bee sting cake

Nobody could mistake me for a person who moves quickly. I “run” at a treadmill speed that would never catch a thief, and barely these days, a preschooler on the loose. It took us 3.5 years, until two weeks ago, in fact, to finally put the kid’s toys away. We’ve been “redecorating” the living room for the better part of a year — we’ll probably put the pictures back up in a week or six; please, don’t rush us. Thus, it should surprise nobody that it’s taken me nearly four years to conquer the cake you see here, which sounds even worse if you consider that it was a special request from my own mother, as this was her favorite growing up.

yeast, flour, butter, milk, eggs, salt, go
beat with the paddle attachment

In my defense, in that period of time, I moved apartments, had a kid, wrote a book, and went on a 25-city book tour, all while (mostly) keeping up with this here website and spending a truly horrific amount of time staring slack-jawed social media ahem, maintaining occasional hobbies. But I know the truth, which is that I’ve been intimidated by making it because I felt like I was cooking blind. The Bee Sting Cake (Bienenstich) is a German specialty and while my mother’s parents came over in 1935 and 1936 respectively, the areas once known as German epicenters (the middle of Queens, where my mom was raised, and Yorkville, in the Upper East Side of Manhattan) have now mostly dispersed, and most of the accompanying stores have shuttered. Calls to German bakeries to see if they sold it were almost futile, until I found one in Ridgewood, Queens that sold us a whole one that was rather awful; let’s not speak of it at all. The only thing left to do was go it alone, researching obsessively along the way.

more cake than brioche in batter texture

batter in pan, about to rise (a little)

What everyone seemed to agree on was that the cake was a yeasted one, baked round or in a sheet pan, barely sweet, but topped with a crunchy almond-honey-butter caramel. It’s from this topping that the name, and a story (always a story with cakes, yes? forgive me, but the premise here seems awfully thin) emerged, something about a bee being drawn to the honey topping and stinging it/it not being an authentic bee sting cake unless it has been stung. Needless to say, this has not been stung. I’m okay with that.

honey, butter, sugar, sea salt, yesss

The filling I understood to be classically made as a pastry cream, sometimes lightened with whipped cream, but you’ll find an equal number of versions that call for packaged pudding mix instead. I probably don’t need to tell you which way I went.

gets crazy thick when you add the almonds
honey almond caramel crunch on top
unevenly laid almond caramel is fine

From there, the Great Week Of Bienenstich Experiments (GWoBE) — it was kind enough to coincide with us finding two one-pound bags of sliced almonds in the freezer. [Seriously; who loses track of this stuff? Wait, don’t answer.] During Round 1, I learned that — get this — yeast goes bad, especially 1.5 years after its expiration date. Who knew?! The cake was otherwise delicious, but the batter too wet to even consider doming, yeast issues aside, and the topping was sad and pale. It was too sweet and needed more salt. Round 2 produced a lovely cake, bronzed caramel lid, but a too-thin custard filling, the result of me attempting to make it while dictating a grocery list for that weekend’s Lasagna Bolognese to my husband, and omitting an ingredient in both, grr. Round 3 looked like the platonic ideal of a bee sting cake, but the filling was too soft and the cake too hard.

This is when I should have stopped.

I didn’t stop.

from the oven
out of the pan, honey-almond-caramel crunch

In Round 4, I decided that the wet batter might have been onto something, and that was, the most tender cake of any of the rounds. Having no German grandmother peering over my shoulder to tell me which turns would doom any claims of authenticity forever, I decided that doming was overrated, and a tender, soft crumb was the only thing that would ever make me happy. This was my favorite cake body, but I decided at the last minute to lighten the pastry cream with whipped cream and it … was so soft that it squeezed out the sides when you put the top half on, the way you always hope an overstuffed Oreo would but never does.

whisking as it thickens
filled with pastry cream
bee sting cake
bee sting cake

By Round 5, it was my mom’s birthday and I thought if I ever saw a bienenstich again, I might run in the other direction, but I made it anyway, because I guess I rather like my mom. For dinner, we had this soup, this salad and this lasagna, and for dessert, the finest bee sting cake I’ve yet to taste. Two weeks ago, pre-GWoBE, that wouldn’t have been much of a claim, but a lot can change in two weeks.

a bienenstich birthday

One year ago: Banana Bread Crepe Cake with Butterscotch
Two years ago: Blackberry and Coconut Macaroon Tart
Three years ago: Shakshuka, Easy Jam Tart and Classic Cobb Salad
Four years ago: Chocolate Caramel Crack(ers) and Simple Potato Gratin
Five years ago: Lemon Yogurt Anything Cake, Fork-Crushed Purple Potatoes and Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
Six years ago: Potato Rosemary Bread, Gnocchi with a Grater and The Tart Marg

Bee Sting Cake (Bienenstich)
Cobbled together from other yeasted cakes I’ve known and loved, much trial-and-error, and with some helpful guidance from a version translated from a German cookbook, link forthcoming (Thanks, Luisa!)

This is a tender, yeasted lightly sweetened cake with a honey-almond-caramel crunch topping. Needless to say, the topping is one of the best parts. This single-layer cake is split and filled with pastry cream; I used a thin amount (about 1 cup) but for a more traditional towering bienenstich (which are often 1:1:1 with halved cake layers and custard) you might want to double the filling. As for flavorings, I put some vanilla bean scrapings in the custard, but a 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract would be more fitting. Almond or vanilla extract or even a little lemon zest could be added to the cake layers, but I didn’t feel it was necessary.

How does this differ from other bee sting cakes out there? The cake itself has slightly more milk and slightly less flour than most recipes I saw; I preferred the more tender crumb. I opted for instant yeast (which doesn’t have to be proofed with warm liquids, hooray) to create a one-mixer-bowl cake, which means this is a breeze to put together. Many recipes use pudding mixes to create the filling, but I come from a family of custard junkies, and would never cut corners there. (But by all means feel free to if it’s all the same to you.) Finally, the cake is often baked in a square or rectangular pan (double it for a 9×13) and cut into squares.

Psst: I think this cake would be absolutely delicious as a lightly-sweet coffee/brunch/teatime cake without the pastry cream filling. The pastry cream just puts it over the top.

This cake is best the day it is made but if you absolutely must get a head start, you can make the pastry cream in advance and refrigerate it until needed, up to two days. You might need to whip it up slightly to make it smoothly spreadable again. You can also make the batter the night before, and let it do its final rise in the cake pan in the fridge overnight. Bring it back to room temperature before adding the almond topping and baking it.

Update on cornstarch versus flour in custard: A few people have mentioned a floury taste in the final pastry cream, so I am adding a suggestion that you might want to use cornstarch instead. I switch back and forth between the two in custards, but seeing as I find little difference in the result, originally suggested flour because more people have it around. If you’ve got both, opt for the cornstarch instead.

2 1/4 teaspoons (or 1 1/4-ounce package) instant yeast (not active dry) (also sold as rapid rise or bread machine yeast)
3/4 cup whole milk, ideally at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs, ideally at room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Honey-Almond-Crunch Topping
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold is fine
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (4 3/4 ounces) sliced almonds
Two pinches of sea salt

Pastry Cream Filling
1 cup whole milk
Seeds from 1/4 to 1/2 vanilla bean, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or cornstarch [updated]
2 pinches sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold is fine

Make the cake: Combine all of the cake ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl, stirring till the mixture becomes cohesive, then stirring for two minutes more. In a stand mixer, you can mix this with the paddle attachment (no dough hook needed; batter is thin) at low-medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down sides, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free place for 60 minutes, till it’s a little puffy. (It won’t fully double; this is fine.)

Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Stir the batter a few times to deflate it slightly, then scrape it into the prepared pan and nudge it until it fills the bottom. Cover again with plastic wrap (don’t let it drape in and touch the top) and set aside for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the honey-almond-crunch topping: In a small or medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the butter, sugar, honey, cream and salt until the butter is melted. Bring to a simmer and let it boil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture becomes a shade darker (it should go from a yellowish tone to a light beige), stirring frequently. Stir in the almonds. You will probably panic because this mixture is going to get very thick — but don’t. Set it aside to cool slightly.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Once the cake has finished its second rise (again, it’s not going to rise a lot; don’t sweat it) use a small spoon to scoop out small amounts of the almond topping and distribute it over the top of the cake. It’s going to be a little pesky because it is firm, but I promise (see above: multiple photos of this process to ease your worry), even if it’s not perfectly evenly distributed, it will all smooth out gorgeously in the oven.

Bake cake on a foil-lined tray to catch any caramel drips, for 20 to 25 minutes, until top is bronzed and toothpick inserted into the center comes out batter-free. (Caramel on it is fine, and should be tasted.) Transfer to a cooling rack and let it sit in the pan for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, run a knife along the outside of the cake, making sure no places are stuck and invert the cake onto the cooling rack. If you’re like me, you’ll be positive that all of the almonds will fall off, but shockingly, in five rounds, I only lost one or two. Reverse it back onto another rack to finish cooling, replacing any almonds that fell off right back on top. They’ll merge back with the caramel as it cools; nobody will know.

Make pastry cream: Warm milk and vanilla bean scrapings (if using; if using an extract, don’t add yet) in a medium saucepan. Pour into a small bowl or cup, ideally with a spout. Set aside. Rinse saucepan with cool water, to rinse and cool; wipe to dry. Off the heat, whisk the yolks and sugar vigorously together for a minute, until pale and ribbony. Whisk in flour and salt until smooth. Drizzle in warm milk mixture, a spoonful at a time, whisking the whole time. Once you’ve add half of it, you can add the rest in a more steady stream, again whisking the whole time. Return the saucepan to the stove and cook on medium-high heat until it bubble, then simmer for one to two minutes, more whisking the whole time. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and any extracts you may be using. Cool custard completely before using, a process that can be sped up in the fridge or whisking it over a bowl over ice water.

Finally, assemble the cake: Once both the cake and pastry cream are fully cooled, place the cake on a serving platter and divide it horizontally into two layers with a long serrated knife. Spread pastry cream over bottom half. Place top half on pastry cream. Serve in wedges; watch out for bees. Refrigerate any leftovers.

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745 comments on bee sting cake

  1. This is really SO lovely, Deb. There must be some connection between spring and cake…because all I want to eat these days is cake…and this one looks amazing.

  2. Estelle from Cambridge

    It’s my first comment here but I read you and cook from your blog and now book for ages.

    We have something similar in France (at least in the South) minus the almond and honey but with orange blossom water and sugar beads: “La Tropezienne”. One of the best cake ever, I completely understand your mum.

    I’ll try your version.

  3. Ellen

    You have no idea how thrilled I was to see this. 30-some years ago I did a summer exchange program in Germany and fell in love with this cake. Your pictures look just like I remember. Thanks!

  4. Ich liebe Bienenstich! But that’s quite in normal, as in Germany you can buy it almost everywhere. Although I love the one I make best, of course.
    Yeasted dough is right, but I only know the bienenstich with vanilla pudding filling (with whipped cream) and I think it’s common sense in Germany. So I can’t change it ;). And 1 cup of filling is indeed too less, since it’s the best of the cake, yum!

    I find it quite interesting, that your mother is from German heritage. Did you get more German food heritage from her and your grandparents?

  5. Hope your mom liked it! This sounds like the cake heaven I never even knew about before – yeasted cake with pastry cream? Not-too-sweet, but with crackly caramel? Where have you been all my life?

  6. eclecticdeb

    I’d love to see your notebook. I experiment as well — but often do not keep track of the exact ingredients or method. So, when things turn out incredible (like the Carrot Cake that I’ve finally mastered) — recreating can be a challenge.

  7. Katy

    It reminds me of Swedish Toscakaka, which has a similar (identical?) topping but is more like a Madeira cake – not a yeasted one. There is nothing to beat mitteleuropean ‘coffee cakes’ (as I always think of them, even when they aren’t)…

  8. Jennifer

    How funny – the cover recipe for this month’s King Arthur Flour Baking Sheet is a Beesting cake! I think I need to try making both of them!

  9. This looks just absolutely delicious! I can’t wait to try it. However, I also want to know what your mom thought about its authenticity.
    By the way, your lasagna has ruined every other lasagna in the world for me.

  10. Yum. The only time I’ve ever had one of these was up in the Catskills, from a place that Google implies might be Hartmann’s Kaffeehaus. It was divine. Someday, when I have an abundance of time, I’ll try yours.

  11. Kathleen in MO

    Oh my!! My birthday was yesterday and now I really, really, reaaaaaaaaally want this cake for my bday!! Maybe next year, huh?!! It looks amazing and I just have to try my hand at a yeast-based batter. Thank you so much for going through all the trials & tribulations to bring this little gem to your mom and fans, like me. We truly cherish your perseverance and I totally relate to your NEED to keep going until you conquer the recipe!

  12. Oooohh looks amazing! I made your red wine cake for my mom ‘s birthday this year and it was delicious! This one looks even better, a perfect salty sweet combo which is my favorite :)

  13. J

    I’ve also seen a version of this with a layer of raspberry preserves between cake and cream. Can’t wait to try your version!

  14. Adam

    I’ve spent the last month pining for my favorite Leipzig cafe for some quality Kaffee und Kuchen. I think you’ve finally put me over the edge. I will be making this cake and weeping openly.

  15. This looks incredible. I love international recipes, especially when it’s actually possible for me to find the ingredients that are supposed to go in them. It’s just not as fun to substitute half of the recipe with American stuff.

  16. Judith

    Thank you for working this out for us, your devoted readers, so that we may have a good result. My question is whatever do you do with all of the unacceptable attempts?

  17. Elina

    This post looks delicious, but is missing the links on the bottom that show what you made around this time years past. I hope you put those in.

    1. deb

      Elina — Shortly. Just ran of time this morning before I had to make a certain preschooler lunch that he probably won’t eat anyway. :)

      Judith — Freezer! It was full of them. Then I gave them all to my mom (and I won’t lie, the less enjoyable ones were dumped). She doesn’t have any plans for them, either, but she does have a bigger freezer!

      What did my mom think? — Oh right, forgot to tell you! She loved it. She said she remembered the filling being slightly sweeter, which reminds me, I’m going to bump up the sugar one tablespoon. But it was otherwise perfect and well-received.

      On an aside, we had such a lovely evening. We used to have dinner parties so often pre-baby but so rarely these days. (My son’s room is right next to the living room; any noise wakes him up.) But sometimes, the thought of trying to find a restaurant that will accept a reservation for 7 people on a Saturday night and coughing up several hundred dollars for something often mediocre is exhausting, and it’s not like 3 year olds are great fun at restaurants anyhow. So, I made dinner. We borrowed a card table so we’d have enough seating and it was such an enjoyable experience — nobody hurrying us, no 400% wine markup, the exact food we love, lovingly made — we are totally obsessed with having more now. Seriously, I already bought our own folding table, we’re going to buy some extra chairs this weekend, then table linens. I should post about this here, huh?

  18. tj

    …Thank you for all your efforts and for sharing this recipe! This will be a “must make” here in my very near future. :o)

    …Peace & blessings.

  19. Wow – on this stormy day, thise cake would be perfect for an afternoon tea. If only I wasn’t at work.

    Thank you for your numerous trials, this looks delicious and will be made soon.

  20. I’m am too such a slow mover kind-of-person. There’s stuff I need/want to do that has been waiting for months, years, decades. I still have confidence that I will do it someday, who knows. Only time will tell.
    Love this cake btw, never heard of it before. I just need a special occasion to make it happen :)

  21. Amanda K

    I can’t convey how excited I am about this in text comments without sounding really weird, I can’t wait to make this. I had an absolutely dreamy Bienenstich in Berlin almost ten(!) years ago, and I’ve never had the like again. I’ve thought about making it but had been intimidated by the many contradictory recipes out there. Now you’ve done that for me, and I feel like I ought to go run out and buy a few extra copies of your cookbook to say thanks…!

  22. Hi Deb, if I had known you were looking for the Bee Sting Cake recipe, I would have given you the one I use all the time, since it is one of my favorite cakes all year round. The main difference is that my version does not have filling. Actually, I’m going to translate it from Portuguese and email it to you. I guarantee that you only need 1 round to bake a wonderful and delicious :)

  23. Sarah

    I had one of these at a party last month, made by a real german cooking whiz no less. It was divine! It looks just complicated enough that I might be able to tempt the Mr. to make it (he’s the resident cook, and loves a challenge. I think it makes him feel manly to master a complicated dish).

  24. I’m curious what your Mom thought? Was it like the one she remembered?
    Also, I always love when your photos include your bookshelves, I am in awe of your collection.

  25. Franziska

    I am German and this is my favourite cake! Whenever I am back in Germany, this is what I eat.
    Just to point out, in the paragraph on the week of experimenting with the cake, you spell it Beinenstich once. Which translates to ‘Leg sting’. :)
    Can’t wait to try this one!

  26. Erika

    Omg thank you! My grandmother used to make this cake and it is a favorite of my dads.. I will make this for fathers day! Thank you thank you!

