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Authentic Bienenstich Kuchen (German Bee Sting Cake Recipe)

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If you love honey and almonds, you’ll swoon over German Bee Sting Cake (Bienenstich). This traditional German treat has two layers of yeast cake, a vanilla cream filling, and a crunchy gooey honey almond topping. If you’re looking for an easy authentic German dessert that will fly off your cake plate, this is it!

So a while back I said that Rote Grüetze is my favorite German dessert…but that’s because I wasn’t thinking about Bienenstich Kuchen!

German Bee Sting Cake is one of the best desserts in Germany. That’s saying something, because Germany is overflowing with amazing desserts and sweets!

Fortunately, you don’t need to go to a German bakery to try Bee Sting Cake because you can easily make it at home. This is one of those German desserts that looks complicated and impressive but it’s actually very easy to prepare.

Everyone who tries this German Bee Sting Cake LOVES it. Whenever I make it, it disappears quickly.

When I lived in Stuttgart, I walked by a little corner bakery ever day on my way to the university. More often than not, I couldn’t resist stopping for a slice of Bienenstich Kuchen. 

Funny story: last summer when I was back in Stuttgart, the hotel I booked ended up being almost right next door to that bakery! I didn’t plan it that way and only realized it as I walked past the bakery and thought, hey, this looks familiar… and then realized where I was. I popped into the bakery but unfortunately, no Bienenstich that day. Fortunately, I had a slice elsewhere in Stuttgart (see below).

What is Bee Sting Cake?

Bienenstich Kuchen – or Bee Sting Cake – is a traditional German dessert comprised of two thin layers of yeast cake with a creamy filling, and a crunchy, buttery, honey-and-almond topping. The yeast cake balances out the sweetness of the filling and topping.

When I was in Stuttgart last summer I ordered a slice of Bienenstich for Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake) one afternoon after a hike, and here’s what it looked like:

My version is a little different (there are several ways to make Bee Sting Cake). First, I make mine in an 8×8 inch (20×20 cm) square baking pan (I love this one), rather than in a round pan, because I find it SO much easier to cut into slices (be sure to see my tips for cutting this cake below).

Another reason is because back when I lived in Stuttgart, I almost always got Bee Sting Cake from that local bakery I mentioned, and they always made it as a tray cake. So using a square baking pan makes me think of Stuttgart. That said, you can absolutely make this cake using an 8 inch round springform pan, if you prefer.

The other difference is the amount of filling I use. The cream filling in the Bienenstich I had last summer (see photo above) was very light in flavor and texture. The bakery version I remember and loved from Stuttgart had a smaller amount of denser vanilla flavored filling, and that’s my preferred version.

A while back I experimented with adding twice as much filling, and while it looked great in photos, it was waaaay too sweet with the honey topping. I highly recommend the cake/filling/topping ratio in this recipe.

Don’t be scared off by all of the steps in this recipe! I’ve included step-by-step instructions in the recipe below. It’s really quite easy to make. First you make the dough, then the honey almond topping. While the cake is baking, prepare the filling. After the cake has cooled a bit, assemble the cake, let it chill for an hour, and then enjoy!

Here’s a big tip! After taking the cake out of the oven, let it cool in the cake pan for a few minutes and then on a wire rack for 10-20 minutes. Just long enough so you can comfortably touch the cake. Then slice the cake lengthwise into two layers, transfer the top layer (the part with the honey almond topping) to a cutting board, and cut that layer into 9 pieces.

Why? Because this cake is SO much easier to cut while it’s still warm. If you wait to cut it until serving the cake, the almond topping will have hardened and the filling will ooze all over when you try to cut it. This beautiful cake will just end up a sloppy mess, so definitely cut it while it’s still warm!

When you assemble the cake, spread the cream on the in-tact bottom layer and then place the 9 cake pieces on the cream. That way, you shouldn’t have too much trouble cutting through the bottom layer when you serve it. Just don’t press down too hard on the top pieces as you cut. The cream filling will firm up while the cake chills in the fridge, but it can still ooze out the sides.

Here’s another tip! Some vanilla pudding mixes will turn your filling yellow (Aldi pudding, for example). Personally, I like the look of white filling with this cake, so if you do too, check that your pudding powder is white before adding it to the heavy whipping cream.

