Bienenstich, also known as German Bee Sting Cake, is classic German sheet pan yeasted cake topped with sweet honey, crunchy almonds, and filled with a vanilla cream that is light and fluffy.
Bienenstich, is a German dessert cake that is perfect for someone with a sweet tooth but doesn’t love the richness of chocolate. The yeast cake itself is not that sweet but the honey and almond topping balances it out. There are many different versions of this filling, but this one is made from vanilla pudding mix and heavy cream.
What is German Bee Sting Cake?
Bienenstich, or Bee Sting Cake, is a traditional German dessert cake made from yeast risen cake, baked with a honey almond topping that is then sliced into two layers and filled with a light and fluffy vanilla cream.
Which pan should be used for Bienenstich?
In Germany, there are baking pans the size of our half size baking sheets with taller sides which make them perfect for this. But if you try to make this cake in an American rimmed baking sheet you will end up with honey overflowing all over your oven. I scaled this recipe down slightly to fit in a 9×13 brownie pan which prevents any overflow and helps get a beautiful rise on the cake.
Instant or Cooked Vanilla Pudding Mix?
I have used instant pudding mix in this recipe because it’s quick, easy, and delicious. That being said you could also make a cooked version but with heavy cream as written in this recipe and then let it cool until it can be whipped.
Can I make Bienenstich in advance?
Yes; however, it tastes best fresh so if possible I recommend making it the day you plan to serve it. If you have a time crunch and need to make Bienenstich in advance, I recommend making the cake portion the day before, covering it with plastic, and letting it sit at room temperature. The next day make the filling and assemble it. It will keep once assembled but it needs to be refrigerated due to the filling and yeasted dough dries out in the fridge.
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Tips for making this German Bee Sting Cake
- Only knead the dough for about 10 minutes. It should have started to pull together into a ball and no longer look pebbly. It may still be stuck to the sides of the bowl.
- Place the cake in the oven immediately after pouring the warm honey almond mixture over the top.
- Allow the cake to cool fully before trying to slice it and cut the pieces of cake before splitting each piece into two slices. This will make it easier to slice them in half evenly rather than trying to cut across the entire cake.
- When making the filling, if your pudding is colder than the butter, you will be left with a clumpy mix. If this happens, don’t worry, just leave it to sit (or microwave BRIEFLY – 10 seconds or less) so that they become the same temperature and then beat again.
- The cake and pudding can both be made in advance. However, it is important to store the cake in an airtight container and make sure the pudding comes back to room temperature before making the filling.
- All Purpose Flour: Any all purpose flour should work for this bienenstich! I have not yet tried any other flours with this recipe.
- Sugar: There is a small amount of granulated sugar in the dough. But the majority of the sugar is mixed with honey and butter and then brushed on top of the dough before it is baked.
- Yeast: Instant yeast is used in this recipe but if you are using active dry yeast, simply sprinkle it over the warmed milk for 10 minutes and then add it into the flour with the remaining ingredients.
- Milk: Skim milk is used as the liquid in the yeasted dough in this recipe but any milk, including non-dairy milks, will work here!
- Butter: Softened butter is used in the dough and more butter is used in the honey nut topping.
- Egg: One whole egg and one egg yolk are used in this bienenstich recipe. I use standard large eggs from the grocery store.
- Salt: a tiny bit of salt is added to the dough to balance out the sweetness.
- Honey: Honey is one of the most classic elements of a bienenstich and what gives it its name.
- Sliced Almonds: Almonds are also a traditional element to this cake but it can be made with either sliced or slivered almonds.
- Vanilla Pudding Mix: This cake is usually made with a vanilla pudding mix so this recipe does the same. I have used instant pudding mix but a cooked pudding mix will work as well.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon adds a little extra flavor to the honey nut topping.
- Heavy Cream: Heavy cream is mixed with the vanilla pudding mix to create the light and fluffy filling.