  27. SuziBee

    Looks delicious, and clearly well researched. I love almonds but they promote kidney stones in my stone-prone husband. Any ideas for substitutions? Thanks.

  28. You had me at the title, it looks and sounds delicious! I am so impressed you went through all the renditions to make the right one! Although, she is after all, your mom, and probably deserves it :)

  29. Mei

    Bienenstich is my favorite German cake. I’ve never tried to make it because most German recipes are for a sheet cake which is just too much. I will have to try your version. Thank you for the recipe!

  30. Rieke

    This looks delicious! And I wouldn’t worry about the doming, because German Bienenstich is actually often served in large bars which of course don’t dome at all. By the way, without the pastry cream it would basically be a Norwegian Toscakaka which (dare I say it?) is maybe even nicer with its rather salty caramel – Signe Johansson’s Scandilicious Baking has an incredibly delicious version.

  31. Sarah

    This looks divine!! Any chance it has inspired you to conquer the Russian Napolean cake next?? My great aunt used to make the most delicious ones, which were particularly difficult to resist when she would get a little confused and bring them to Passover seder….

    1. deb

      Sarah — So funny that you said that, because the other (Russian) side of my family has been asking me to do so for years, so once I conquered this (and it has pastry cream no less!) they were like “AHEM” and I was like “OKAY.” But first, a nap. :)

      Again, I’ve only had it a few times and always made by the same person so it’s that feeling of blind cooking that makes it intimidating. That said, I know of a few Russian bakeries where I could do the very tough work that is auditioning.

  32. Krysten

    I heard you talk about this cake on the Joy the Baker podcast last week and have been anxiously awaiting this post ever since. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait long! :)

  33. Kate

    I heard you mention this on the Joy the Baker podcast and meant to go dig around in my German (by way of Buffalo) great-grandmother’s recipe boxes. She was big into baking, so hoping there’s something in there among the 86 different recipes for kuchen.

  34. Rebecca

    This was my old roommate’s favorite cake – she used to buy one every weekend for us to share. Shall definitely try this and let her taste :)

    When making the pastry cream when should the vanilla extract be added?

    Can you point me to a good yeast guide, one that explains the different types in a way that would make it possible to figure out non-US equivalents? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Rebecca — Whoops, now fixed. Where do you live? What types of yeast are available for purchase? The Fresh Loaf (website) is a fantastic forum of bread bakers and is full of information. But I’d be happy to relay anything I know here, too.

      CarrotTopBaker — I do not. I have to confess: I don’t adore honey. I basically just like the basic honey bear stuff, which I know is so processed (and possibly not even real honey) that for all intents and purposes, I’m probably not a honey eater.

  35. This reminds me a bit of the cream-filled yeasted pastries my German Oma used to make when I was a wee one… only hers were without the honey-almond topping, which sounds magical. Pretty sure I could use a slice or five of this cake in my life right about now.

  36. Your mother is one lucky lady! I never make it past round 3 with things. Which a) makes me even more imrpessed with you and b) tells me I have to try this.

    I have an irrational fear of yeast. I bought some maybe 3 years ago, and there in my pantry it still sits. I should probably take your advice and chuck it.

  37. CarrotTopBaker

    Hi Deb- Do you have honey preferences? I try and use local in general but regarding flavor… What are your thoughts?

  38. Mercedes

    Thank you so much for posting this! I used to have this cake at a little deli in my town and I was the only one I knew who liked it. If it weren’t for you, I would never know what it was called.

    I am going to make it this weekend. So excited!!

  39. Tobias

    Just like to mention that around here in Berlin bienenstich is made without the pudding filling. Personally I like the filled one better. I did one a while ago and, although I had some recipes, i had the same problems with the dough. Great you figured a way out. Thumbs up from Berlin! (you must try a Dresdner Stollen [fruit loaf] some time)

  40. Lily

    I second the Napoleon Cake! The best cake I ever, ever ate. I once attempted to make it myself and I went the cheap-and-easy-route for the filling with sweetened condensed milk and butter and I swear to god I had one like that in Moscow once. I had plenty with the proper filling, though, and they were much better.

    Oh and the filling in Bienenstich is supposed to ooze out the sides. It’s sold in bars in Germany and they’re impossible to eat because of it!

  41. i love your comment above deb, about re-committing to dinner parties. also – look how excited jacob is in the background of the picture with the candles lit on the cake. so cute!

  42. Jane M

    You do have determination! When I bake a bomb, I fly the white flag and GIVE UP! I guess I am upset with all the ingredients I’ve thrown down the sink drain or garbage can to try more than once!

    I love hosting dinner parties! Having friends over this weekend. I too like NOT being rushed, mediocre food and not being able to hear everyone or visit with my friends. Come on over! I always have an abundance of food and drink. This weekend I’m baking my late mother’s sour cherry cake from the Sisterhood Cookbook dated 1959. Nothing like “The Olden Days” as my sis and I used to call them!

  43. Rebecca

    Deb – I live in Israel. As far as I know there is yeast sold in dense cubes (refrigerated, 50 gram/1.7 oz), small plastic envelopes of tiny beads of yeast (refrigerated, 50 gram/1.7 oz; advertised to make it easy for the yeast to spread through the flour, no need to dissolve in water), and larger airtight bags of dry (?) yeast (not refrigerated). I’ll check out the forum too. Thanks!

    1. deb

      Rebecca — Ah! Okay. The cubes are cake or fresh yeast. The two varieties that come in packets are Active Dry or Instant (sometimes sold as Rapid Rise or Bread Machine Yeast). Active Dry requires heat to proof it (such as when you see a recipe to dissolve it in lukewarm water or milk and let it foam for 10 minutes). Instant can be mixed right in (as I do here, no pre-proofing) so my educated guess would be that the latter is the equivalent of Instant Yeast. Here’s a very helpful YEAST FAQ from The Fresh Loaf.

      1. Louise KW

        I learned at King Arthur that instant and active dry yeast are the same thing. I used active dry to make this today (for my mother’s bday- she loved it!) and it worked perfectly.

  44. My mom’s family is also German-Jewish: they settled in the Orthodox neighborhood in Washington Heights after the war. This year I finally got around to making my Oma’s svetchenkuchen, a plumb cake with a shortbread crust with almonds on top, for Rosh Hashana. Getting the recipe involved my mother reading and translating a very sparse recipe over the phone. I’ll have to call my mom and ask if she knows about this cake.

    Happy birthday to your mom. It sounds like it was a great dinner party. Our little one is just 12 weeks old, so it’s going to be a while before we do any real entertaining.

  45. JP

    I had bienenstich in Munich and at the time thought, surprisingly, it was not sweet enough. A lot of German pastries (in Germany, that is) are not quite sweet enough for American taste. They look gorgeous in the window, but the whipped cream/pastry cream, etc. has very little sweetness. I guess it all depends on what you grow up with. I still managed to eat my share, of course!
    Typo, by the way…”replace any almonds that feel off”…you must mean almonds that fall off, right? :) Thanks for the great recipe, and as always the fine blog.

  46. Heidi N

    Thank you SO MUCH!!! I lived in Germany for a few years a LONG time ago, and Bienenstich was my favorite German pastry. I haven’t been able to find a decent recipe, and this looks like it could work. Of course, we won’t get the flavour of German cream, but it will be as close as you can get, I believe. Again, Thank you!

  47. Thank you, thank you, thank you! My mom used to buy these for us from a local bakery when we were kids. It was a big splurge and we loved it. Can’t wait to make it myself!

  48. This cake looks so amazing! And it sounds like it was even worth the many tries it took to get everything just right. :) Honey and almonds and pastry cream, oh my!

  49. THANK YOU! for posting this – years ago I worked at a local restaurant and one of our desserts (my favourite) was made by a German friend of the owner’s and I have yet to find it since. I know what I am making this weekend …

    p.s. we often served it with a fresh raspberry coulis 0 delicious!

  50. Hi Deb! I was wondering if, since I have a lot of active dry yeast, I could use this instead of the instant stuff and proof it in the milk that the recipe already calls for? I would warm it up first to optimal yeast-proofing temp. I imagine this would work, but given your experience working with this particular recipe, what do you think?

    Thank you!

  51. lidia

    This cake sounds utterly fantastic and I cannot wait to try it! Of course, I’ll probably have to eat it all myself (Not a bad idea!) because my children (All runners) eat only “nuts and twigs.” And my husband does not eat desserts. Oh, save me!
    BUT!!! In that I am planning to indulge myself anyway, I would be “over the moon” happy if you could do your recipe for Napoleon cake. Friends of ours in Austin, TX, (We’re from New Jersey) had it made into their wedding cake and it was absolutely the BEST weddding cake we have ever had! Would love to make yours; I’m sure it will surpass my expectations! And “Thank you” in advance!!!

  52. angelina

    this looks delicious!
    but I’m just wondering: where do you put all of the failed cakes? Do they get thrown out? Where do they all go?!

  53. Pat

    My dad lived in Queens, and when we visited we always went to a German bakery for cheesecake. That baked cheesecake with the fruit filling baked into the topping is my idea of New York cheesecake (not the pudding-like cheesecake chilled on top of a graham cracker crust). We would take cheesecakes back to Illinois, and then Michigan. Alas, the ladies retired and we have never found anything like it since. Worse yet, whenever I mention New York Cheesecake, I am offered exactly what I don’t have in mind.
    Your cake looks beautiful, and you can proudly boast that no bees were used in the experimentation process.

  54. this is one of my most favorite posts you’ve ever done. i love the history behind the cake! i’m making a cake for my grandmothers birthday this weekend – we’re danish and english with some french and irish thrown in there. anyway, she was talking to me the other day about an infamous danish pot roast recipe she received from one of her best friends who survived the holocaust. i can’t wait to make it and share the results. this bienestich cake i’ve never heard of before (how is it my family has absolutely no german decent?!) and i must make it! ps. i’ve been meaning to write you an email about my new food blog – the freckled pie. but, since comments are more fun to read, here i am, introducing it. you’re one of my absolute favorites in the blogging world (gush gush gush) and i’m happy to bother you with it! ;) thank you for the continuous inspiration. xo

  55. steph

    My German/Puerto Rican aunt (such a great combo!) made a bee sting cake for Easter, and I fell in love with it since I’m a honey junkie. I used the extra pastry cream as a dip for strawberries. Also divine!

  56. Dee

    I’d love to make this the next time I have company, which is in a few weeks. As is often the case, there is an allergy–milk. Any ideas for subbing? I can use butter, but milk/cream is out. The cake looks divine.

  57. Ada

    This looks delicious! I always enjoy your stories of tracking down the perfect recipe to recreate a food memory. Funny coincidence: there are individual “bee stings”, described as a yeasted, baked filled donut in the Sweet Melissa Baking Book which I’ve been meaning to try out. They appear to have more or less the exact same components as this cake, so maybe I’ll try the cake instead!

  58. Ludwig

    Ah, geez, Yorkville/Germantown. I don’t think anyone even calls it that any more. I remember my mom taking me to the Kleine Konditorei on 86th, and then to Bremen Haus to stock up on Nutella (long before Nutella was available everywhere,) then Schaller & Weber for Metwurst. One of the marzipan shops had an elaborate model railroad display every Christmas.

    I still eat Nutella out of the jar, with a spoon.

  59. My fave german cake and one of the few classics one can still buy in the bakerys all across the country – been around since the 15th century.

    Love your round version – and there can never be enough pastry cream for me!

    @JP: Isn’t it amazin ghow different the sweet tooth of different countries are? American sweets are mainly too sweet for us germans ;)

  60. Bunny

    Oh, I love happy endings :)
    Love the story and the look of the cake- I’m not much of a honey lover, too, but I ADORE the look of little Jacob as he watches the candle-lit birthday cake!

  61. Annalisa

    My grandpa and my uncle both served missions for our church in Germany, and bienenstich was always one of those memory cakes that immediately evoked their experiences there. Making bienenstich was always a guarantee for getting not just delicious dessert but lots of fun stories besides. Clearly this has become a bit of a memory cake for me too!

    Though now that I look at our recipes, I think our cakes were similar in name only. Like J above, we always had a raspberry jam layer in the middle with the cream (buttercream, not pastry). In fact, I thought the raspberry jam was what gave it its name, because all the little seeds were like bee stingers! Also, our cake was not a light yeast cake, but more of a pound cake. I don’t think anyone would ever mistake our version for a light cake! I’m really excited to try your recipe, because it sounds so much less dense than our winter-in-the-German-Alps variant (which is delicious, but very rich). But I will definitely be adding raspberry jam. There are some things that are sacred. ;)

  62. This simply sounds marvelous to me: crunch, tender crumb *and* pastry cream. And even though I love chocolate to pieces, this may just be my new ideal “soon-to-be-30” birthday cake!

  63. mandybird

    I first tried bienenstich on a trip to Germany last year — I regret not ordering another slice immediately after we finished the first. [insert German word for NOM]

    Did you see that Martha published a recipe in the Dec. 2012 issue of Martha Stewart Living? Was this among the recipes you consulted?

    I guess I’ll just have to try baking both hers and yours (too bad there isn’t a secret stash of sliced almonds in our freezer, too). Thanks so much for posting this.

    1. deb

      mandybird — No, I totally missed that! And I’d searched her site (the search function is terrible), certain she’d have gotten to this at least once and came up empty. The recipe looks great. My cake will be easier because of the instant yeast/no proofing/no transferring to a buttered bowl (I really question the point of that here, and saw it in so many recipes — usually it’s so you can flip it out and knead it, but this is too battery, you wouldn’t do that). I love that her pastry cream uses honey, so smart. It might be fun to swap some in here and increase the “bee” quotient. Her pastry cream is lightened with whipped cream. I did this on one batch (I used 1/3 cup heavy cream) and it was very tasty but it tends to be too soft/squeezes out. But, my mother said she always remembered it being messy so that might not be an inauthentic thing.

  64. Christa

    This is perfect! King Arthur Flour company in Norwich VT makes a cake like this, called the Bee Sting, and sells it at their store and factory right there. (If you’re ever making a road trip north, I highly recommend a stop there.) I used to live over the river in New Hampshire and loved to get this cake from them for special occasions. I’ve searched their website and not found a recipe. Yours, with that caramelized topping, looks even better! Can’t wait to try it and all it’s almond-honey goodness here in California. Pretty sure I can get some great almonds here too!

  65. Susan

    At last…and I didn’t even have to find a way to ask you to attempt this cake! I love, LOVE, Bee Sting Cake. I make one also, but it’s made as an upside down cake so that the topping is like that of a sticky bun when the cake is flipped out but then settles into a crunchy, honeyed crown of almonds. I have to admit, I got the recipe and adapted it from a pillsbury cookbook a long time ago when I was trying to recreate a burnt almond cake. The filling was made with instant pudding, and I can’t believe I’m admitting this…but I went ahead and used their filling! Stupid when you consider that pastry cream really isn’t that much more effort and is so much better! I even posted the recipe on Pioneer Woman’s cooking site under the title of Almond Cream Cake, because I felt it not authentic enough to call it Bee Sting Cake or Burnt Almond Cake. But it is..both, really. Your’s, I’m sure, is so much better I will be trying it soon. Thanks for all you do!

  66. helene

    Deb – my grandparents lived in Yorkville in the 1960s/70s and we went to visit every Sunday. I don’t remember where exactly the bakery was (walkable to their apartment on 86th street between 1st and 2nd avenues). They owned a deli on 1st between 86th and 87th. Anyway, the bakery was called Bahrenberg’s (sp?) and we used to get Whipped Cream Horns – sheer heaven. I remember being thrilled that on a Sunday bakeries and florists were open in NYC (where we lived on Long Island, blue laws had everything closed. I definitely remember eating this cake. I don’t think i had a sophisticated enough palate for it at the time. It looks absolutely scrumptious here! Thanks for the memory nudge! (have you made a charlotte russe? that was my mom’s favorite. i tried to make a big one for her birthday once, not as good as the individual ones you could purchase with the push up cardboard platform)

  67. Well, you had me at the very first photo. oh, I love your job! Never heard of this cake before but it looks completely delicious and I appreciate all your determination in perfecting it. BTW, have you figured out a good way to get rid of- I mean distribute- all of your test recipes??

  68. Amazing doesn’t describe this – it looks absolutely to die for. This might have to be the next cake I try.

    P.S. I have never heard of this cake so it was especially fun to read about it.

  69. My mother-in-law’s birthday is this weekend. She has a German heritage. I think I will try this! Thank you so much for the many try and try again efforts to give me a great recipe! Amy

  70. Lindsay

    Bee sting is actually traditionally used on brioche as a breakfast pastry France. During pastry school (a very traditional French one,) we were taught about a few different applications, but this looks wonderful!

