Bienenstich is classic German sheet pan yeasted cake topped with honey and almonds and filled with a vanilla cream that is light and fluffy.
This cake is perfect for someone with a sweet tooth but doesn’t love the richness of chocolate. The cake itself is not that sweet but the honey and almond topping balances it out. There are many different versions of this filling in Germany but this one – which I think is the easiest – is a combination of vanilla pudding (from a packet because why not?) and whipped butter.
What pan is best 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.
Why use vanilla pudding mix?
Vanilla pudding mix is actually incredibly common in Germany. Many people there, use these mixes because they are easy and delicious. You can definitely make your own vanilla pudding – just make sure the liquid amounts to a 1/2 liter. Often American pudding mixes will be filled with all sorts of chemicals but I recently found this mix from European Gourmet Bakery with only the simplest ingredients and the taste is amazing!
What if I can’t find sliced almonds?
Both sliced almonds and slivered almonds will work in this recipe! I prefer sliced almonds because they are thinner and easier to bite through but both will work.
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Tips for making Bienenstich
- Knead the dough for at least 20 minutes. I know this may seem like a long time but it is a very rich and moist dough and it takes longer for the gluten to develop. The dough will still stick to the sides of the bowl but it should no longer stick to your fingers.
- 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. Additionally, cut the pieces of cake before splitting each piece into two slices.
- When making the filling, add the pudding in very slowly and allow the mixer to run in between each addition. If the pudding is added too quickly, the mixture will split and you will be left with a very unappealing mixture.
- 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 and the pudding filling 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 as well as the filling.
- 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. I also use honey in the filling to add a little extra flavor.
- 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. However, you can definitely make your own vanilla pudding. *See the tips section above for more information.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon adds a little extra flavor to the honey nut topping.
How to make Bienenstich
Make the Pudding
- Combine the vanilla pudding mix and milk in a medium sauce pot. Heat on medium heat, whisking frequently, until it comes to a simmer. Keep cooking and whisking for 1 more minute. Then remove the pot from the heat and pour the pudding into a heat safe dish to cool to room temperature. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the pudding. Make sure that it is touching the top surface, to prevent it from forming a skin.
- To speed up the cooling process, the dish can then be placed in an ice bath. Just make sure that when you are ready to use the pudding that it is at room temperature, not cold.
Make the Dough
- 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 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes the dough should still be very soft but no longer stick to your fingers when touched. Remove the dough and grease the bowl. Place the dough back in and cover the bowl with a towel or plastic. Then place it somewhere warm to rest for 30 minutes.
Make the Honey Nut 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 set aside.
Bake the Bienenstich
- Grease a 9×13 metal baking pan. Place the rested dough 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.
- 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 15-20 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.
Make the Cream filling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the honey and butter on medium/high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- With the mixer running on medium/high speed, slowly spoon the pudding into the bowl. Make sure to let the mixer run for at least 30 sec to a minute after every 4 additions of pudding.
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 – a top and a bottom of each rectangle of cake.
- Either pipe, using a piping bag, or an offset spatula to evenly spread the cream filling mixture 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
- 1 packet vanilla pudding mix
- 500 ml milk
- 250 grams butter softened
- 2 tbsp honey
- 375 grams AP flour
- 50 grams granulated sugar
- 8 grams instant yeast 1 packet
- 200 ml milk lukewarm
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1 egg yolk room temperature
- 40 grams butter softened
- 1/4 tsp salt
Honey Nut Topping
- 75 grams butter
- 90 grams granulated sugar
- 90 grams honey
- 120 grams slivered almonds
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon ground
Make the Vanilla Pudding
- In a medium sauce pot combine the milk and pudding mix. Cook over medium heat – stirring frequently, until it comes to a simmer.
- Then cook for one minute longer.
- Remove the pudding from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Make the Dough
- 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 20 minutes. It should still cling to the bowl slightly but not to your fingers.
- 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.
Honey Nut topping
- In a small sauce pot combine the butter, sugar, and honey.
- 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.
- Grease a metal, 9"x13" baking pan. Place the proofed dough in the center of the pan and gently stretch it out from the center using your hands.
- 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 15-20 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, use the paddle attachment to cream together the butter and honey. Mix on medium/high speed until the butter is light and fluffy. Scraped down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Very slowly, while the mixer is running, spoon in the room temperature pudding. Allow the mixer to run for at least 30 seconds after every 4th addition of the pudding.
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.