I recommend making this cake at home from scratch but if you don’t have time or just don’t want to make it from scratch, you can order a Bee Sting Cake mix! All you do is add the butter, water, and heavy whipping cream, and then bake it. Click here to check it out!

My third tip: enjoy this cake the day you make it! It will keep for a couple days in the fridge and it will taste ok but it’s MUCH better eaten the day you bake it.

There are a few variations you can make to customize this cake more to your tastes:

  • Add more honey to the topping if you prefer a stronger honey flavor
  • Use vanilla sugar or vanilla extract (see my note in the recipe about amounts to use)
  • Leave the vanilla pudding powder out of the filling for a straight whipped cream filling (you’ll want to stabilize the whipped cream if you do this)
  • Use slivered almonds instead of sliced
  • Use this yeast cake recipe if you want a taller cake (personally, I prefer the cake/filling/topping ratio in this recipe)

What You Need to Make Bee Sting Cake

Here are the ingredients you need for this cake:

  • flour
  • sugar
  • yeast (I use fast-rising)
  • salt
  • butter
  • milk
  • vanilla sugar or extract (here’s my vanilla sugar tutorial)
  • egg
  • honey
  • heavy cream
  • sliced almonds (I prefer using sliced but you can use slivered)
  • vanilla pudding mix

Here are the kitchen tools you need:

  • medium mixing bowl
  • wooden spoon
  • saucepan
  • spatula
  • 8×8 baking pan (20x20cm)
  • parchment paper
  • long serrated knife
  • cutting board
  • wire cooling rack
  • palette knife
  • scale or measuring cups/spoons
  • fork
  • cake plate

How to Make Authentic Bienenstich Kuchen (Traditional German Bee Sting Cake Recipe)

The first step is to make the yeast dough. Mix the dry ingredients together – flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Then add the melted butter, egg, and milk. Stir until dough forms a ball. If the dough is sticky, add a few sprinkles of flour until it no longer sticks to your hands. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

Knead the dough in the bowl 5-7 times or until the dough looks and feels smooth. Cover the bowl with a towel and let the it rest in warm place for 30 minutes (the dough won’t rise a whole lot).

Enjoy a cup of coffee, tea, wine, whatever for 15 or so minutes then pre-heat the oven to 350F/176C. While the oven is heating and the dough is resting, you can prepare the honey almond topping.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Then add the honey, sugar and salt (add the vanilla sugar here if using – see my note in the recipe for how much to use). Stir until sugar has dissolved.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the sliced almonds (and vanilla extract, if you’re using that instead of the vanilla sugar) and stir until well combined. If you’re not ready to pour the topping on your cake, just keep it warm on the stove for a few minutes (I use the “warm” setting/burner on my stove).

Place a piece of parchment paper in your 8x8in (20x20cm) baking pan so the edges hang over the sides (sometimes I rub a little butter or add cooking spray to the bottom to help the parchment stick to the pan). Press the dough into the pan and use a fork to prick the dough several times (that will prevent the cake from puffing up too much while baking).

Pour the hot almond topping onto the dough and spread evenly. Bake at 350F/176C for about 30 minutes or until the topping is a nice golden brown. I always check my cake at 25 minutes and then continue baking for 5-7 minutes longer. Keep an eye on it because the almond topping can over-bake and turn dark brown quickly.

While the cake is baking, prepare the cream filling. Pour the heavy cream, pudding powder, and vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract) into the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) and first beat to soft peaks. Taste the cream and, if desired, add more pudding powder or vanilla sugar (or extract) to taste. Then beat to stiff peaks. Store the cream in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

When the cake is finished baking, take it out of the oven and let it cool for a few minutes in the cake pan. Be careful – the topping is hot! Carefully pull the cake out of the pan using the parchment that’s hanging over the sides. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 10-20 minutes.

When you can comfortably touch the cake with your fingers, use a long serrated knife to cut the cake into 2 slices lengthwise (see middle photo above). Carefully transfer the top slice (with the almond topping) to a cutting board and then carefully cut into 9 slices. Separate the slices a bit to let them cool. Add any topping that came off during the slicing back to the top of the cake.