  71. I can remember having some amazing (and some rather dubious) Bienenstich from bakeries in South Australia as I was growing up. Up near the Barossa Valley the German influence is still very strong. However, despite living in Germany and now Austria, I am yet to find a good local Bienenstich. Now I have no excuse but to make my own! Thanks!

  72. Hannah, Israel

    What a magnificent Bienenstich! Throws me back to my childhood in Haifa, Israel, where many Jews originating from Germany immigrated to after the War, and thus the city was blessed with many bakeries and cafes’ featuring their traditional pastries. This was one of my favorite cakes! I made it myself several times but forgot about it – thanks for the reminder, we have a holiday coming up in which cheese and dairy cakes and foods are eaten – the Bienenstich might make a comeback in our house.
    I would like to share with you a tip I learned (and use) from a Bienenstich recipe I once saw in an Israeli magazine, for preventing the filling from squeezing out the sides when cutting the cake – when you split the cake into half, before you put the top half back on, cut the crusty top into servings (I cut it to half, then quarters and then each quarter into 2 or 3 more slices, depending on the size of the cake). Then, after spreading the filling, put the slices on the filling, keeping their order. If you put them tightly next to each other, you should hardly see any gaps. This way, when serving, you can cut smoothly, only the two bottom layers, between the pre portioned slices, and nothing should be squeezing out. This method was actually used in several of the bakeries featuring this cake. I hope you understood..

    1. MaggieToo

      Great idea. I’ve seen that precut method used on Paris Brest cakes in bakeries, and it should work perfectly with this too.

  73. Elisa

    Thank you for posting this recipe. My great-aunt would always make me her bienenstich for my birthday every year, and she of course kept her recipe in her head (making it very frustrating to try and duplicate!). I can’t wait to give this one a try!

  74. Deb what a stunning cake and thank you for sharing the recipe and for trialing this cake so.many.times to get it right! Hey, at least you had happy friends and neighbors in the process to help eat the samples :) It’s beautiful, all golden and shiny and so inviting!

  75. HOLY Shmolies Debs!! This is my favorite cake from a local bakery in the Cotswolds (UK) I have never seen it anywhere else before and I often dream about it, thanks so so much for persevering, I am going to make this at the weekend!!!! :D

  76. Isabella

    This sounds amazing! If you like yeasted cake (and are looking for another project) I really like tarte tropézienne, which is from the south of France. Not exactly light, but insanely delicious. I might try and make yours this weekend.

  77. Rachel

    Deb, this looks fabulous! How far in advance would you say it’s safe to slather in the pastry cream while avoiding the dreaded soggy-cake syndrome? (I’m hoping you’ll say the night before an office party will work just fine since I’d rather not be assembling this cake in the breakroom!) Thanks!

  78. This cake is one of my favorites, Deb! My mom and I made it a few years back for my birthday and I remember it being so darn rich and decadent, but so delicious at the same time! Thanks for sharing and bringing back good memories!

  79. Rosa

    Funny, i’ve had a recipe for this clipped from the Chicago Tribune magazine from about a decade ago and have yet to make it. Now, no more excuses!

  80. Dear Deb,

    Is it possible that the name of the cake has to do with beestings, the first milk a mother cow makes for her calf after it is born? I had heard of an irish soda-raised cake made from this rich milk before, and I wondered if they were related.

  81. Oh my goodness, this looks delicious! My father is from Germany, and although I’ve never heard of this cake, my grand-mother used to make an amazingly delicious pineapple cake that is out of this world. Germans might not be known for their cakes, but when they do, it’s worth it! Yum!

  82. Debbie

    My daughter is over the moon now that I showed her this post. Every December here in Chicago we brave the elements and go to the Christkindlmarket, the German Christmas market held downtown in the loop. The handcrafted Christmas items are supposed to be the attraction but the food stalls are amazing and the bee sting cake is our absolute favorite. We are lucky to still have a few German neighborhoods with great bakeries here, but even still finding this cake has been virtually impossible. Not much luck asking for recipes from the omas at the Lutheran church we attend either. I’m thinking it must have originally been a regional specialty. Anyway, last year after we had the cake, I scoured the internet for recipes and was overwhelmed by the task of figuring out all the options – yeast or no yeast (seemed like it needed to be yes, but ugh), the pudding mix I just can’t do, and so many opinions on the amount of almonds. I was resigned to just having the cake once a year at the market. Thanks for doing all the work of testing the options for me! Can’t wait to make it!

  83. Hi Deb, this looks great. im interested to know how firm the honey/almond topping gets. Does it set solid or maintain a gooeyness for ease of eating? Many thanks.

  84. Joanna

    I cannot wait to try this. There used to be a German bakery in my town the made this. Sadly, they closed a year or so ago and their recipes didn’t transfer with the business.

  85. SVF

    The cake on the cover of this book is a “bienenstich cake” The cake is not yeasted, but biscuit-like, and not very sweet. The Lion House Restaurant is owned by the Mormon church, so the origins of the recipe are probably not authentic, unless it was brought back from Germany by an LDS missionary.

  86. Megan B

    Oh, that lasagna! I just made your lasagna bolognese over the weekend, and it was a HUGE hit. Another amazing Smitten Kitchen recipe!

  87. Anwer

    So I made this tonight. My cake batter rose a lot and I had to extra-deflate when putting it in my cake pan. I put my almond caramel on top and everything was perfect……..until it baked up and swallowed my topping.

    All was still not lost though……until I tried to invert the cake. The edges of the cake got stuck to the pan due to the leaky caramel and the whole thing fell apart :)

    It’s really yummy though!

    1. deb

      Anwer — Oh no! I should have added that you should run a knife along the cake before inverting it, just to be safe. My topping gets swallowed a little by the cake, more in some areas, but mostly stays on top. (And I will fight you for the pieces with buried caramel because they’re crazy delicious.)

      Hannah — It’s pretty firm in the end (hence the “crunch” topping).

      Rachel — The cake doesn’t get very soggy, because it’s a yeasted cake and has more structure. However, the cake itself should be baked as close to serving time (at least the same day) as possible because these cakes can dry out/firm up quickly otherwise. So, the rush is about that, not mushiness.

      Isabella — That’s totally the French version! It looks like a large brioche, covered in that pearl sugar, filled with pastry cream. Very close!

    2. Su

      Yup, I am experiencing the same situation: the toffee almond layer got swallowed/sunk into the dough 5 mins into baking time. I followed the recipe to a tee. Where did i go wrong? I am So disappointed!

      1. lp

        Check out the other comments by folks who’ve had the same problem. I’ve had it happen too. It’s bc the mixture was too warm, so it melted into the cake in the oven. Some commenters have come up with some clever ways to handle it, and they all seem to work!

  88. My home town of Adelaide has a big German immigrant population, so there were lots of bakeries (and presumably there still are) that sold Beestings. The ones I always saw were long, rather than round, so I think I might go with that when I make one! My mum also was a huge lover of beestings, so I hope I’ll get the chance to make this for her!

  89. I have been looking for a recipe like this for ages! My Mom is German and my Grandparents would get her one for her birthdays every year from a German bakery that is now out of business. She hasn’t had one for years! They call it a “beehive” here, but it’s the same thing. No one made her a cake for her birthday this year (we usually order take out and I felt so bad she didn’t have a cake!) so I am thinking of surprising her with one this year. THANK YOU SO MUCH for this recipe! It will go over very well in my family. :)

  90. Rose

    Love, love bienenstich! When I was little we’d get a slice at a German bakery after our ballet class. What a treat! Question though…I’m lactose intolerant and I’m wondering if the heavy cream in the topping is a critical ingredient. Can I leave out or substitute something else?

  91. ohmygodican’tBELIEVEit!!!!!

    growing up (in bellevue, washington, of all places, home of bill gates, on the far-flung west coast — not, shall we say, a german epicenter. more like babette’s feast, come to life. lots and lots [and LOTS] of scandihoovians), there was a little suburban bakery of little note save this cake. Bee Stink Cake. Bienenstich. Believe it. I’ve been searching for it ever since (not hard, clearly, since Google would surely deliver, but in every one of my dozens of baking books, to no avail). this is it. i’d know it in a heartbeat.

    and guess who loves it most? my mum. go figure.

    thanks, deb, for resurrecting this one for me, in memory and recipe. will so be making this.


  92. Wow. Just wow. This cake is the absolute utmost of everything I adore in food. I cannot wait to make this. I am speechless. I am in love with this cake.

    Sorry, I just really like honey. And almonds. And pastry cream. And yeasty cakes.

  93. carol

    I have been searching for a good recipe for Bienenstich for 40 years, since I attended university in Germany for a year. This looks and sounds like the real thing. Yum! Thank you for doing all the work to make my favorite dessert come true!

  94. I am officially Deb obsessed! I read every single comment . . . just love EVERYTHING about SK! This cake looks so good! That pastry cream is a killer. Perhaps I should make it for my birthday, which is in two weeks? Or maybe that chocolate hazenut macaroon torte that I’ve been trying to come up with an excuse to make :)

  95. This looks amazing! I love pastry cream and enjoy cream puffs, so this recipe sounds like a winner to me. I am definitely going to make this some time!

  96. If you happen to stroll through Milwaukee mid-June during German Fest, Kopp’s, the local custardary, serves Bienenstich custard. It’s my favorite and worth a trip :). Can’t wait to make this cake!

  97. Deb, you know I love your perseverance …. no cake out there is going to stop you. Way to go…. pastry cream? almonds and honey…. I think it sounds really delicious and you’ve done all the work all we have to do is follow along your recipe and enjoy. Awesome. Thank you for sharing.


  98. April

    I only recently discovered bee sting cake at the Paulaner Brauhaus in Beijing and I’m so so happy to see a recipe for one here! I’m definitely making it this weekend.I certainly can’t vouch for the authenticity of the one I had, knowing what even good examples of American food tend to be like in China (although the restaurant is a German chain), but the one I ate had a thin layer of raspberry jam in the middle. Which might account for the extra sweetness your mom remembers?

  99. Ohhh My Lanta. This is my favourite cake. Of all time. It’s just perfectly sweet, totally not overwhelming … but that just means I have to eat more. There’s a great bakery here in Vancouver called Brekka and they sell these. The pastry cream is so thick it oozes everywhere. They sel them for a ridiculously cheap $10! I always try to sneak in in the early afternoons to get day old slices – just so I don’t have to take home a whole cake. I’m not much of a baker but if I ever get an inkling, I’ll come back for this one!

  100. Jan

    I’m not sure I’ll tackle this, but I feel confident that I could do it because that’s just what your recipes do for me. When I saw the name of the cake I was surprised–a German bakery in Modesto, CA (Central Valley part of the state) has Bee Sting bars or maybe they were rectangular pieces of cake. Yum yum yum! I’ve only had one once, since I don’t go to Modesto very often. Anymore. If I can help it. Can you tell I was born and raised there, now live in Santa Cruz, so everyone visits me at the beach?

  101. Corinna

    Hi Deb,
    I’ve grown up with Bienenstich, but my parents and grandparents had never given me an satisfying answer as to why exactly it’s called that (they’re German). After looking it up, it seems even more amazing than I would have thought (and totally appeals to my obsession with the quirky moments of European History), even if it is only an urban legend.
    Apparently, in the year 1474 the Emperor decided to take away the proceeds of a toll on the river Rhein from the city of Linz, and give it to the city of Andernach instead. The Linzers were of course unhappy about this, and planned to attack Andernach. The attack was discovered by accident by two baker’s apprentices who were on the city wall, illicitly tasting honey from the bee baskets there. They threw the baskets down, and the resulting beestings drove away the people of Linz. At the resulting celebration the next day, the two apprentices were allowed to ask for a special dish – a cake – that has since then been called Bienenstich.

  102. After my husband and I got married, we went to Germany so I could meet my new Oma and Opa. I was greeted with this cake and it has FOREVER been my absolute favorite. So much so that my mother in law (who lives in Florida) researched and found a German bakery close to where we live (Denver, CO) in order to get one of these for my birthday this past year.

    I’m so happy you shared this recipe- it brings back such wonderful memories!

  103. Adriana

    I am so excited to try this. I have enjoyed (many times) the beesting cake from Balthazar’s in Englewood. I am assuming the one you found in Ridgewood is from Heidi’s. I have to stop in there soon. Don’t pass up Sook next time your in Ridgewood.

  104. Tanya

    This is so exciting my husband is German and bienenstich is his all time favourite. He often talks about it with fond childhood memories of eating it with his Omi. We have never seen Bienenstich here in NZ and I have not known how to make it. I will make a surprise one for him! Thank you.

  105. Barbara

    Any other changes I missed, aside from increasing the topping sugar content 1 Tbls. ? Never made a yeasted cake before and can’t wait for your NEXT cookbook to make this one!

  106. Sarah

    I love bee sting – the bakery near my in-laws(in country Victoria, Australia) does a great one (a good reason to visit :)) but I would love to try make one at home – thanks!

  107. What an amazing achievement. I have only ever had bee sting cakes from old fashioned country bakeries in Australia. I’ve never even considered trying to make one but it looks fantastic so perhaps I will have to now. You’ve got to love this cake for the name alone.

  108. Mary Ellen

    I make this unyeasted version a lot – feels like cheating but it makes it much more achievable and it’s still fantastic. I reckon that packaged pudding mix can be heavy and is good lightened with whipped cream, but I usually make real pastry cream and don’t bother with extra cream. And I use flaked, not ground, almonds. (Brigitte Hafner is a well-known Melbourne chef whose family is German so somehow that makes me feel OK about going with the unyeasted cake…)

  109. Brenda

    I’ve been living in Stuttgart, Germany for almost 5 years now, and cook and bake from your website and cookbook constantly!! I LOVE Bienenstich and it’s also one of my German boyfriend’s favorite cakes. I’m excited to try this one out AND be able to share it with my non-German-language speaking friends/family!

  110. R. Goodsign

    Deb, isn’t it amazing how many memories and emotions this cake brings? My maternal gransparents were originally german, and my gran explain that traditionally they made this cake, not with sliced almonds but with almond sticks (for want of a better word…). When the cake was baked the slivers of almonds in the topping would create tiny holes which sort of resemble a honeycomb. see here for an exemple

  111. Susy

    I’m a huge fan of Bienenstich. I have a recipe from a book of German special occasion baking. My Geman speaking husband translated it for me eagerly, as he loves this cake. It’s a gorgeous, lush cake and your photo looks perfect. I hope your mother was pleased.

  112. Hurray! Bienenstich is one of my favourite cakes, too. Until now, I have never dared to make one myself. But I am also a bit pathetic about the cream oozing out on the sides when eating it. It looks all messy on the plate afterwards. So, a couple of years ago, I have started flipping my piece of cake on the side before “cutting” it with my fork. Am I weird?

  113. Karen

    You are a good daughter, Deb – and also a good mom and a good wife – the trifecta of goodness!

    My MIL turned 96 today. She loves sweets, so I might try to climb this mountain of a recipe for her; she is most deserving!

  114. Jessiet

    I love you, I love you, I love you, Deb! I wait with bated breath for each and every one of your wonderful recipes. Who tests to perfection as you do? Who has the stick-to-it-ive-ness to not get discouraged while testing? Who doesn’t give up on the 2nd, or 3rd, or 4th attempts? Who doesn’t know that the answers to all of the above are: YOU! (and me, I must confess). Maybe part of it is being German–both my mother and father were German, and we are a stubborn (I like “determined” better) people! This looks incredibly delicious, and I’m going to make it, right now! Who cares that it is only 6:00 AM!? I must do something to stop drooling on my computer. Your “foodie-ness” is so appreciated–thank you!

  115. JacquieKatz

    I, too, have memories of this cake from Israel. I never had a clue how to make it. Definitely on my list to try. Thank you so much for all your experimenting-so worthwhile! And your mother loves you so much for making her cake happen!

  116. Hi Deb,
    could you please, please give metric measurements as well? I live in Australia with an Austrian background and find it so confusing to use American measurements. Thank you!

  117. maggie

    A couple of hints regarding yeast and proofing:
    1) Yeast can be frozen and it keeps almost indefinitely as long as it stays frozen.
    2) I hope you’ve picked up every shower cap from every hotel room you’ve stayed in on your book tour! Why? Because they’re GREAT proofing covers! They have that elastic edge and they don’t droop as easily as towels or plastic wrap or the towel/plastic wrap combination I used to use. Family members now know to grab them for me.
    3) Your oven with the oven light turned on is a perfect proofing box and will prevent drafts from affecting the dough/batter.

  118. I’m so glad I’m not the only crazy person who makes the same recipe six times in one week to get it just perfect. Sorry, the cake looks interesting too and I plan to try it, but the obsessiveness is what I really appreciated this time round.

  119. Heather S.

    There was a German bakery near my home called the Vienna Konditeri. They made this cake as well and it is one of my favorites. They made it in a rectangle, similar to a box of sticky buns. It was a wonderful cake. My wedding cake even came from there. Sadly with the economy change the last few year they have closed their business. I thank you for the recipe and all your time and energy put into these wonderful recipes.