How to make Bienenstich
Make the Honey Nut Cake
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, and yeast. Then, add in the warmed milk, butter, egg and egg yolk, and salt. Knead with the dough hook attachment on medium low speed for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes the dough should be soft and stretchy but still a little sticky. Remove the dough and grease the bowl. Place the dough back in and cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic. Then place it somewhere warm to rest for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Grease a 9″x13″ metal baking pan. Knock the air out of the dough, then place it in the center of the pan and gently press the dough out from the center using your hands. Do this until the dough reaches all four sides. If it is pulling back and won’t stay in the corners, allow it to rest for five minutes before stretching it again.
Honey Almond topping
- In a small/medium sauce pot, combine the sugar, butter, and honey. Bring to a boil over medium/high heat, stirring frequently. Once at a boil, continue to cook for an additional minute before removing it from the heat.
- Then, stir in the almonds and cinnamon and leave in the warm pot. Immediately start on the cake.
Bake the Bienenstich
- Scoop the honey nut filling out onto the outer edges of the dough. Then gently use a rubber spatula to spread the topping over the surface of the dough. If it’s easier, spoon out a little topping on to the dough and spread it out before scooping out any more of the topping.
- Immediately place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 20-22 min, rotating halfway through.
- Once the cake is golden brown, remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack until it is fully cooled.
- To remove the cake from the pan, slide a knife around the cake to loosen it. Then gently flip the bienenstich out of the pan and turn it right side up onto a cutting board.
Vanilla Cream Filling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour in the cold heavy cream and sprinkle the vanilla pudding mix over the top.
- Use the whisk attachment to whip the mixture on medium high until stiff peaks form. Watch it because it will whip up quickly.
Assemble the Bienenstich
- Cut the cooled cake into 12 rectangles by first cutting it into 4ths and then cut each quarter into 3rds.
- Slice each piece of cake in half so that you are left with two layers.
- Using a piping bag, or an offset spatula, spread the cream filling onto the bottom layer of each piece of cake. Then, top with the corresponding top layer. You now have 12 slices of assembled bienenstich cake.
Bienenstich (German Bee Sting Cake)
- Stand Mixer
- 375 grams ap flour
- 50 grams granulated sugar
- 8 grams instant yeast 1 packet
- 200 milliliters milk lukewarm
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1 egg yolk room temperature
- 40 grams butter softened
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Honey Nut Topping
- 75 grams butter
- 90 grams granulated sugar
- 90 grams honey
- 120 grams slivered almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon ground
- 500 milliliters heavy cream
- 1 packet vanilla pudding mix 3.4 oz packet
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar and yeast.
- Then add in the milk, butter, egg, egg yolk, and salt.
- Use the dough hook attachment to knead the dough on medium/low speed for 10 minutes. It should be smooth but still stick to the bowl.
- Place the dough in a greased bowl that is at least twice the size (you can use the same mixing bowl) and cover it with a towel or plastic.
- Place the bowl somewhere warm for 30 minutes to allow the dough to proof until doubled in size.
- Grease a metal, 9"x13" baking pan. Knock the air out of the dough and place the proofed dough in the center of the pan. Gently stretch it out from the center using your hands.
Honey Nut topping
- Heat over medium/high heat, stirring frequently, until it comes to a boil. Continue cooking for one minute longer, then remove it from the heat.
- Stir in the almonds and cinnamon.
- Continue stretching until the dough reaches the edges of the pan. If the dough shrinks back, let it rest for 5 minutes and then continue stretching.
- Spoon the honey nut topping onto the dough around the edges of the rectangle.
- Use a rubber spatula or an offset spatula to gently spread the topping over the dough as evenly as possible.
- Immediately, bake the bienenstich in the oven for 20-22 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
- It is done when it has become a deep golden brown color.
- Once fully baked, remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour in the heavy cream.
- Sprinkle the instant vanilla pudding mix over the cream and use the whisk attachment to whip it to stiff peaks on high speed.
Assemble the Bienenstich
- Once the cake is cooled, run a knife along the edge to loosen it from the baking pan. Then gently, tip the cake out and place it face up on a cutting board.
- Cut the cake into 12 slices by first cutting it in half lengthwise and then crosswise. Then cut each quarter into three slices.
- Cut each slice in half so that you have two layers.
- Use a piping bag or offset spatula to spread the cream filling onto the bottom layer of each slice of cake.
- Then lay the top layer of each piece over the filling and press down gently.