-nut mixture evenly over the top of the dough.
Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes at 350°F. If you are making two, thinner cakes, check them at 25-30 minutes.Let the cake cool completely, then remove the entire cake, carefully using 2 spatulas, to a wax paper coated surface or cutting board.
Assemble the Cake
Whip the whipping cream until very stiff, but stop whipping before it becomes clumpy and starts to turn into butter.
Stir 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cold pastry cream custard. Fold the rest into the custard. Do not over mix.
Using a serrated bread knife (or similar), cut the cake horizontally all the way through. Remove the top half and set aside.
Spread all of the pastry cream over the bottom of the cake. Place the top back on the cake.
At this point, you can serve immediately or place in the refrigerator, which helps the pastry cream set up.
If your pastry cream is too loose, you may also freeze the entire cake. You can cut the frozen cake and let it thaw or serve as an ice cream cake (not traditional but very yummy). A frozen cake is also easier to transport. The pastry cream has a lot of fat in it and freezes well.