  120. Mary H

    This looks just like the one I can get here in metro-Detroit at one of our local specialty market stores – the only place I have ever seen it available. There is something truly magical about this cake. The cake is not very sweet, and it absorbs some of the creamy center to create a thin dense layer of cake on top of the dryer layer. Then there is the smooth creamy center — just delicious. But the whole thing is brought together by the caramelized honey-almond topping. It is absolutely one of my top 3 favorite pastries, and it’s German, not Austrian or French. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I will try it and see if it tastes like the one I know!

  121. Nelleke

    I made this as soon as I saw it. It is delicious. I would caution everyone…make sure your 9-inch pan is high enough. Mine was just slightly too low and I had a bit of a mess on the cookie sheet I put underneath. The cake has a gorgeous, moist texture. I had a couple of craters where the caramel/almonds sank, but it didn’t affect the looks too much. The only thing I didn’t like was the pastry cream. It had a bit of a floury taste and texture. I’ll reduce the flour next time I make it, or better yet, just use my tried-and-true recipe for pastry cream. I’ve never had this kind of cake before, and am not a purist, so I’m already thinking how wonderful this would be with some tart apricots added to the pastry cream layer.

  122. Danamelaina

    I LOVE these types of cakes (not too sweet, vanilla custard -yum!). Definitely trying it with a twist (needs to be dairy free) for a family dinner party this weekend. Can’t wait!

  123. Lis

    I loved your story! I grew up in Ridgewood but haven’t been back in many years. Sad to hear that the German bakeries are not up to past standards. This makes me miss my German grandma. I may have to try making this cake for the memories.

  124. Susie

    appropos of nothing, I bought your UK edition of your cookbook at my local bookshop yesterday! It looks fantastic, the translation to UK style seems to have been very well done and am very excited to cook out of it (it looks better suited to staining and drips than my ipad). That said, I just found your walnut cake recipe on here (how did I EVER miss it) and that has taken first place in the list of things to cook next as I am a sucker for walnut cakes. Anyhow, well done and congrats. The UK books is super.

  125. marion

    All I can say is thanks. I grew up in Bergen County and the cake was my favorite as a child. The bakery, in Teaneck stopped making it at least 30 years ago.

  126. Oregonjudy

    Can’t wait to try this. If you are ever in Minneapolis, there is a bakery in one of the northern suburbs called Anoka. They have a bakery called Hans Bakery that makes this cake. It is wonderful but it is called beehive cake. Maybe for us Minnesotans the name was more appealing.

  127. Jordan M

    This looks to-die for. I have so much trouble finding instant yeast that I have to order it on Amazon. Is bread machine yeast really the same thing?

    1. deb

      Jordan — Yes! I promise, I would never intentionally mislead you. :)

      Nelleke — You might want to use cornstarch next time. This is often what’s used in pastry cream. I opted for flour because I find it works just as well and more people have it around. But the cornstarch will disappear even more in the cream.

      maggie — You have absolutely blown my mind with that shower cap suggestion! Thank you. Thank you.

      Ingrid — Yes, shortly. So sorry for the delay.

      Barbara — The filling? Disregard my earlier comment. I realized I had already bumped up the filling’s sweetness. It’s still just lightly sweet, however.

      Adriana — Balthazar sells this?! My mind is blown. I got to the one on Spring Street a lot but had never seen it. Now I must look again.

  128. Janae

    I am thrilled to see this and cannot wait to make it!! My husband is from MN and there is a bakery there called Hans Bakery in Anoka. They make a version of this cake that creeps into my dreams from time to time. Truly delicious! We’ll see if I can make it through the day without making this.

  129. Janet

    Oh Deb, if only you had asked me!
    I am a German born, former professional baker and this is my favorite German pastry. When I taught at a culinary school I made sure to include this in the curriculum because EVERYTHING else was French (which we love, of course) and this cake involves so many skills – yeast cake, pastry cream, splitting of cake, etc… The director of the school was German so he was thrilled when the students made these! The best recipe I have ever found for the home, previous to reading your post of course, was from Richard Sax. He wrote an absolutely WONDERFUL book in 1994 titled Classic Home Desserts which should be in every bakers library. I received it as a gift and KNEW I would love it when I saw the recipe for Bienenstich. I have made the recipe MANY times over the years, usually in a 9 x 13 or larger. I suppose for me, it was the German version of a Napoleon pastry so often served on pastry trays. Please check out the book when you have a chance; it has never disappointed me.

  130. Erica

    What a lovely cake! I love all the comments about the cake’s history and similar cakes from other regions around the world. You are absolutely right – small dinner parties with loved ones and home cooked food lovingly made is the best way to enjoy an evening and avoid the 400% markup on wine (lol at that one Deb). This would make a cute Mothers Day cake.

  131. Sally

    About 30 years ago a friend and I would go to Chicago to visit her mother and stop at a German bakery where I was introduced to Bienenstich. It was delicious with a custard-like filling. I’ve only had it once since then and it wasn’t nearly as good as I remembered. I can’t wait to try this!

  132. Carolee

    Memories are made of this! Although I cannot recall where I used to buy this luscious treat too many moons ago, I remember it well as “Beehive” Cake. Now, to celebrate either Mother’s Day or the last of my sixtysomething birthdays, I’ve shared this golden treasure with my dearest darling daughter, a wonderful cook and baker, as the delight she could create to further sweeten my celebrations. Thank you!

  133. Alessandra

    What a wonderful surprise. I have not seen this cake since the 80’s when I had a German boyfriend who insisted you had to buy this every Saturday for tea! Thank you for bringing back a fond memory and convincing me that I should indeed bake this weekend.

  134. Susan

    I always appreciate your trial and error effort so your readers don’t have to muddle with anything but the perfect version! Thank you also for your always entertaining commentary.

  135. Geri

    Now I know where my stash bag of almonds are going to end up very soon. Your photography brings it almost to our lips! So gorgeous. Always look forward to your comments before proceeding to the recipes. I could not catch a thief either! :) Knowing your son is preschool age really is amazing where has the time flown. He is blessed to have a very talented mom like you. Thanks for all your hard work on this site it’s appreciated more than you know.

  136. Shay

    I see heavy cream in the recipe. Is that the same as heavy whipping cream? (obviously you’ll note I’m a novice for even asking this question, but it the unanswered question has haunted me for years . . . )

  137. The cake looks absolutely gorgeous and sorry it was so laborious to get there (though the end result looks as though it must have made up for the earlier disappointments). I grew up in Germany and Bienenstich was my favourite cake as a little girl. To be honest, I don’t think I ever came across a home-baked one, most people would just pick it up at the store (which seems funny really given that home-baked goods are still really common in Germany).

    Oh and I hear you on the yeast – I had the exact same experience the other day. No action whatsoever when I tried to prove some brioche … and lo and behold, the yeast had only expired some time in early 2012 … Oops. Lesson learned that yeast apparently has an actual expiration date.

  138. I wish I’d seen this before my mom’s birthday (this past Monday). Her mother immigrated from Silesia, Prussia in the mid 30’s, and mom lived in the Hamburg area for a couple years in the early 60’s. She’ll love this, thanks for sharing.

  139. Shenry

    Our very dear German friend, when asked if she recalls any bee sting cake from her childhood, replied, “Oh yes, I know it well, baked it many, many times. I’ll bake one for next time we get together. I do not remember using yeast, but I’ll check my recipe. Usually when eggs are being used, yeast is not used as a means for the cake to rise. As a matter of fact, there is a bakery in Northampton [Massachusetts] where this cake is being baked. Looks and tastes like one from a German bakery, the American owner/baker was trained in Germany.

  140. Adis Beesting

    With a last name like Beesting (yes, its my real real (married) name), I’m always on the look out for Bee Sting cake recipes. This one sounds amazing! I’m off flour right now, so I wonder how this recipe would work using Almond or Coconut flour. Looks delicious enough to fall of the no-flour wagon!

  141. NeNe

    I love this cake. I first tasted it a few years ago when I spotted it at a farmer’s market near my office. Truly delicious and positively evil. Thank God the only place that makes bee sting cake (as far as I know) only sells it at the weekly farmer’s market.

  142. Hm. This is only a slight variation on the birthday cakes my mother (emigrated to from Germany in 1968) made for us every year. She constructs the cake a little differently (she’s from Frankfurt)… but essentially the same thing! So delicious.

  143. I’m thinking the universe is trying to tell me to make this cake! I just got my copy of King Arthur Flour’s Baking Sheet and this was on the cover. *drool*

    One trick they mentioned was to pre-slice the top layer so you can get a clean line without smooshing out the filling. Definitely will have to try!!

  144. My grandmother grew up in German Brooklyn and Manhattan during the 20s and 30s as well! I’ve never heard much about it and he has passed on now. It’s cool to hear abouta cake she might have enjoyed then.

  145. Andi C.

    THIS LOOKS SO GOOOOOOD! I’m going to get my nerve up and try it for my friend’s birthday, and I hope she doesn’t like it so I will have an excuse to bring it back home with me!

    Thank you for the interesting read leading up to the recipe :)

  146. Your tenacity is inspiring. And the cake is a beaut. What did you do with the other 4 cakes, might I ask? This is my continual dilemma, since I end up eating all the out takes.

  147. Richard O

    If I was sitting at the table, looking at the candles on this fabulous cake, I would be smiling right along with that happy little person in the photo. What a great shot!

  148. Kathi Sorensen

    Oh, wow! I can’t tell you how much I love this! When I was a kid 60 years(!) ago, we had a German bakery in our town that sold Bienenstich cakes (and Thousand Layer chocolate cakes) that were a favorite for special occasions in our house. When I saw the picture, my youth came flooding back- I can hardly wait to try your recipe. Thank you!

  149. Jenny

    Hmmmm… I ran home last night and made this cake, but it didn’t really work out! Well, the cake was totally fine (even though I ate about half of the caramelized almonds before it went into the oven), but the pastry cream just didn’t work out for me at all. I’m a pretty seasoned baker and a lover of all things custard, so I did what you suggested for a thicker center of cream and doubled the recipe. Maybe it was my flour and maybe I should have sifted it or something, but what I ended up with was custard with yellow egg/flour pebbles all throughout. I put the whole thing through a sieve to get the chunks out, but even then, when I tasted it, it had a pretty strong cooked flour taste to it (the only thing I can think to compare it to is… gravy…?). It seemed to be sturdy, but I wanted to dilute the flour flavor a bit so I ended up whipping cream and folding it all together. I seem to have sacrificed the integrity of your cake to save the flavor of my custard disaster… My doctored filling wasn’t as thick as the original custard and spilled out all over the place (even after sticking it in the freezer for an hour before putting the top on).

    Nonetheless, my coworkers are eating it this morning. I scooped up my failed custard into a bowl from the edges of the cake and they’ve just been spooning it over the top. They say it definitely has the taste of a breakfast pastry rather than a full on cake-cake (just FYI for those that might not have had one before).

    Do you have any ideas of what I might have done wrong? I’m thinking my flour must have just been a bit too dense in the bag so that 6 tbs (for the doubled recipe) just gave me too much and it just never blended into the milk.

  150. Deanna Sacks

    I also grew up with this cake and it was my favorite. I remember calling it the bee cake. I have been trying to find this cake or recipe for years. I do remember that the version I so enjoyed had chopped almonds on the top. I can’t thank you enough for
    persevering and coming up with what appears to be a reasonable facsimile.

  151. angel





  152. Nicole Shugars

    Okay…there way too many comments to read each one BUT ironically, this cake is featured on the latest edition of King Arthur Flour’s “The Baking Sheet” newsletter. It’s a great publication which isn’t a surprise because they are a great company. I’ll have to compare the two to see how they compare but this would definitely be a good regular “read” for you — I think you’d enjoy!

  153. Alexis

    A most ridiculous question! For Passover purposes I bought a giant bag of whole almonds that went unused, and are beckoning for a purpose…like a Bee Sting Cake! Would using whole almonds in the topping be an OK alt. to the sliced ones? Or should I try to slice them? Or should I rejigger and just make a recipe that embraces the whole almond? :)

  154. Julie

    I cannot tell you how happy this is going to make my German husband. It’s the first thing we seek out when we visit his family in Germany. I love all German pastries – but the Beesting cake is probably my all tie favorite. Thank you, thank you Deb for putting in the work to get this right!

  155. Karima

    being german myself i can tell you that this looks fantastic! even though i’ve only seen bienenstich as a sheet cake so far.
    and finally you’ve answered a question i’ve always had bumping around in my head when reading your blog: WHO DOES ALL THAT GROCERY SHOPPING FOR YOU? i mean, i can barely manage to carry my own supplies up to my 4th floor apartment…

    1. deb

      Karima — I used to live in a walk-up, but I’ve been living in an elevator building since 2009, so that helps. I use Fresh Direct a lot (if you’re in NYC) for larger stuff and the East Village (where I live) really has a lot of grocery stores (2 Whole Foods, Trader Joes, the best bodega in Manhattan, Met…) so I usually buy things as I need them so I’m not schlepping too much.

      Alexis — I am sure you could coarsely chop them and have a nice topping. It won’t look the same, but no reason not to use up what you have. Funny enough, the two POUNDS of leftover sliced almonds were from a Passover project I abandoned last year. I keep nuts in the freezer and they keep almost indefinitely.

      Kathi — I want to hear more about the thousand-layer chocolate cake!

      Floury taste in custard — I am going to update the recipe with a suggestion that cornstarch can be used instead. I switch back and forth between cornstarch and flour in custards. I opted for flour here because it’s more accessible; I figure most people have it and haven’t found much of a difference in using it. (I also used it in the custard recipe from last summer with little complaint.) But since a few of you have mentioned it, I’m concerned and think that cornstarch may be the safer option if you’re concerned.

  156. Lovely cake – reminds me of a specialty bakery cake…the kind you order on the spot w/cup of coffee. Hope it exceeded your Mom’s expectations…I’m sure it did. Nice job; it looks yummy!

  157. Sarah

    I was just perusing your Celebration Cakes category (we had two birthdays this week) and made the delicious Espresso Chiffon Cake, but this Beesting Cake is definitely going to be the next one I make.

  158. I made this cake when I was 23-24, and lived in Germany. I have to say – I was too young to know that this was difficult – until I got into the making of it. It turned out good and I ate almost all of the cake – altho’ I did share some with one of my German friends -and she liked it. I really decided then I wouldn’t repeat making it, but now, I think I will make it again- now that I have had about 40 years to think about it, and you have given step by step pictures – lol!

  159. Abigail

    I just wanted to let you know how much I absolutely love your recipes. I came across your website because it was listed on Food Wishes favorites and I’ve actually come to love yours even more than Chef Johns! I’m a beginner when it comes to cooking and whenever I make any of your recipes they always turn out wonderful. I just made your raspberry bars yesterday and they were DELICIOUS, beyond delicious! You are amazing and I will be coming to your websites for years to come.

    Just wanted to say thank you!!

  160. Kaitlin

    Dear Deb. Thank you, a million times. My host father in Germany used to make this and we ate it often, weekly, either homemade or from the bakery. It is my most favourite cake and I haven’t had it since I returned seven years ago. It’s like hearing a really important and wonderful song on the radio after a long time. When you posted this, there was much dancing.

  161. Barbara

    I remember this cake being in every neighborhood bakery in the Bronx when I was growing up. Being a custard lover it was very popular with me. The bee cake in my local bakery had chopped pecans on top instead of almonds – delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

  162. Carmela

    Hey Deb!
    Your cake looks delicious! Fifty years ago, I worked in a German bakery in northern NJ. Your cake was called a “beehive cake.” Your cake brought back wonderful memories for me! Thank you!

  163. Sally

    I’ve never noticed you add gelatin to pastry cream or whipped cream; it will make it stiffer so fillings stay in place better. 1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin softened in 1 T. water, then heated gently to completely dissolve. Add to 1 C. cream while whipping and it will stay stiff for several days. Add to warm pastry cream and it will set up better. Adjust quantity of gelatin to suit your tastes. It’s a great idea when you have something that will be eaten over several days.

  164. Sally

    Thank you! I love Bienenstich! When I was in Germany I would often get it at the little bakeries tucked in the subway stations. It was always a lovely and large rectangle of cake! Thanks for the trip down memory lane! xo

  165. Jude

    how could you!

    Swim suit season around the corner…

    how about something with spring vegetables, perhaps, grilled with fresh press olive oil?

  166. Lynda

    Hi Deb,
    I have been looking for a great recipe for a long time and this is it. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks so much. Keep on cooking!!

  167. I’m smitten, thanks Deb! You just got me baking again and that always leads to fun. Which got me posting again. If you’ve got the time for a quick read that might make you smile, click on over to the story of how your recipe turned out at our place.

