Classic German Bienenstich

Sweet yeast dough, vanilla custard cream and a crunchy honey almond topping - it can only be a Classic German Bienenstich or Bee Sting Cake. This most beloved of German cakes is perfect for afternoon tea.
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Today’s recipe is a request from Debbie, one of our lovely community here on Days of Jay! I actually can’t believe I haven’t already shared this recipe with you as a Classic German Bienenstich or Bee Sting Cake is one of the most popular tea-time treats here in Germany. With thick and luscious vanilla cream sandwiched between two layers of light and sweet yeast dough, all topped with crunchy honey almonds, Bienenstich is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser.

While nobody can say for sure who invented Bienenstich or how it got its name, the popular legend is that it was baked in celebration of two bakers apprentices from the town of Andernach who chased off an attacking army from Linz by throwing bees nests at them! Whether this is the truth or a flight of fancy is lost to the mists of time.

Bienenstich is not at all difficult to make, though it does take a little time as you are dealing with a couple of different processes. Firstly a sweetened yeast dough, then a filling of pastry cream or vanilla custard and the nut topping. This means here are rising and setting times, but don’t worry as the actual hands-on work is very quick. You can even make up the filling the night before, as it will keep for a day or two in the fridge.

Like many traditional German cakes, Bienenstich is often made as a huge baking-tray sized cake. I prefer to bake it in a round cake tin as you get more beautiful slices, not to mention there is only so much cake the two of us can eat (hint: quite a lot). It’s also easier to use the ring of the tin to hold the vanilla cream in place as it sets.

Being a classic of the German kitchen there are very few variations of Bienenstich floating around, after all, why improve on perfection? I do think that infusing the cream with a liqueur, or perhaps orange blossom water could give it a lovely twist.

Have you ever tried a bee-sting cake? Let me know in the comments below! xJ

Sweet yeast dough, vanilla custard cream and a crunchy honey almond topping - it can only be a Classic German Bienenstich or Bee Sting Cake. This most beloved of German cakes is perfect for afternoon tea.

Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!


Sweet yeast dough, vanilla custard cream and a crunchy honey almond topping - it can only be a Classic German Bienenstich or Bee Sting Cake. This most beloved of German cakes is perfect for afternoon tea.

Classic German Bienenstich

Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Resting / Rising Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Sweet yeast dough, vanilla custard cream and a crunchy honey almond topping - it can only be a Classic German Bienenstich or Bee Sting Cake. This most beloved of German cakes is perfect for afternoon tea.

Ingredients

for the dough:

  • 350g plain flour
  • 50g sugar
  • 7g sachet dried yeast
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • 150ml milk
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

for the filling:

  • 400ml full-fat milk
  • 200ml cream
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 60g cornstarch / cornflour
  • 75g sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract

for the honey-almond topping:

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 50ml cream
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 Tbsp runny honey
  • 100g sliced almonds

Instructions

    1. To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, lemon zest and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment fitted. Gently heat the milk and the butter in a small saucepan until the butter is just melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before pouring into the bowl with the other ingredients.
    2. Knead for 5 minutes until the dough is soft and supple, then shape the dough into a ball, cover with a sheet of cling film and return to the bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.
    3. Meanwhile, make the filling by whisking 100ml of the milk together with the cornstarch, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla extract. Heat the remaining milk and cream in a medium saucepan until small bubbles begin to form around the sides of the pan.
    4. Pour the milk and cornstarch mixture into the hot milk and whisk constantly until thickened, taking care not to let the mixture boil. Scrape back into the bowl, press a piece of cling film directly onto the surface and set aside to cool completely at room temperature.
    5. When the dough has risen, heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4. Line the base and grease the sides of a 26cm round springform tin, then roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 26cm in diameter and lift into the tin. Cover and allow to rise a further 15 minutes.
    6. While the dough is rising for the second time, prepare the honey-almond topping by combining the butter, cream, sugar and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then simmer for 2 minutes. Stir through the almonds and remove from the heat.
    7. Spread the almond mixture evenly across the dough, then bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until well risen and golden brown. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then loosen the cake edges with a small sharp knife and remove the side of the tin. Allow to cool completely.
    8. When the dough is completely cool, use a serrated knife to cut evenly through the middle, setting aside the top ‘lid’. Place the bottom of the cake onto a serving plate and replace the ring of the cake tin around it.
    9. Use an electric beater to whisk the set custard until completely smooth, then spread over the base of the cake and transfer to the fridge for at least one hour to set.
    10. Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to cut the top of the cake into 8 even slices (you can even use a pizza roller here!) When the cake has been in the fridge for half an hour, place the slices on top. Serve chilled.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 701Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 141mgSodium: 70mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 3gSugar: 26gProtein: 12g

Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I make Classic German Bienenstich in advance?

Yes! Up to a day or two, though it is best eaten fresh. You can make the vanilla filling 3-4 days in advance and keep chilled.


I have a nut allergy! Can I still make Bienenstich?

Unfortunately not, this cake needs the almonds on top – why not try my Vanilla Custard Squares instead?


Can I freeze Bienenstich?

It is possible to freeze Bienenstich, though the texture is better when the cake is fresh.


With sweet and Sticky honey, crunchy almonds and luscious vanilla custard – bienenstich is one of germany’s most popular cakes!

Sweet yeast dough, vanilla custard cream and a crunchy honey almond topping - it can only be a Classic German Bienenstich or Bee Sting Cake. This most beloved of German cakes is perfect for afternoon tea.
Sweet yeast dough, vanilla custard cream and a crunchy honey almond topping - it can only be a Classic German Bienenstich or Bee Sting Cake. This most beloved of German cakes is perfect for afternoon tea.
Sweet yeast dough, vanilla custard cream and a crunchy honey almond topping - it can only be a Classic German Bienenstich or Bee Sting Cake. This most beloved of German cakes is perfect for afternoon tea.

Classic german bienenstich


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Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams is a cookbook author and food, architectural and landscape photographer. Jay is the author of two cookbooks: 'Tasty' (2017) and 'Simply Summer' (2019). Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.
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