Don’t wait too long to cut these cake slices! It’s SO much easier to cut the top layer at this stage, rather than waiting until the cake is assembled and has chilled in the fridge. This way, when you serve the cake, all you have to do is cut through the cream and the bottom layer of the cake. If you wait to cut the entire cake, the almond topping will be very difficult to slice and the filling will ooze out the sides and create a mess.

Next, place the bottom cake slice on a (cake) plate. Once the cake is cool to the touch, spread the filling evenly over the bottom layer. Then, carefully place each of the 9 top slices on the cream.

Finally, cover or wrap the cake in plastic wrap and chill the cake in the fridge for about an hour. When serving the cake, be careful not to press down too hard on the top layer of the cake when you go to slice through the bottom layer. The cream layer will firm up in the fridge but it can still ooze out the sides if you press down too hard.

Enjoy this delicious taste of Germany!

How to Make German Bee Sting Cake

German Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)

German Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)

Yield: 9 slices
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Crunchy, honey-flavored almond topping, creamy vanilla filling, and two delicious yeast cake layers make this German favorite absolutely wunderbar

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cup [210-230g] flour (all purpose, see note below)
  • 2 TBSP [30g] sugar
  • 2 tsp [1/4 oz / 7g] yeast (fast rising)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup [57g] butter (melted)
  • 1/3 cup [75ml] milk

Topping

  • 1/2 cup [113g] butter
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 5-6 TBSP sugar (see note below)
  • 1 1/2 TBSP heavy whipping cream
  • 1 TBSP vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla extract (see note below)
  • 3/4 cup [80g] sliced almonds

Filling

  • 2 cups [400ml] heavy whipping cream
  • 3 Tbsp vanilla pudding powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Mix flour, sugar, yeast, and salt together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add melted butter, egg, and milk. Mix with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add a little more flour until it no longer sticks to your fingers.
  2. Knead dough 5-7 times in the bowl until it looks and feels smooth. 
  3. Cover dough with a towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 350F/176C.
  5. To make the honey almond topping, melt butter, honey, sugar, and vanilla sugar in a saucepan over medium low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the cream and then mix until the sugar is dissolved. 
  6. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in sliced almonds (and vanilla extract if you're using this instead of vanilla sugar). Keep the topping warm until you're ready to use it.
  7. Place a sheet of parchment paper in an 8x8 inch (20x20 cm) baking pan so the edges hang over the sides. Press dough into the pan and then prick dough several times with a fork.
  8. Pour the topping onto the dough and spread evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes (check at 25 minutes and then bake 5-7 minutes longer as needed). The topping will be golden brown when done.
  9. Let the cake cool in the cake pan for a few minutes. Grab the sides of the parchment paper and transfer the cake to a wire rack. Let the cake cool for 10-20 minutes.
  10. When you can comfortably touch the cake with your fingers, use a long serrated knife to cut the cake lengthwise in two thin layers (see photos above).
  11. Transfer the top layer to a cutting board and use the same serrated knife to cut the top layer (the one with the topping) into 9 pieces. It’s MUCH easier to cut this top layer when the cake is still a warm rather than waiting to cut it when you're ready to serve it (if you wait until after the cake has chilled, you're likely to squish the filling out the sides when you cut it). Let the bottom and top layer pieces cool.
  12. While the cake cools, prepare the filling. Pour the heavy cream into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the pudding powder and vanilla sugar (or extract) and first beat to soft peaks. Taste the filling and, if desired, add more pudding powder or vanilla.
  13. Place the bottom cake layer on a plate. Spread the filling on the bottom cake layer using a palette knife. Then carefully place the 9 top layer pieces on the cream filling, piece by piece. Cover or wrap cake in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour or until the filling is set.
  14. When you're ready to serve the cake, let it warm up for a few minutes before slicing and serving. Be careful not to not press down too hard on the top layer when cutting the bottom layer because the filling will spill out.
  15. This cake is best eaten the day you make it.

Notes

1. If using measuring cups to measure the flour, start with 1 ½ cups and add the other ¼ cup as needed. When using measuring cups, the amount of flour scooped into the cup can vary quite a bit. So start with the smaller amount and add more as needed. Likewise, if using metric to measure flour, you might need to add a little more if the cake is initially sticky.