  168. pam

    I made a very similar version of this cake called a Burnt Almond Cake for a friend who swore a bakery in San Jose made it and it was the best cake ever beyond ever. Undaunted by the minor detail of having never tasted said cake, I made not one but 2 and I gotta say, while it was a tad labor intensive, it was not difficult and it was pretty doggone good. So yay you….you’ve inspired me to try it again, but this time, it’ll be for me. :-)

  169. Red Kate

    I am making this as soon as I am able to gather ingredients!
    Ah, brings back memories of good times in Germany.
    Also, I want cake now. :)

  170. Cindy

    This is a mennonite thing.. At least so I’ve noticed. I married into it.. so I’m not 100% sure.. But i do call it the ‘beating stick’ cake… Bee sting is nicer.. I think. Thanks for posting.. I’ll have to try it and look all successfully mennonite and stuff xo

  171. Wohoo! Bienenstich! I love this cake and eat it at almost each visit in Germany. :) Thank you for the recipe. I’ll try it this weekend to see how it goes esp. with the sugar. I often dial it down cause the American recipes tend to use way too much and I love cake too much but don’t want to get Diabetes either.;)

    Often the cakes are prepared with fresh yeast. Which I always use instead of instant one. The thumb rule is about 40-50gr for 1kg of flour.

    For the filling my family prepares a home made vanilla pudding made from half milk and half heavy cream, corn starch, egg yolks etc. After it’s chilled you fold in whipped heavy cream (slightly sweet). And I usually only use sugar for the almond mix, no honey, but we love honey.

    Thank you for the recipe!

  172. Margie

    Pittsburgh’s favorite cake is a burnt almond torte made famous locally by a bakery with a German name. It’s very, very similar to your Bienenstich and I can only imagine that it is a descendant.

  173. Angela

    I’ve been looking for this cake for 25 years. My husband and I even made a special pilgrimage to a little bakery in Leyland, England, where I got them as a child. Unfortunately someone had dropped an enormous Tesco store on the whole town, and we couldn’t even find the street where it had been. The name came from the beestings, which is the first milking from the cow, colostrum, which is so high in protein that it makes a custard without eggs.

  174. Adriana

    The Balthazar’s in Englewood sells them seasonally, usually around this time of year-summer. They make a REALLY large one, which my husband and I devoured on numerous occasions, and also smaller individual size ones. And very cutely decorated with marzipan bees! I even recall seeing it listed on their list of cakes that you are able to order for holidays, etc.

  175. Nadia

    You must get so tired of being told that your cakes look glorious and that we’re all GOING to try making them, but I just have to tell you that this cake looks glorious and I’m going to try making it!

  176. Mary Jo

    My grandmother was German/Lithuanian. She didn’t make this cake but I remember loving a not-too-sweet yeast cake made with apples and cottage cheese. I loved it and have always wished I had the recipe. Also many years ago I went to cooking school in NY and there on Saturdays Yorkville appeared. I loved the shops-. I have often wondered if any of them were still there. I MUST try this cake. Thank you so much.

  177. Marilyn

    I just finished baking this cake and I was so disappointed when all the almond toppings melted into the cake. I followed the recipe as written, but not sure why this happened. Any ideas what went wrong?

  178. Emily

    You’re not going to read this since it’s the 276th comment, so I’ll say it. I love you, you are the coolest, will you be my friend?

    :) Keep on keepin on!

  179. Joy

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I grew up eating this cake from a now defunct bakery in Visalia, California. The cake of my childhood dreams, I will make this soon, thank you!

  180. I loved reading the story about the cake. I could taste each version you baked. I then spent way too much time reading all the comments, one by one. I feel like I just had a nice visit with a bunch of girl friends. And now I must find an excuse to bake the cake. Thank you, I love cake.

  181. I was raving about your recipe to my mother and she tells me my Grandmother, a well-known Australian cook, has a bee sting cake in her recently published baking book. I’m going to get my hands on one now and check it out! I’ll cook both and let you know how it goes (and post on my blog too perhaps). My fingers may be too chubby to type afterwards, but I’ll try! I love how determined you are to perfect recipes Deb, it’s totally inspiring. Wonderful blog too, thank you. Xx Kate

  182. Destiny

    I made this cake last night for our little German themed poker night. It turned out amazing! I used dry active yeast instead and proofed it in the milk, but other than that I followed the instructions exactly. I love the way you write recipes! So practical and delicious! I was dubbed the official dessert maker for poker nights!

  183. Ceane

    I’ll have to politely disagree with you as to the origins of the name of this cake. I’ve grown up on this cake and it’s always been called “Beasting Cake” after the milk a cow makes straight after calving which is used to make the cream (as it has a very high fat content). Either way, it’s delicious!

  184. Cecily

    I first made Bienenstich when I was in jr high from a recipe relayed to me by my native German teacher, verbally, in German. I remember making it immediately and being ever so disappointed – it didn’t taste nearly as lovely as my teacher made it sound. Flash forward many years and I ran across a scrap of paper in my recipe box written in my jr high hand. I had to try to make the cake again. It was better, but still not as good as I’d hoped, the topping was great, but the cake was more bread like, firm & dense. My teacher’s recipe actually calls for kneading, (rise) followed by rolling out the cake dough – it bakes on a cookie sheet. With knowledge comes power and now I suspect that since i was using traditional american ap flour it just develops too much gluten in those steps.

    Armed with your recipe, I am excited to make another go of it. Thank you!

  185. I know I’m not adding much to the conversation here with 200+ comments before me, but I just had to say…WOW. This looks amazing.

    I’m pinning it now, and you can bet your honey-almond-caramel crunch topping I’m going to try this one out!

    Thank you. :-)

  186. Ronit

    I made this cake today – dare i say? for my mother’s birthday…. although some of the topping sank into the cake and burned a tad and I did lighten the filling with whipped cream. It turned out FANTASTIC. A very luxurious cake, in looks as in taste, defintely a keeper, to be filed under Showcase Cake ….

  187. CarolJ

    A tip from a German Bienenstich recipe: after dividing the cake horizontally into two layers, cut the top almond-crunch-covered layer into wedges, then cover the bottom layer with the filling and arrange the wedges on top. Avoids the filling squooshing out when cutting and serving.

  188. Abbie

    Made this today and am really excited about it. For some reason though when I added the topping, it sunk almost entirely to the bottom of the cake, leaving the cake sort of heavy but moist. As it cooked, I added some additional almonds and a few peas of butter so that the top still browned. Then, I added some whipped cream (with a bit of sugar, almond extract and lemon zest) to the pastry cream. I served the cream on the side and served the cake like coffee cake. It was really tasty, but I would have loved to serve it properly but it was not an option given the topping failure.

  189. JK

    So reading through the comments, I feel like I better understand why it’s not good to do this cake the night before. (Not even freezing it?)

    As another person who wants to take the cake to the office, but doesn’t want to have to wake up at 3am in order to do so…

    My big idea is to make the pastry cream, almond crunch, and cake batter the night before. Bake the cake first thing in the morning, and then drive to work (with the hot cake cooling in the cake pan on my 20 minute commute), and then doing the slicing-in-half and filling part at the office kitchen.

    Is this totally crazy? Also, about how long does overnight-refrigerated batter need to sit out to come to room temperature before popping into the oven? I have no idea if this is 20 minutes or 2 hours.

    Thank you in advance for any answers you might be able to provide. Your recipes never lead me astray, and I am absolutely frantic to try this one out!

  190. Yelena

    I made this cake and it was delicious!! Unfortunately, though, the caramel/nut topping sank into the cake during baking. The bottom was quite caramely and some of the nuts sank into the middle. Still tasted amazing. Any idea why this happened? I was thinking maybe the topping was still too hot when I put it on the cake??

  191. wendyb964

    Just what I was looking for! In our capital city in CA there is only one German shop that sells sausage and german cold cuts, killer sourdough rye eethis cake. The bread and cake are from Reno, NV. Apperently they purchase the cake they purchase frozen in a 1/2 sheet pan and sell it in individual portions. Knowing less than nothing about German food aside from disliking sauerkraut or meats I don’t recognize, I learned the name of this cake. A lucky fluke: topped some almond poppy seed sq coffee cake with sliced almonds and KAF’s sticky bun sugar. Oh, my! The topping was just the right crunch. I’d planned to mock up one of these, but your recipe sounds divine. Just might make With the (awesome!) instant yeast i the freezer, I’ll just HAVE to make a trial run with the recipe tomorrow. Ty

  192. Petra Reinke

    I just made the version in the rectangular pan without a filling and it works perfectly. Using a pan with a larger area leads to a thinner cake and it perfect with the almonds on top. I should mention that I am german and can compare to the “original” – this is at least as good…at least. if not better.

  193. Petra Reinke

    … and I also have a question: why should this cake not be perfectly fine the next day? It might be a trifle less fluffy but certainly perfectly edible.

  194. ooo it’s so beautiful! i love classic cakes like this! and thank you for doing all the research…you saved me so much time! i love that about your blog :)

  195. Norine

    I proof yeast breads in a cold oven with a electric heating pad on the lowest rack. The configuration of the oven door does not pinch the cord, and I like having control of the warmth.

  196. Deb, my birthday is coming up and I want a new cookbook, but they’re are so many to choose from! Do you have any favorites? I (of course!) already have yours.
    Ps. Thanks for posting this fabulous cake, too! You made the process of choosing a birthday cake to make for myself very easy!

  197. Angela

    I made this cake the other day and had the same problem as Anwer. The cake rose too much and swallowed nearly all the topping. I think 1/2 package of yeast may be sufficient in the future. I missed the caramelly topping. : (

    1. deb

      Lisa — What kind of yeast is considered regular yeast in Jordan?

      Joyce — I buy a few new cookbooks each season but you’ll have to tell me more about what you look for in a cookbook!

      Grace and others asking why the cake can’t be baked the night before — This is more of a personal preference. I find that yeasted cakes tend to taste slightly stale the next day. Thus, I find it more ideal to bake the cake the day you need it. If this doesn’t bother you (again, the change will be slight, but I’m obsessed with cake crumb and really want the softest/tender-est one) no reason you cannot bake it the night before. The custard center will keep the cake more moist overnight, too.

      Sinking almond topping — So sad to hear about this. I’m nearly certain that the solution will be to bump up the flour 1/4 cup (when I did this, I had no sinking either) but want to mull it over a little, and maybe test it one more time before saying so with certainty. I don’t think there is too much yeast for the cake; it’s more that the almonds are heavy and the cake rises around them.

  198. Grace

    Thank you so, so much for making and posting this! I *love* bee sting cake, but never found a recipe I was happy with, or laid aside an entire week to experiment.

    What a wonderful gift for your mother! (I bought mine Shun Hiro knives.) :)

  199. Mela

    When I saw the post I did one of those deep inhale-squealy type of things. My friend on the phone was wondering if I got hurt or something. I’m German, live in TX and have been contemplating baking Bienestich for YEARS!!! Now, I have a reason/excuse, especially having never had a homemade one.

  200. Ana

    I was planning on making this cake this weekend but ended up going to Bennison’s bakery in Evanston, IL and they had it!
    I was prepared to be disappointed, but it was delicious! Just a little fyi for anyone in the Chicago area.

  201. My Mom is German and I spent many summers there while a child. This brings back so many memories! I will have to ask my Mom is she has ever made ein Bienenstich Kuchen. I am sure she (or my Grandmother) have…but I am going home to NY for Mother’s Day and will have to make this one for her. What better way to celebrate! There is a German bakery here in SF where I live, run by a German baker. I will have to check to see if they make it. If they do, it’s sure to be good as his other cakes are excellent. My Dad, incidentally, grew up in Queens.

  202. Kate

    This recipe called to me and I couldn’t resist making it last night for dessert for my husband and me. WOWZA! It is fabulous. Not difficult. I added some lemon zest to the topping and zest plus juice to the pastry cream. For me, that put it over the top. Mine didn’t *look* as “perfect” as yours. Mine was very bumpy on the top and a lot of the topping sank into the cake – not as if that ruined it, believe me. I think what happened was that I forgot to preheat the oven, so once I added the warm topping to the batter, it may have risen again. Anyhow, this one is a keeper, for sure. Quite a treat, and I thank you! P.S. try it with a glass of brut bubbly – they’re perfect together.

  203. Eva

    I’ve been looking for a mom friendly version of a bee sting cake. I have a gigantic soft spot for this cake, and had a baker on the east coast which made these in bars at the local farmers’ market. We’ve since moved and I daydream about these treats regularly. In fact we had these at our wedding reception as the cake and dessert. Can’t wait to try this recipe :)

  204. Gluten Free Girl

    For those who don’t eat wheat:

    Make the cake as directed but use 1 cup almond flour and 1 cup (by weight) of a gf flour blend (I used a mix of white rice, tapioca flour and potato starch) and 1.5 teas of xanthan gum. In the pastry cream just use cornstarch.

    I used almond extract in cream and cake to compliment the almond flour and toping.

    Sooooo yummy!

    Thanks a million Deb!

  205. Justme

    Ugh. My topping sank deep into the cake. Also, subbing 3 tbsp cornstarch for 3 tbsp flour gave me playdough pastry cream. Disappointed. I should have read the comments first.

  206. Chris

    I grew up in northern Germany and Bienenstich is there also known as the funeral cake because it is served at every wake. I saw it a few weeks ago at the German meats place in Seattle but did not dare to try it. Now I really wish I would have stocked up on it! There is a similar version as well with crumbles on top. But really, not as good.

  207. Cha Cha

    I just took this cake out of the oven, and I too was really disappointed to see that the almond mixture had sunk into the cake. When I inverted it, I found that it create a great pile of “almond pudding at the bottom of the pan, so although the rest of the cake is cooked through, this “pudding-y” part seems underdone, and I don’t expect I will be able to slice the cake.

    I made the almond topping to during the second rise of the batter, as the recipe seems to suggest (timingwise). It was still quite warm to the touch when I put it on the batter. I was concerned that the warm nuts might deflate the batter, but was also concerned the caramel might be too firm to spread if I let it cool completely.

    I’m still hopeful it will taste good, as I promised to bring it to a BBQ tonight, but it certainly won’t be as lovely as yours.

    La tarte Tropezienne is one of my favorite desserts, and I was tempted to make that instead (having never made either of these). The almonds and honey were very inviting, but maybe next time, I’ll go by way of Provence and make the French version.

  208. Petra Reinke

    I made the cake in a rectangular pan, and though the almonds sunk a little into the batter it was delicious. Since the cake was thinner than the one with filling the sinking issue did not cause problems in processing a.k.a. eating. I also smoothed the batter with a large spoon dunked in water repeatedly to keep it smooth. That helped to get an even playground for the almonds.

  209. Amy

    My husband and I made the Bee Sting Cake this afternoon, following your instructions exactly. It smelled really yeasty, so I didn’t have high hopes. We had no problems with the rising (both times) and the piling on of the almond conglomeration. Thank heavens for your suggestion of putting it on a foil lined sheet. When we checked the cake, it was puffed up and caramel was oozing everywhere. It was torture watching it cool on the kitchen island. It looked exactly like your picture (my husband thought it looked BETTER). Then we put the custard in the center after whipping it again, and despite the smell of beef roast in the kitchen, we both tore into that thing. WOW! What an impressive looking cake, but the taste is just as amazing. Can’t wait to make this for an audience. Thanks for perfecting the recipe!

  210. Jill

    I made this cake tonight and it was so wonderful. It didn’t rise as I had hoped, so I was afraid to cut it in half, so I poured the pastry cream on the bottom of the plate and then placed a slice on top.

    The caked looked beautiful. Thank you.

  211. Dans

    Somehow I had 2 total fails making this cake yesterday. The first attempt rose so unevenly that it created 2 chasms into which all the almonds fell. The 2nd attempt, all the caramel from the almonds melted into the bottom of the pan and I couldn’t get it to come out. So, with guest arriving soon, I made the best of it and grabbed my trifle dish. Layers of cake, pastry cream, rum whipped cream and strawberries!

  212. Connie

    I have had success with some of the other cakes you have posted — I made the Dobos torte with 12 layers for my mothers birthday and it was wonderful —
    but this cake was a big disappointment. I also had the problem of the almond topping melting through the cake to the bottom of the pan. The topping had cooled but maybe
    it was still too warm. I know you mentioned that this recipe uses more milk and less flour for a lighter crumb. But that lighter crumb is much harder to deal
    with, especially if you need to slice the cake, do inversions and fill it.

  213. eternalluna

    Deb, I just wanted to say thanks. I made this cake on the weekend, taking your advice and omitting the cream, and, wow, it was a rollercoaster. I nearly gave up when the honey-almond topping somehow fell *through* the top of the cake, but it actually turned out quite lovely- there was still enough on top of the cake to be sweet and crunchy, but the bottom half was soaked in this delicious honey caramel. I think I’ll be putting the topping in the bottom of the cake pan from now on!

  214. I made this last night for my birthday cake. And I made 4 of them. Was a little overwhelming, but holy cow, is this cake delicious! Mine were a little hilly, not smooth on top, but they still looked gorgeous. I made an apricot sauce to go on the side, and that really put it over the top.

