Monday, December 30, 2013

Bienenstich Kuchen (German Bee Sting Cake) - We Knead to Bake #12

Wish You All A Very Happy New Year - 2014

This German Bee Sting cake is our last We Knead to Bake baking project for this year.  Looking forward to baking more delicious and challenging yeasted goodies next year too.

Aparna's choice for this month is the Bienenstich Kuchen or what’s also known as the German Bee Sting Cake! Bienenstich is not really a bread but a traditional German sweet yeasted cake that has a baked on topping of crunchy almond toffee-like layer and filled with a vanilla pastry cream. Bienenstich is traditionally eaten as dessert but also served with tea or coffee.

Bienenstich means “bee sting” in German and probably got its name from the honey flavored topping that is typical of this yeasted cake. There are however some interesting stories connected to it. One story is that the German baker who was creating this recipe came across a bee (possibly attracted by the honey) and was stung by it and decided to name the cake after the incident!

Another story is that a group of German bakers stopped invaders from entering a neighboring village, sometime in the 15th century, by throwing beehives at them. In order to celebrate their victory, they created the original version of the Bienenstich.

Click here for more detailed version of this recipe.

I used small ramekins and baking cups for baking this cake instead of cake pan.

For the Pastry Cream Filling:
Milk 2% - 1 cup (250ml)
Sugar - 3 TBSP
Vanilla flavored custard powder - 3 TBSP
Heavy cream - 200ml
Corn starch - 1 TBSP

For the Dough:
Milk 2% - 1/4 cup (since I didn't use eggs, I added 2 to 3 TBSP more milk)
Butter - 7 TBSP (100gm), at room temperature
All purpose flour - 2 cups
Sugar - 2 TBSP
Egg - 1 to 2 ( I did not use it)
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Instant yeast - 1 1/4 tsp

For the Honey - Almond Topping:
Butter - 3 1/2 TBSP (50gm)
Sugar - 1/3 cup
Honey - 2 TBSP
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Sliced almonds - 2/3 cup


  • Make the custard for the filling first. This can be made the previous day and refrigerated till required.
  • Keep aside 1/4 cup of milk, and put the remaining milk and the sugar in pan. Over medium heat, bring this to a boil while stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. In the meanwhile, dissolve the custard powder in the 1/4 cup of milk. 
  • Add this in a stream, to the boiling milk and keep whisking so that no lumps are formed.
  • Keep whisking until the custard becomes very thick. Take the pan off the heat and let the custard cool to room temperature. 
  • Whisk it on and off so it stays smooth. If it does become lumpy after cooling, use a hand blender to make it smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
  • Once you are ready to fill the Bienenstich, whip 200ml of cream till soft peaks form. Then add the corn-starch and whip till it forms stiff peaks. Whisk the custard to make sure it is smooth. Gently fold the cream into the custard. If you feel it is too soft, refrigerate for a couple of hours and then use.

  • To make the dough, heat the milk until it is quite hot but not boiling. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the milk, stirring it until the better melts completely. Let it cool a little. 
  • In the meanwhile, put the flour, sugar, salt and the yeast in the bowl of your processor. Run a couple of times to mix well and then add the egg (leave the egg out if you don’t use it). Run again till the egg has also mixed well. Now add the butter-milk mixture (it should be warm, not hot) and the then knead till it forms a smooth and soft (loose) brioche-like dough that’s just short of sticky. It should come away from the sides of the bowl and be easy to handle.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl. Cover loosely and let it rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. This dough will rise quite well but not to double or as much as your regular bread dough. 
  • Deflate the dough, and shape again to a smooth ball. Place it in a 8” spring form cake tin lined with parchment. It is important to do this otherwise the topping will make the bread/ cake sticky and difficult to unmould. Flatten the dough a little, pressing down lightly so that the dough fits the cake tin. It doesn't matter if its not touching the sides like batter does. Let it rise for about 30 to 45 minutes. It will not rise very much and look a little puffy.

  • Prepare the topping while the dough rises. Melt the butter, sugar, honey and vanilla in a small pan, over medium heat. Keep stirring frequently and it will start bubbling up. Let it cook for about 3 minutes or so until it turns to a light beige color. Add the sliced almonds, and stir well till the almonds are well coated. Take the pan off the heat and let it cool a bit. The mixture will become quite thick.
  • Now get ready to bake the bread/ cake. Once the dough has risen, use a spoon take bits if the topping (it will be quite thick, like a sticky fudge) and distribute it uniformly over the surface. If there are small gaps they will get covered once the bread/ cake is baking.
  • Bake at 180C (350F) for about 25 to 35 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbling. A cake tester through the center should come out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Then gently loosen the sides with a spatula and unmould. Let it cool completely on a rack.

  • When it has cooled completely, slice the cake into two equal layers carefully, using a very sharp knife. Spread the pastry cream on the lower layer and top with the upper layer and refrigerate till ready to serve.
  • This recipe should serve 8 to 10. 

1 comment:

  1. Love the circular Baking cups! Makes it perfect for portion control!


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