2. I like to add 1 Tbsp of homemade vanilla sugar to the topping. If you do this, only add 5 additional Tbsp of sugar. If you prefer to use vanilla extract instead of vanilla sugar, use 6 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp extract.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

No time to make German Bee Sting Cake from scratch?

No problem, you can order a mix! All you do is add the butter, water, and heavy whipping cream, and then bake it. Click here to check it out!

Bee Sting Cake Ice Cream

If you like the flavor of Bee Sting Cake, you’ll love the Bee Sting Cake Ice Cream recipe below! It’s super easy to make and the only equipment you need is a jar and a spoon. It’s especially good when you want a portion-controlled treat or when you’re craving Bee Sting Cake but don’t want to make an entire cake. Enjoy!

Bee Sting Cake Ice Cream

Bee Sting Cake Ice Cream

Yield: 1-2 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Freeze Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

The flavor of German Bee Sting Cake in an easy no churn ice cream recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup [120 ml] heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla pudding powder
  • 1 Tbsp sliced almonds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Pour all ingredients into a small jar that has a lid. (I typically use an 8oz jam jar.)
  2. Stir to combine all of the ingredients.
  3. Add the lid and then shake the jar several times until the cream has thickened. (I usually shake it 20-25 times.)
  4. Place jar in freezer for 1-2 hours.
  5. When you're ready to eat the ice cream, take the jar out of the freezer and let it warm up for a few minutes.
  6. Top with additional honey and almonds (optional).

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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David

Tuesday 19th of January 2021

Made it. Absolutely FANTASTIC. Thank you so much. One note: At least in my country, the (instant) vanilla pudding commonly available is disgusting, so it simply destroys this wonderful, heavenly cake. I highly recommend using home made vanilla pudding for this recipe (and in general).

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Wednesday 20th of January 2021

I'm so glad you liked the cake! And thanks for the pudding tip - great idea.

Catherine Ricks Kant

Saturday 19th of December 2020

When I first saw this recipe on Pinterest, it lists double cream as an ingredient. But on your actual blog recipe, it lists heavy cream. The bienestich I remember had a very heavy cream between the layers like I've never seen since. Is there any real difference between the two? Any preference? Thanks

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Sunday 20th of December 2020

I always use heavy cream because that's what I can get in the US, and it works great in Bienenstich.

I've always seen double cream in the UK. I believe it has a higher fat content but is very similar to heavy cream.

Did you see double cream listed in my recipe on Pinterest? I'm asking b/c I never know what Pinterest chooses to display. :) Pinterest has listed things like "52 Tablespoons of milk" in recipes rather than the actual measurement listed in the recipe on the IDB. You can't totally trust the recipe that Pinterest displays, unfortunately!

linda

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

can this be filled with authentic Bavarian cream? if so do you have a recipe for Bavarian cream?

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

I don't have one on the IDB yet. You could use try it but I think it would feel heavy and too sweet with the honey almond topping. If you like Bavarian cream, though, try it and let me know what you think! :)

Erika

Sunday 1st of November 2020

In your recipe you say ¼ cup melted butter then in parentheses say 110g. ¼cup butter does not come close to that. So what os the correct amount?

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Sunday 1st of November 2020

It should be 1/4 cup (57g) in the cake and 1/2 cup (112g) in the topping. Thanks for letting me know about that, I just fixed it in the recipe!

Also - if you're using metric to make this cake you might need to add a little more flour than the metric amount indicates. If the dough is sticky after, sprinkle a little more on until it forms a dough that doesn't stick to your fingers.

Jessica

Saturday 24th of October 2020

The topping and filling is great I added a little more vanilla to the filing. I wish I would of made it with a different cake recipe maybe next time. The actual cake was ok but becomes very dense especially when refrigerating. I would use a Spongier type of cake next time

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Saturday 24th of October 2020

I'm glad you liked the topping! Did you add more vanilla extract or vanilla pudding powder? If you like the yeast flavor but want a less dense cake, try the yeast cake in the German apple cake I recently shared here: https://www.internationaldessertsblog.com/german-apple-cake-with-streusel-topping/ :)

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