  215. Heidi L

    I saw a recipe for this cake in a cookbook once, but no picture. It has been in my to-try files for probaby 5 years but I was always hesitant to try it. Now I’ll take advantage of your trials and give the resulting recipe a try for my birthday coming up. Thanks!

  216. Karen

    Hi Deb,

    Is it possible to replace the heavy cream in the almond topping with whole milk? I don’t usually keep it in the fridge and hate to buy some for 2 tablespoons.

    Thanks so much!

    1. deb

      Karen — I haven’t tried it with milk, unfortunately, so I don’t know for sure if it will work the same. (In caramels, which this is, you really want to use cream.) But no reason you cannot try it. Even if imperfect, I am sure it will still be delicious.

  217. Susan

    Could the cake be baked as an upside down cake, ie..the almond topping placed in the pan first and the cake batter layer baked on top of it? As I said in a previous comment, the cake I made used this method and it worked well. There was very little topping sticking to the pan when the pan was flipped over to release the cake. The topping was crunchy and browned lightly as in the picture of this recipe. It didn’t have as much topping as this recipe so I’m not sure if that might be a factor in the success of this method. Any thoughts?

    1. deb

      Susan — I’d love to hear if you tried it. I’m going to try to make one tomorrow a couple ways (right side up again with 1/4 more flour — I’ve done this a couple times, I just found the crumb tighter and less dreamy than the current lower flour level; and then maybe upside down because it sounds great) and see if I can post an update.

  218. Karen

    I tried making this today as a joint effort for my birthday– my pal was doing the custard cream and we would put them together later. Should have read the comments first… All the filling feel through to the bottom, as did others. Mine also over-rose. I used my SAF instant yeast, and am wondering if that could be the culprit. In many bread machine recipes, they reduce the amount of yeast by a half teaspoon when using SAF yeast.

  219. MB

    This cake was DELICIOUS! I doubled the cream recipe. I also cooked the “top” layer of the cake with the almonds in one cake pan, then made a second cake pan for the second layer – then cut the second one in half and covered two layers with the pastry cream :) Made for a taller and bigger cake for a large group of eaters.

    Also I (accidentally) figured out an easy way to spread the almond mixture. I let it cool in the medium pan I cooked it in (for too long), and when I went to use it I realized it was just one round flat brick (similar to peanut brittle), I warmed it slightly so the bottom unstuck but it stayed in the same round shape (just slightly smaller than the cake itself) and I just put it on top of the cake and into the oven. It melted quite nicely and evenly. No more spreading sticky sauce onto super soft dough :)

  220. Linda

    All of my almonds were swallowed by the cake and sunk to the bottom. When I turned the cake out of the pan, it broke apart because caramelized almonds stuck to the bottom of the pan. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to split the cake to put the cream in it. I think next time, I will put the cake in the oven to bake for 5 minutes before adding the topping. This perhaps will let the cake firm up and dry out a bit, hopefully, decreasing the likelihood of sinking almonds. But, now it is like a coffee cake. Still tastes good, though. :)

  221. Billie-Jo J

    AHHHHHH!!!!! I am SO EXCITED! This is one of my favourite cakes EVER, and since I moved away from home (Where we actually found an authentic German bakery that makes it) I haven’t been able to find some!

    Seriously. I CAN’T WAIT TO MAKE THIS! My family usually enjoys it with a pretty high whipped cream to pastry cream ratio, but to each his own! You RULE Deb!

  222. Jess Nyce

    This is delicious. I read over the post, looked at the recipe, and thought, “This looks so good, but I will never make this; there are too many steps” (I think I was working a night shift at the time). Then, my husband and I spent five hours in the car, bought supplies for our fishing operation, climbed around two huge boats in chilly weather, and arrived at my in-laws’ home to a warm pumpkin black bean soup and THIS CAKE. I could not believe it. I could, however, believe why you would give this so many attempts – it is like no cake I’ve ever tasted. And the texture! I am staring down an extra piece we were sent home with right now…

  223. klorka

    Hi deb, I’ve got a bake sale at my daughter’s school coming up this week, and this cake sounds like it would be a lovely break for the adults from the usual very sweet fare, but I was wondering – do you think this would adapt well to cupcakes or little individual cakes? Many thanks for your wonderful recipes :)

    1. deb

      klorka — I haven’t tried it as small cakes but it might be fun to find out. I think it could be delicious — baby bee stings!

      Yeast brand — I use SAF Instant Yeast as well. I’m hoping to find time today to do another round of tweaking on the recipe.

  224. jenmitch

    I made this cake last night, and it was a big hit! It saved well for breakfast with coffee the next morning. I think next time I’ll make more of the creme filling, because it was DELICIOUS and I wanted more :).

    I had zero trouble with the almond topping, and I think it may have been because of a substitution I made — I only had 2 tbs of honey, so I used 1 tbs of agave to make up for that last missing one. The taste was delicious, and honey was still the dominant flavor, but the topping was pretty easy to distribute — I just put very small spoonfuls distributed around the top of the cake, and they did a good job of settling in. Anyways, in case that substitution helps anyone, just wanted to share!

  225. I’m so happy you posted this! My husband’s family is German and they love this cake, but (like a few other commenters) we call it beehive cake even though I think it looks nothing like a beehive. Anyhow, I’m going to make this for him as a surprise. He’ll be thrilled!

  226. Michelle Leon

    Please will you give measurements for butter by weight (grams) rather than tablespoons. Sticks also doesn’t do it as my country does not have that on the packs. Many thanks.

    1. deb

      Metric conversions — Will add shortly.

      A retest — I finally made yet another of these cakes last night. (And now need someone to remove it, pronto.) I tried it as an upside-down cake, as Susan (#330) suggested. Here’s how: During the cake’s first rise, I made the almond-honey topping and spread it in the bottom of my buttered cake pan to cool and harden. After the first rise was done, I folded down then scraped the batter on top and let it rise for the last 30 minutes. In the oven, it baked at the same time (20 to 25 minutes) I let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before inverting it. Results: a LOT of almonds stuck to the pan; I scraped them out and spread them back over the patches on top; once it was cool and firm, you basically couldn’t tell. There were, of course, no almonds sinking through the cake. However, I felt that the cake was flatter (you’re resting it on its “dome” by inverting it, which flattens it) and that the top lacked that golden gorgeousness of almonds baked while being exposed to the oven. It was otherwise a good solution, and worth trying. But, I don’t want to update the recipe just yet; I want to try a couple other things first.

  227. Susan

    I’m glad you tried it up-side-down. It’s true, you don’t get the domed top. The ones I’ve seen in bakeries didn’t have domed tops so I never expected one. Your picture with the candles doesn’t appear to have a dome, either. I also toasted the almonds lightly, as I always do when using nuts for anything so as to bring up the flavor, so my topping was a light golden brown when flipped out. This cake has more of each ingredient than the my other recipe and I found it much more to my liking because it was thicker and easier to cut in half to fill. I did increase the filling by half to make it taller. I’m glad I did as it also provided more sweetness to suit my taste. This is a much better cake that my old recipe. It’s texture is just perfect, not to briochie/bready..but not too cakie/crumbly, either. It’s wonderful. Will definately make again. Do let us know what other adjustments you try.

  228. Susan more thing! I didn’t cook the almond topping as long as the recipe instructed. I just cooked it untilt he sugar disolved. I treated it as I would for any upside down cake (or sticky buns) so the caramel wouldn’t get too hard. Also, only give it a minute before flipping the cake out for the same reason.

  229. i have not been able to stop thinking about this recipe since it was posted! when i was in the south of france a few years back there was something called a ‘tarte tropezienne,’ and although it was not quite the same, it is very similar, and it was the best thing i ate the entire vacation. i am holding off on making this just to see if you end up tweaking the recipe as you mentioned about, but man i am excited! i linked to you in a friday favorites post of mine too :)

  230. Barbara

    I heard you talk about this on the Joy the Baker podcast (which you should do more of – it was great). It looks even more wonderful than I had imagined. I feel like I can taste it through my computer screen! So beautiful!

  231. Megan

    I made this last night after spending a week drooling over your recipe, and it turned out great! I used bread machine yeast since that’s what I had in the fridge and cornstarch in the custard. My cake batter didn’t really do much rising (the perils of a cold Alaska kitchen in April perhaps?) but the cake did plenty of puffing up in the oven. I did have to bake it for about 30 minutes instead of 20-25, but that again could be the perils of my chilly workspace.

    So delicious! There was one lone piece leftover and I ate it today (you are right; the cake is better same day). Bonus? Eating all the caramel drippings off the foil-covered drip pan while waiting impatiently for the cake to cool :)

  232. Karen

    I don’t think that you can just substitute corn starch for flour in the pastry cream – I tried it and my cream turned to jello. It went basically instantly from liquid to extremely thick when I was simmering it and was essentially solid after chilling (though it tasted fine).

    1. deb

      Thickness of the pastry cream — I’m sorry there are still problems with this. Over the week I was testing it, I made it with both (cornstarch until I ran out, then flour) and found them the same. I will run another test and update the note. One thing I probably haven’t made clear enough in the recipe is that the pastry cream IS thicker than usual because I wanted one that wouldn’t ooze out messily when the cake was stacked or sliced. But, it shouldn’t be quite jello either. Getting there, though. I found that inside the cake, it was just fine.

  233. Anneliese

    Just to throw my two cents in, I had no issues with sinking almonds. A bit of caramel sank in the center, but not enough to cause issue. I will say that in neither rise was there any significant size difference, certainly not doubling. I wonder if the issues had something to do with the rise/yeast? I just used plain ol’ Kroger instant yeast packets, fyi. The crumb was lovely and I can totally see why you think it’s best day of.

    Anyway, super good! Trying to forget topping recipe so I don’t make batches to eat with a spoon when I’m home alone.

  234. Rupi D

    Made this cake last night and it was a big hit at book club!! Turned out so beautiful too. Did not make the pasty cream in the middle, instead made some whipped cream on the side. I read all the reviews above and where you mentioned possibly testing with 1/4 cup more flour so I added a little more flour to the recipe- about 1/8 of a cup. Turned out perfect. Thank you :)

  235. Kiley

    I made this cake last Friday for my mother’s birthday and am making it again today! It was sublime! I agree that it needs more pastry cream, but I have to say that I thought it was even better the next day (given that I thought it needed more cream in the first place). It was somehow moister when I ate it for breakfast…

  236. Rebecca (who asked about yeast)

    My cake came out great. And the smell of it baking was just amazing!

    I used a springform pan and lined the bottom with parchment paper so I wouldn’t have to flip the cake out of the pan. I am a fan of custard so I made double (using cornstarch) and have some left over for snacking. I’m thinking of adopting the cake (without the custard) as a Rosh Hashana cake since it has that little bit of honey and is NOT a honey cake.

    Turns out instant yeast is imported here so I chose the Bravo brand made in Turkey. Thanks again for your help.

  237. Kathleen

    Deb, you are lovely. I’m a longtime lurker but had to comment today. Thanks for taking on all the work for the rest of us for this special delish-sounding cake. I will be making this for a baby shower later in the week. Good luck to me!
    I enjoy the banter and self-deprecation which provide so many giggles and so much warmth! Thanks for such a thoroughly enjoyable blog!

  238. I just spent the afternoon making this cake that looked amazing, and I must say I am quite disappointed. Being in France, I made sure to find the correct type of flour that corresponds to American all-purpose flour and to pay close attention to the equivalences in metric. I consider myself to be a very experienced cook and baker, although to my chagrin I encountered one large problem: after spreading the almond topping on the risen cake batter and putting it in the oven, I opened the oven door only to find the almonds had disappeared into the depths of the cake. I think it would have been much better to put the almonds on the bottom of a well-buttered cake pan and then invert it. The cake is currently cooling, the pastry cream is made, and I will try to salvage the cake, which I’m sure will taste delicious, but will certainly not be as photogenic as your cake.

  239. Liz

    Deb, I have never commented on a recipe of yours before, but since this one is so exciting to so many people, I thought I would throw in my few cents.

    The cake turned out mighty tasty; at first the center sank while baking, but then it puffed up nice, although a 9-inch pan was barely big enough (it was THIS close to climbing out of its dish, though maybe my fault for using active dry yeast…) I didn’t do pastry cream, just cake and topping. It’s lovely like that, too. Reminds me a little of madeleines.

    But you know, much as I love butter, I think 6 tb of butter in the topping is too much! I removed a tablespoon and even added some extra sugar and honey when mine was melting, and it was still very very buttery.

  240. Juliana

    I made this beauty today, but all of the goodness sank to the bottom! Wonder what I did wrong? Still delicious though not beautiful.

  241. SO, I made this cake today and every component tastes amazing. However, time got away from me during the second rise and it WAY over proofed which the caused the topping to sink and the cake to generally erupt from the pan during baking… I’m windering if other people’s sinking topping problems, like mine, are due to an over-proofed batter? I’m definitely going to try this one again – wish me luck!

  242. Smita

    Hi, I just made this cake. I substituted active dry yeast for the instant yeast (I am in India and instant yeast is not readily available) but kept the rise time exactly the same as mentioned in the recipe. Seemed fine, however, the cake sunk in the middle while baking. I am assuming this won’t affect the taste (fresh out of the oven , yet to take a bite), but was wondering if I did something wrong. Any tips for future? Thanks.

  243. Smita

    Missed adding, I did increase the amount of yeast by 10-15% to compensate. Regardless, the cake smells amazing. Will definitely report back after trying a piece :)

  244. Bev

    I made this today and it was delicious, the pastry cream tasted like the most amazing custard I have ever had.
    The almonds on mine also all sank to the bottom of the cake rather than sitting on top, however it is so tasty that it didn’t stop anyone from eating it. I am thinking (as mentioned above) that I over proofed it and it was to soft to hold the almonds on the top.
    Thanks for sharing and the pictures were really helpful.

  245. Nancy

    Fabulous Cake! Made it for Sunday dinner…the yeast laced cake with salty honey almond crunch on top was delicious. The pastry cream thickened too quick too much but with some milk drizzled slowly in helped to ease the consistency. I made whipped cream and incorporated that into the pastry cream which to me was the right consistency for the cake. Wonderful cake…made it to my husband’s top 10 list!

  246. Jeff Winett

    I wish that I could include a picture in this post of my rendition of this cake. It was stunningly gorgeous! I upped the filling by 50% and may I tell you that this cake was one of the easiest to put together, EVER! Instinctively I found a shortcut for the almond crunch topping that was more than effectively executed. I lined a 9 inch pan with non-stick foil. When the Almond Crunch was finished on the stove top, I immediately patted (with a spoon) the confection into the foil lined pan. When cool, I lifted out the foil. This perfectly round disc lifted off in a snap, and went onto the batter filled pan in less than a second! While we were all thrilled with our dessert last night, the texture of the cake itself is a new one for me. It had a dense “macaroon like” texture, and I am jones’ing to make this cake again, but I am going to try a more traditional yellow cake layer, to give the cake a lighter and more open crumb. I might even turn this into a type of Boston Cream Pie, by letting chocolate glaze drift over the entire cake, and use the almond crunch as a hedonistic “gilding the Lily” for chopping and sprinkling over all. I LOVE a challenge, and I LOVE the filling and topping to this cake.

  247. Debbie

    Made this on Sunday. Delicious. Didn’t rise much but worked out beautifully. Made the almond topping and let it cool to dollop on the cake before baking. Minimal sinkage. Used the springform pan. Worked great. Custard probably could have used one less tablespoon of cornstarch, a little stiff; but no one complained.

  248. Hello,
    I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now (always searching for interesting recipes for my own blog).
    It is weird that your Bienenstich is made with yeast. Over here in Germany we make it totally different. The dough is a cake batter (poor translation for “Rührteig”) It is not only different in my family’s tradition, cookbooks describe the recipe different as well.

    Nonetheless your cake looks delicoius. Love your blog


  249. laura jane

    My son and I made this cake on Sunday and it was delicious! I used cornstarch for the filling but it did not set. I mixed it with whipped cream and that saved the day. I cannot wait until my older son comes home from college so we have an excuse to make it again. I love your blog, wish I had found it years ago!

  250. Sarah

    Love this recipe! Have a couple questions tho: I got some major sinkage in the middle of the pan — probably because the caramel was still a little warm probably? Thoughts? Also I converted the recipe to a 6inch round pan, it rose the right amount I think but the cake was a little more dense than I had expected. Any ideas as to why the denser cake? Thanks!

  251. Yeast cakes. Yum, yum, yum:: your photos are good enough to eat.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe and the story.

    (On an odd and not terribly related note, whenever I look at your blog on my smart phone – as you do – i seem to be ever-whooshed to ad links and sponsors. When what i really want to do is read the post. ;-) how can i stop the whooshing? Am I the only one with this problem? )

    1. deb

      Hi Kelli ann — That shouldn’t be happening. Ads tend to be targeted to markets and interests (on my phone right now, I don’t get this annoying ad). Can you tell me the source of it/brand so I can try to have it removed from the rotation? Thank you!

