German Bee sting cake

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The following German dessert, -has a funny name Bee sting– and it’s my husband’s and my favorite! At the German bakeries the Bienenstich or Bee sting cake is usually made of a sweet dough with a baked-on honey topping of caramelized almonds and filled with a vanilla custard, butter cream or cream. The cake may have earned its name from its honey topping: according to one legend, a bee was attracted to it, and the baker who invented the cake was stung. Another source cites a legend of German bakers from the 15th century who lobbed beehives at raiders from a neighboring village, successfully repelling them, and celebrated later by baking a version of this cake named after their efforts.

Ingredients: 2 packages active dry yeast, 1/4 cup warm water, 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened, 3/4 cup white sugar, 2 eggs, room temperature, 3 egg yolks, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup warm milk, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature, 4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar, 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, 3/8 cup heavy whipping cream, 3/8 cup honey, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 5/8 cup sliced almonds, 2 cups pastry cream

Directions

Combine the yeast, and the warm water; set aside to proof for 5 minutes.

Cream 3/4 cup butter and sugar until light. Beat in the eggs and yolks one at a time. Add the vanilla, milk, sour cream, and yeast. Beat until smooth. Add the flour a little at a time to form a soft dough. Add all of the flour, and continue to beat until elastic, about 8 minutes. Place dough into an oiled bowl, cover and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 50 minutes. Can be placed in the refrigerator overnight instead.

Beat down the dough, and divide into two pieces. Place each in a buttered 9 inch square pan. Brush the top of each with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Cover and let rise until doubled.

For the glaze, place the brown sugar, 6 tablespoons butter, cream, and honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Boil for 30 seconds. Remove from heat; add the lemon juice and almonds. Let cool slightly. Drizzle the warm glaze, over each of the cakes.

Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 minutes, or until the nuts are golden. Cool on a rack.

Split the cakes lengthwise using a serrated knife, and fill with the pastry cream. Sandwich cakes back together and serve.

Useful note: The whipped cream makes the filling very rich, while the gelatin stabilizes it, so it’ll stay firm (and not “weep”) in the pastry for days, if it’s necessary. A good tip: when you are in a hurry, instead of making the butter cream simply prepare instant vanilla pudding mix, use heavy cream instead of milk, spike it with an extra shot (a teaspoon or two) of vanilla extract and it’s ready!

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