  252. Surabhi

    I tried to make it between last night and this morning and late in the night realized I have blanched chopped almonds not almond slivers (thin like yours), I though we it might work I have no option anyway. The almond topping has snuck in the batter while being baked and it has no topping any more :(

    First time when I have tried your recipe and it hasnt turned out as t looks here. It might still taste good but now I am using the pastry filling on top :)

  253. I’m new to you but have heard your names referred to as “the cream de la cream” of food blogs since I finally understood what a blog actually was! I just have to say that I’m actually going to go out and buy your cookbook because I see so many treats I know I want too — but, I have to tell you that your writing style is absolutely what sticks with me! I am a mother of three, trying to balance it all too and am right there with you with the “3 years to pick up the toys and running life on a tread mill.!” You DO not give this impression and I love your for these words because I can tell that they are so heartfelt, geunine and something to converses like this..well, just must be posting guenuinely wonderful recipes! I can’t wait to choose one and start being smitten, too!

  254. DebS

    I guess I always thought I’d use Richard Sax’s recipe for Bee Sting Cake – pg. 1 of it courtesy Google Book –

    My German grandmother’s cake that I’ve always wanted to reproduce is what she called coffee bread – not very sweet, yeasted cake in a square pan with about an inch of cinnamon sugar on top. I think it’s in Joy of Cooking.

    Now I want to make Bienenstich for mother’s day.

  255. My first try (described in an earlier comment) was a disaster because I let the cake over proof. Second try I intentionally tried to under-proof the batter and had more success but still had the sunken topping problem like others have described. If I every do a third try, I’ll definitely up the flour content.

    Regardless of sunken toppings, my German-born-and-raised boyfriend LOVED the cake, told me it tastes very much like the one he loves from back home, and is already asking me to make it again.

  256. Heather

    Has no one attempted Martha Stewart’s recipe, for comparison’s sake? I like the look of her pastry cream, but I’d be interested to know how her recipe compares to this one, before attempting this cake for my husband’s birthday (must be perfect!)

  257. Grace

    I Trying to baking this cake was a disaster, it didn’t quite think that I was doing it. My result was lumpy in the middle and its seemed to me that I didn’t let it bake enough. I will try to bake it again to get the hang of it so I can have it mastered and bake it for my husband birthday.

  258. Margie

    What did I do wrong?
    just made it
    delicious…BUT the cake completely overtook the topping so it isn’t pretty…
    the batter overran the 9″ cake pan and pretty much covered the topping so upside down might be the way to go if I do this again… I have never had these problems with your recipes before…but this is going ot dinner party anyway since too late to do anything else and the overrun part does taste delicious
    I used Rapid Rise yeast which on the internet said is the same as Bread Machine yeast…and seemed to be faster than regular Active Dry (which you warned against)…what else did I do wrong?

  259. Laura R.

    This cake came out really great! I didn’t have good cake pans on hand, so I had to use a too large springform instead; the cake came out easier, but the larger size meant the almond topping and pastry filling wasn’t enough. I fixed the filling part by making it a diplomat cream instead, at least. With a more reasonably-sized pan, I think this cake would’ve come out great.
    I noticed, though, both in your pictures and my cake, the top part is uneven. Not sure if that’s suppose to be how the cake is, but I would prefer a flat top if possible.

    It wasn’t very sweet, which was good in my book and my mom’s, but some people in the family weren’t impressed; oh well. I know my brother’s girlfriend would absolutely love this cake, so it’s definitely something I’m going to make again next time she comes to visit.
    I’m also impressed by how easy this cake was to make, though people without experience in making pastry cream might say otherwise.

  260. Elissa

    I made this cake today for my bro’s birthday and it was adored by the whole family. They declared it the new official family birthday cake! We loved that it wasn’t too sweet. I had the almonds sinking into the cake issue, but it still tasted great and no one minded. I will add another 1/4 cup of flour next time and maybe let the topping cook a little more before adding the almonds.

    I live just around the corner from King Arthur Flour, so I may take a suggestion from one of the commenters and check out their version. Aw shucks – another excuse to go hang out in their store/bakery!

  261. Chrisi

    Saw this yesterday afternoon and immediately decided to make it for the girls’ night I was hosting last night. I love to bake, but had never heard of a yeast cake before. This turned out beautifully, and I couldn’t have been happier! Thank you so much for the recipe – I will definitely make this more in the future!

  262. Nadia

    I finally made this today but completely skipped the cream. It was super easy to make, came out glorious looking and was a big hit with the family. The only thing I would do differently next time is reduce the amount of butter in the topping, by at least 30 percent if I can get away with it. I found the smell of the butter a bit overwhelming. But definitely one to make again. Thanks for the recipe!

  263. This looks yummy! Finally, another cake with a caramel touch. I love anything with caramel and this one will surely be part of my to-do list. Thanks for sharing! :)

  264. mandybird

    Hi there, Deb! I commented back at #124 and wanted to let you know I made the cake this past weekend with your cake and almond-caramel recipes and with Martha’s pastry cream. The cake turned out fabulously — in some cases the nuts and caramel sunk down a bit, a huge plus in my book, because I used an entire 6 oz. bag of sliced almonds. The pastry cream was indeed delicious with the honey, but as you predicted it definitely smooshed out from between the layers somewhat. Next time I’m motivated to make this (I appreciate what must have been so many hours of effort on your part so much more after making just one batch myself), I’ll try all elements of your recipe. Bring the custard! Anyway, thanks again and as always for bringing so much deliciousness into our home over the years.

  265. Linda

    I made a comment after my first attempt comment #334, so I attempted to make it again today letting it bake for 5 minutes before I put the almond on. Epic fail. All the almonds sunk except those around the edges. Ugh!!! Frustrating. I was very careful watching the rise times as another commenter suggested over proofing as the cause of sinking almonds. Also big mess with the caramel sauce leaking all over. Maybe I will try a spring form pan. Not sure when I will try this again. I’m feeling a bit dejected. Maybe I will leave the yeast cakes to the bakeries! I saw you mentioned adding 1/4 cup flour. Will this be enough to counter act sinking almonds? I would really like to get to the part where I put cream in it. Kind of hard to do when the almonds have sunk. Still tasts good, though.

  266. i tried to prepare the bee sting cake the same way as you have prescribed, my mom in law absolutely loved it….i m gonna prepare it again…probably gonna add a few things…will come back to let u know if it was a success :)

  267. Hi Deb! This cake is too wonderful for words. My dear friend Jayne made it special for my boyfriends surprise party last week (he’s not a chocolate fan) and everyone was over the moon impressed. Granted Jayne has a way with cakes, much like you, so I owe her a ton. But I thought I should let you know here and maybe try it myself one day! Also, I have passed you and Alex on the street every morning for the past week and I want to shout “Thank YOU Deb, for your delicious Bee Sting Cake and every recipe you ever create. Come up to my apartment and try a bite!” to you every time, but I figure that would be rude and Alex may blush. All the best — Alex

  268. Melanie

    This recipe sounds easier than I expected it to be. I’ve never made it, but enjoyed it several times. Thanks for sharing!

  269. Joanna

    I made this today for my mom for Mother’s Day.
    One thing I did was I used a 9 inch spring form pan. I felt this would make clean up a snap. Oh boy was I right. I didn’t have any caramel bubble over the sides as my pan was just tall enough. it was a nonstick pan so the cake was freed from the side easily. My cake did sink in the center. perhaps I needed to bake it a bit longer due to the dark non-stick finish of the pan.
    While my cake did the first rise, I made the caramel nut topping. I am so glad I made it then, My cake didn’t need the entire 30 minutes for the second rise. Some candy making experience taught me that melted sugar takes some time to cool. I’d say i started my topping about 20 minutes into the first rise. I left it to sit on a back burner of my stove while I preheated my oven. it was warm enough to be workable yet cool enough that it wasn’t a mess.
    I used 2 tablespoons flour and 1 tablespoon cornstarch for the pastry cream. it came out beautifully. Thick and creamy. From a failed attempt at pudding one time I learned that cornstarch can be fickle. For anyone who is trying this; you might find a combo of both cornstarch and flour to be more workable and less likely to fail.
    I haven’t assembled it yet but just from the elements of it I say it is going to be wonderfully delicious.

  270. Mim

    Was directed to your site today and as I was looking at this cake my husband saw it and said “why dont you bake a cake today”. We both love almonds. However, had no instant yeast (I use active yeast for bread baking, never needing to foam it but never made a yeasted batter so didn’t want to risk that) and just made a yolk batter. Unfortunately all the lovely topping fell through the cake. Luckily I rescued it before it burned but it would not come out the tin as a cake :). It was, however, yummy with English custard (eaten like a crumble). British husband thought my cake resembled treacle cake. I might have wrecked the cake tin though.

  271. lrod

    Hello Deb
    Let me start by thanking you and all of your fans for this recipe. I just made this cake for my wife’s birthday and let me tell you “it was so freaking good” she could not believe I actually made it from scratch. Luckily for me I had proof (you should had seen the kitchen after I was done … Yikes!!) I follow the recipe as posted and read all the post from all you fans (yes all 300 + of them) to try to learn from their mistakes. You see, this is my first time baking a cake so I figured it was a win-win situation. If it came out good, I was going to be a hero. Bad (is the thought that counts right?) although now that I think about it, maybe she would not had been very happy with me if she had spend her birthday next to the porcelain god. Thankfully it came out great. No mess, no sinking, no sticking … it was just perfect. Almost as good as your picture. The only thing I should had done different was to listen to the comments about the pastry cream … make more!!!. Holly molly that stuff is sooooo good. Oh yeah, first time doing that too. Anyways, thank you so much for the recipe, you have made a fan out of me :-)

  272. I just started Kate Atkinson’s “Life After Life,” only to see Bienenstich on the first page! Ha! Now I *must* make it, I suppose…

  273. Sherry

    Is there a link to print this recipe and if so, where do I find it? I would love to try to make it for my 90 year old father who has a sweet tooth. Thanks, Sherry

  274. maedla

    Hi Deb

    I made this cake the other night and found that it had a very yeasty taste. Do you have any tips on to fixing that?


  275. naa

    if we doing the upside down version, just thinking , how about we use a round of parchment paper. want to bake this for my brothers birthday. will try with parchment paper & see what happens.

  276. naa

    On hindsight there is a Toscakaka (Swedish Caramel Almond Cake) that uses about the same topping but has a sponge cake base. the cake is baked till set, the caramel is made and spread over the cake which is then popped into the oven for 10 minutes at 200 degree celsius. think i wil try both methods out plus yours too. sigh! the trouble i get myself into to get the perfect cake!

  277. Deb, I arrived at a friend’s party last night, unfashionably late but was delighted when presented with a piece of cake, saved just for me. It was a slice of this bee sting cake and totally fantastic! Love the almonds and pastry cream! I think that this is the first time that I’ve ever gotten to try something from SK without having to make it myself. I like this new development.

  278. Laurie

    topping falling through – success finally

    The first time I made this cake the entire topping fell through. I think I ended up with 10 almond slivers on the top at the end of baking. I was going to a party, so I quickly candied more almond slivers, poured them on the top and let them cool while we were driving to the party. Not ideal, but it worked in a pinch.

    The second time I added the extra 1/4 cup of flour and about half the topping stayed on the cake.

    SOLUTION: The third time I added the extra 1/4 cup of flour. I traced the circle of my pan onto a piece of parchment, flipped the paper over and prepared the topping. I poured the topping on the parchment being careful to stay about a quarter inch from the line I drew on the parchment. I let the topping cool completely. In my case, I did the topping the night before. You will end up with a brittle like circle of topping. I set it gently on the cake before cooking. I just took the cake out of the oven and success! All the topping stayed on the top.

    This cake is totally worth the effort. Thanks for the recipe!

  279. CarolJ

    Deb, you inspired me to try my hand at a confection I’ve loved since I first encountered it as an exchange student in Germany some 40 years ago but never dreamed I could make myself. For the cake part, I used a German recipe for an 8″ round pan, the only size I own, to avoid having to scale your ingredients. Interestingly the recipe called for refrigerating the dough/batter overnight (no first rise at room temperature). I used your pastry cream and folded in some whipped cream; I pre-cut the top cake layer into wedges before assembling the cake, to avoid the filling squooshing out when serving. It was terrific. Thank you! I never, ever would have made a Bienenstich without this post.

  280. Bonnie

    This looks so good! I LOVE homemade custard and pudding I’ve only heard of this cake, but never knew what it was until seeing this recipe. I have a question. You mention that the cake is best if served the day it’s made. What will happen if you don’t serve it the same day? Gets soggy? Topping gets soft?

  281. sarah

    I’m making this tomorrow morning, doubling it in a 9×13 pan. Will this change the cooking time? I know I can just keep testing it, but I’d like to have an idea of how it’s going to go, if I can.

  282. sarah

    FYI – I cooked mine in a glass 9×13 pan, and it took about 45 minutes to bake. I also tried the trick of making an almond caramel “sheet” to put on the top, and it worked nicely – there’s one divot that a bunch of almonds fell into, but otherwise it looks great.

  283. TarynnJ

    I loved the story of how this came to be. I baked it today with my friend from the Black Forest. We didnt have the right size pan so we used one smaller yet taller which meant needing to cook it longer. it was just a little extra caramilized and oh so yummy. I have never had a cake quite like it.

  284. Rik

    I made this today and mine sunk, too! I’m so sad. It tastes amazing, but looks stupid. I tried the trick someone mentioned about making the “sheet” of almonds to put on top and it transferred nicely onto the cake batter. But it still sunk. Bummer. I’ve never had a yeast cake before, though, and it’s delicious!!

  285. Avery

    I just made this and even though my yeast was a little expired, my cream a little thin, and my almond mixture a little watery (’cause I may have not followed the directions perfectly….just a little), all I can say is BEST CAKE EVERRRRRR. This is totally my new birthday cake.

  286. Marilyn

    I made this fabulous cake for a friend at work who is here from Germany. She said it was perfect and was better than her grandmothers. She said often in Germany it is made with vanilla pudding mix and was delighted to have a genuine pastry cream in her cake. Thank you for this researched and much tested recipe. You’re the best!

  287. Melanie

    My husband heard about this cake from someone at work and requested it for his Father’s Day present. Your directions and helpful hints were spot on. Thanks for the effort and hassle – most definitely worth it!

  288. Francesca

    I made this cake for my flatmate yesterday (it was her birthday) and it turned out great! It was the first beesting I made myself and even the first one I ate consciously (maybe I’m a weird German, haha).
    We all loved it and I’ll definitely make that one again!
    Thank you so much for the recipe :))

  289. Anat

    Bee sting was our ultimate treat growing up, and don’t think that Israel in the 80’s was exactly a cullinary rainforest. The cake layers were ready made and the filling instant vanilla pudding. Blasphemy on any account. But I did mange over the years to help it up a bit. To give it extra moisture and a kick consider wetting the cake layers with milk and brandy/wiskey and for the top, try it with a topping made of brown suger, butter, coffee (good instant like tasters choice or somethin’) and pecans. Together with the booze it makes it a bit more grownuppy…

  290. Lily

    I have been wanting to make this cake since it was posted. I knew immediately that it would [most/closely] resemble the cake that my grandmother used to make. The nostalgia, the memories, and the sweetness of the cake made me want to make it more!

    But, I did not make it until today. I should have made it sooner!

    For the pastry cream, I used 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of flour per Comment #404 Joanna’s suggestion (thank you). A spoon for “whisking” on top of the stove was easier than an actual whisk for me, since it could reach the edges of the pastry cream. But, I realized this a little bit too late and I had mini overdone clumps of pastry cream (from the edges of the cream overheating in the pot). Other than tiny little lumps, it was very good texture. Thick and creamy. I’ll be sure to use a spoon next time! (Also, if you refrigerate it, stir it a bit to make it creamy again.)

    I made them as small bee sting cakes in a muffin pan. This could very easily make 24 muffins. (I made 18 and many had “overflow” and climbed out.) Ready in 11 mins for my oven.

    These are delicious on their own, without the pastry cream! My family is half and half split on whether it is better with the pastry cream. I vote this as the best everyday cake that you can dress up!

  291. Kate

    Follow-up to my #309 review.

    Made this again (2nd time) for my husband’s birthday. This time, the topping was very liquid-ie & I could easily add it to the top of the cake. When I cooked it, there was a lot more caramel than the first time, which made it very gooey. (Yum.) The topping didn’t sink like last time, either. Again, I added lemon zest and juice to the pastry cream, but this time, the pastry cream turned out very strangely. I used cornstarch, rather than flour (same as last time) and followed the directions exactly. I finished adding the cream, as instructed and returned it to the heat the second it started to bubble (low heat), it turned to gel. I removed it from the heat, whisked it up & heated it a little more, but I was concerned it would burn, so I removed it from the heat. I used it, as the flavor was fine. Still, it was a strange consistency (but the first time I didn’t experience this). Last night, I had a leftover piece of the cake. I heated it for 15 seconds in the microwave and it was perfect – even the pastry cream was as it was the first time – creamy and wonderful. Has this strange “gelling” happened to anyone else?

    I won’t let this stop me from making the cake. It’s fabulous and simple.

  292. Hi Deb! I was so excited to make this. It’s in the oven now and I was sad to see the almond topping sunk to the bottom. After searching through comments. Many people have said the same. Why does it do this? I’m sure it will taste delicious but this is a huge bummer. Most people have said I won’t get to use the pastry cream (that I already made) because it will be too difficult to slice with sunken almonds. :(

    1. deb

      Hi Becca — My topping sunk a little but just use a serrated knife to cut through any buried almonds; you’ll get to use that cream!

  293. Deb, thanks for the quick reply! I ended up cutting the cake in 1/2 and digging the almonds out from the bottom of 1/2 and putting them on top of the other half. It wasn’t as pretty as yours but it pretty much worked. I was able to take my good half and slice it to fill with pastry cream – yay! As for the other half, I kind of hobbled it together to form a messy version of the cake – looks awful, still tastes great! I love the yeast flavor of the cake with the honey and almonds. One day I’ll attempt it again and make my almonds stay where they’re supposed to! Thanks for the recipe.

  294. Renee

    I wonder if toasting flour or the choice of flour would make a difference for custard. I always taste cornstarch and and am willing to live with a slight floury taste.

  295. Jeanne

    You don’t really need another comment after the other 400+ already received, I suppose. But I made this yesterday and it was a big hit with my friends! I lightened the custard with a bit of whipped cream. Also put the almond topping on some parchment paper after cooking to let cool. I put the cake into the oven for 5 mins, first. Then broke off cooled pieces of the almond topping and placed on top of cake and finished baking. I had a tiny bit of sinking in the middle, but otherwise, held up beautifully. I’ll be baking this again and again. Thank you!!

  296. Sharon L. Buffington

    The answer to the sinking almond topping is this. I have made your bee sting cake before Deb, and it is fabulous. Yesterday when I made it, my topping sank. I was so upset because it was an anniversary cake for our friends Tom and Steve. We are all bakers, and I thought they might know the answer to my problem. Steve is an engineer and Tom is an artist.

    When I told them about it, they asked me questions such as did the top mound up when baked? Yes. Okay…the problem is with the topping temperature. The topping was too hot when I put it on. It has to be less than 105F or it will kill the yeast surrounding it. When the yeast is killed, the almonds spill down through the cake and it mounds up to compensate.

    So…the mystery is solved. I will make sure the lovely topping is less than 105F. It was just lucky that the other times I made the cake I had cooler topping.


  297. Sharon L. Buffington

    In response to Becca and whether to proceed with the cream when you have a bee sting disappointment. When I had the problem with all the topping spilling to the bottom of the cake, I took the cake out of the oven, and then I saw where all the almonds had gone once I removed the cake from the pan. Too moist on the bottom. I put the cake on it wire rack and put the rack back on the baking sheet. Then, I put it back into the oven for 3-4 minutes, so the bottom would be done.

    I was so dismayed over that cake and then I was nervous about the cream too, which I had doubled into an almond cream. But, I used a great serrated knife and took apart the cake. I applied the double cream, which tasted divine and added the dismal bald top. The top reminded me of a man who is bald on top but has hair fringe all around. The topping remained on the edges. The cake was delicious and we all had seconds. The guys took the rest home. Even now…that I believe the mystery of the falling topping is solved, I would wake up last night thinking about what had happened and how the guys had solved the mystery. They said some bakers want such an effect…and will intentionally put something above 105F on top to get the cake to rise around it…like with certain brioche or anything with yeast…where they want a mounded effect.

  298. jill

    i was bummed that the cake swallowed up my almond topping. if i make it again, i might try baking the cake for 10 minutes first, then putting the almond topping on top, so it won’t sink. everything tasted fine, but it was not a pretty sight!

  299. Kate

    Deb! I’ve had so much making this cake. I made it for my family last weekend as they worked outside in the vineyard. Being pregnant, I couldn’t help with the manual labor…but I could treat everyone to a delicious German dessert when they came in to eat! Then I made it again this weekend as a birthday treat for a coworker.

    Best tweak…I only had half the almonds the second time around so I added chopped hazelnuts to the mix. Major delicious addition! It made the cake even nuttier and richer.

  300. jann

    Regarding your comment about ‘old’ yeast. I have had a 1 or 2 lb bag (I forget which it is) which I keep in a ziplock baggie in the freezer. For 20 years -yes, you read that right! – It sleeps happily and comes to life at room temp. I use it when I make bread. I don’t proof it – I put it in the dough as is, and it works perfectly.

  301. Tash

    Thank you so much for this recipe and the great instructions! I love how you wrote this, it was so easy to understand and made it much easier in moments of panic!

  302. Kim Baumgart

    Thanks so much for your hard work! This was a favorite when I was on a mission in Germany. My daughter got to go there to visit her Oma and had some while she was there. She found this – just in time for her own birthday this week! With all the posts – it’s obviously a big hit! Just wish those who like to point out the little typos would realize that if they figured it out – others will too – no need to point it out. Let’s enjoy the good!

  303. mennonite momma

    I can always count on and trust your recipes. however this time I’m in the camp of ‘my almonds fell though’.. sniff sniff. I didn’t read the comments and I finally found a day and reason to make the cake. On a lighter note.. i did make your pavola with the extra egg whites as a second dessert option and boy was that a hit!! I would love to see a good solution to the almond issue.. 444 comments are a bit through to go through with little ankle biters at your feet xo

  304. Betsy

    Hi Deb! I have been planning on making this for my mom’s birthday ever since you posted this amazing recipe! However, now that her birthday is just around the corner (next week), I am realizing that I may not have time to make the cake and everything else on the menu. Do you think you could make the cake and freeze it, then fill it the day of? Thank you so much for your lovely site!

  305. alexia

    I would consider myself an experienced baker. I had a bit of trouble with this one. My topping sank as well, in the shape of a donut. I had no topping around the edge or in the middle, it all sank together in a ring shape so deep that it split and shattered my cake. The bottom was soggy from the syrup pile up. It tasted good, but I didn’t get the pretty top, and this was for my moms birthday. I tried to cut it in half anyway, and put the cream inside. The top was falling off in pieces and the cream was oozing out. I wasn’t able to get my cream to a boil, I tried twice, maybe because I have an electric stove top. I was afraid it would burn. It smelled done. I used the cornstarch. My topping didn’t really get thick either, but it smelled like it was about to burn so I took it off after 2 minutes. The biggest bummer was the topping sinking. I made sure it was cool first. Maybe it’s an elevation thing? It is very hot and humid here in SW FL. It still tasted good. VERY sweet. I double the filling. Everyone thought the custard tasted like Bit O Honey candy. I thought it tasted like butterscotch. Not what I was expecting, but everyone loved it.

  306. Deborah

    I have been wanting to try this since you posted it. Since my husband is gluten intolerant, I needed to wait for a family visit to some wheat eaters. I wish I had read all the comments first because my nuts did indeed sink to the bottom. I wondered whether my clumps were too large. I was able to split it and get it back together with the pastry cream. It looked a mess, but it was just yummy.Everyone loved it. Thanks a bunch.

  307. Ilonka

    Thanks for this–made it and found a trick–spread the almond mixture on a sheet of silicone and then flipped it onto the cake dough. Easy!!! Almonds fell through a bit so next time I will let them cool all the way. Will make the cake rectangular next time and may make more cream since we’re custard lovers.

  308. Crystal

    I have made this 3 times now. The first time, I had an epic fail when I tried to take the cake out of the pan- Cakes and I just don’t get along in that way. The second and third time I made this I baked it in a springform pan. It worked perfectly- still achieving the crunchy top, but without all the acrobatics of turning out a cake and then flipping it back over. Just thought I would pass along the tip in case anyone else is cake-flipping challenged like me!

  309. Elizabeth

    Thanks for the testing and the recipe. I mistakenly read 3 1/4 cups milk instead of 3/4 cup. Ooops! Thank goodness you wrote something about cohesiveness which made me realise.

    Our first party of the summer for my dad’s birthday and he LOVES bee sting cake so I hope this will work. :)

  310. Elizabeth

    I finished the cake and just a note; if you use a bigger pan then increase the amounts of caramel almonds and custard because you have a larger surface area. I used a square pan instead of round but a square is actually 25% bigger so I’m a little disappointed with the amount of topping.

    Another note; don’t use as much corn flour as wheat flour as it thickens more – reduce to 2 tablespoons.

    I used orange liqueur because I could not get vanilla extract at the last minute. It tastes wonderful although I have not tasted it on the cake yet.

  311. jude

    I had planned to take this to oktoberfest party in a little while, but just opened the oven & realized it’s time to head to the bakery for an emergency backup cake….what a disaster. The batter was so runny and non dough-like the almonds instantly sank to the bottom when I put them on. The baked result looks now looks like a thick pancake that is only done on the bottom with no almonds showing at all – totally unappetizing. Finally, I used 2T of cornstarch and 1T of flour in the custard, and it turned out really, really thick. A sad waste of a beautiful Saturday.

  312. Jude

    I have been thinking about this cake-fail. My topping was cool, so I don’t think it sank because of temperature, it was because my cake batter was not holding together like dough. I was jumping back and forth between 3 recipes, and all of them had these proportions of flour and milk. Why was it so runny? Probably because I thought I was too cool to go out and buy a pack of Fleishmann’s rapid rise yeast, which is very hit and miss from my experience. I used fancy yeast I had on hand that I felt would be “better,” which I proofed in 108 degree milk before adding to the flour. Why I’m sad: I’ve made a lot of yeast-based cakes and breads, and routinely stand over the mixer sprinkling in extra flour when the mix is too wet (you get an instinct for such things) until the dough holds together. If I hadn’t been so scared of making this cake & done what I always do to make certain it was like dough, not cake batter, that might’ve worked. At least cleanup was a breeze – I also used a springform pan.

    Also, info about my Plan B: All the bakeries in Pittsburgh sell a cake called a “toasted almond” – white layer cake w/ a pudding strip in the middle, light white frosting & almonds pressed over the entire frosted surface. I always wondered at the origin of it, I think it’s the americanized version of Bee Sting Cake. I ended up stopping there and getting one on the way to Oktoberfest Saturday, and everyone loved it.

  313. Teri

    Outstanding! My Great Uncle Richie use to make bienenstich for his daughter’s birthday, plus an extra one he would sneak to my mom. I once was given a small taste of the cousin’s cake (alas, I never knew until recently about my mom’s private annual stash!), and never forgot it! I inherited ingredient lists from my mom’s side of the family, and from those tried to do what you accomplished. Yeah and amen, I am so proud of you!

  314. Kate

    I made this last night and it was wonderful! I used a 9 inch springform pan, so no issues with dripping caramel or getting it out of the pan. I followed one of the commenter’s advice and put the almond caramel on a sheet of parchment in the shape of the pan. I then baked the cake for 10 minutes, then popped it out to put the caramel circle on it. No sinkage! But I did have to cook the cake a but longer to get the caramel golden brown. Next time, I’d put the caramel on the cake at 5 mins. I used flour for the pastry cream and it was super floury. Came together like a pâté choux/cream puff dough. I salvaged it by making whipped cream and folding it in. But, next time, I’ll probably use a different pastry cream recipe or just go with whipped cream.

  315. Anna E.

    I gave this one a try over the weekend, but while baking the almond topping sank all the way to the bottom of the pan and the entire cake ended up a gigantic collapsed sinkhole. (Admittedly, a very tasty sinkhole.) Anyone have a clue what I may have done wrong? Not a bit of the topping stayed on top, it all sank into the batter and migrated to the middle, even though originally I had topped the entire cake with it.

  316. Martha

    I made the cake this weekend. Actually, I made 2. The first one looked a little dense to me and as I was taking it for dessert at a birthday dinner I was a little concerned. I immediately made the second cake and the almond topping sunk but the cake crumb looked lighter. I sliced both and we decided the first one looked better. I had baked the first one in my CONVECTION oven – and in a SPRINGFORM pan to avoid that pesky turning out and over business. (When it was done, I was afraid that the springform pan may have made it more dense since the sides of the pan are a little higher than a traditional cake pan.) While the cake was rising in the pan I made the almond topping. I decided to turn it out onto a SILPAT AND PAT IT INTO A LITTLE LESS THAN A 9″ ROUND. It cooled and I could easily pick it up and place it gently onto the top of the cake. It turned out looking beautiful – except for seeming a little dense to me. (I have photos….)
    Since I had done this “free-lance” thinking (using the springform pan and making the topping into a round instead of placing it in spoonfuls onto the first cake) I thought I should be a more compliant recipe-direction follower so I used the cake pan and a regular oven. The cake part of this one looked beautiful but the almond topping sank like stones. As I said, we finished up the first one and it was great. We saved the second one and cut it the next morning. It was drier and less tasty. That may simply be a result of not eating it on the day it was made! I will definitely try this again. Thank you for all your delicious recipes. (Your deep dish apple pie is HEAVENLY!)

  317. Brigitte

    I discovered, and fell in love with, Bienenstichkuchen as a child when I was visiting relatives in Germany. Your version is more decadent than the one I am familiar with. The Bienenstichkuchen I know is a sheet cake with the distinctive sugary almond topping. Just now I checked out the recipe for it in my mother’s old German cookbook and that is how it is made there, not yeasted or filled, and baked on a rimmed cookie sheet.
    Your recipe with the filling reminds me of another favorite cake from childhood that my mother used to make, a Frankfurterkranz. It is baked in a bundt pan, cut twice into 3 layers and iced with a vanilla buttercream icing and finished off with a caramelized chopped nut topping. The creaminess of the icing contrasts beautifully with the crunchy topping. I expect this is also why your BeeSting cake is so good. I recently transcribed my mother’s recipe for the Frankfurterkranz into English to share with the family. We’ve been writing down a number of Oma’s signature dishes so that we can keep cooking them ourselves.
    Your recipe brought back some memories. Thanks for that.

  318. Ana

    I made this and I think next time I’m going to use a 9 inch springform for its higher sides, because the cake completely overflowed my cake pan and it was an utter fiasco. I would definitely make sure that if you’re going to make this, your cake pan doesn’t have low-ish sides like mine. My fault, though. I fell in love with the delicious topping, however!

  319. Tina

    Just made this and…OMG…Best. Cake. Ever. And I am a professional baker so I have made A LOT of cakes…LOL. Perfect balance of sweetness, love the crunch of the almonds, and the crumb on the cake was beautiful. Love the fact that you brought such a wonderful cake back from the void. Sometimes new isn’t always better. Great job!

  320. I made this last night with some improvisations thanks to the comment section & it came out beautifully.

    -I upped the flour to 2 1/4 c.
    -I baked it in greased and floured 9″ springform pan & lined the bottom with parchment
    -I infused my milk for the pastry cream with earl grey tea.
    — I made this recipe’s Pastry Cream twice before switching to Thomas Keller’s. 3 Tbs. Cornstarch or Flour left mine very mealy. By the time I made Keller’s I was short on eggs so my batch was small. To compensate, I whipped my earl grey pastry cream into a batch of honey whipped cream and it was wonderful.

    I think the extra flour and taking care to deflate the dough gently, but over the entire cake, after the second rise & using tiny tiny spoonfulls of the almond dough saved my cake. I love yeasted desserts and with a few more tweaks will definitely be making a version of this again.

  321. Maggie

    Of all the desserts in the world, this is my favorite. This is just the most amazing recipe…just like what I get at my friends how in Lieblos ……Lecker !!

  322. Tahlia

    Made this and it turned out great! Had to try a couple times to get my custard right but when I did it tasted just like how I remembered it!

  323. Rachel

    I made this yesterday doing the second rise in the fridge and cooking it this morning. I, too, had the issue with the almonds sinking but from the previous comments I don’t think it had to do with waiting a day to bake it.

    Like everyone else the almond shards being in the cake made it difficult to slice without destroying the top. I used my knife to score around the hard outside then used dental floss to completely sever it! It took two bench knives and a cookie sheet to move it but I managed. In an effort to hide the not so pretty top I dusted with powdered sugar. CAKE SAVED!

    Has anyone yet tried to remedy the sinking almonds with the extra flour? Was it successful? Or did anyone try the “upside down” method?

  324. Annalise

    My dad doesn’t really like desserts, but I made this for his birthday cake and he LOVED it! It has the perfect amount of sweetness.

    My almonds sank, but it was a delicious mess, and we sprinkled the top with icing sugar to hide the “mess”. It was beautiful and delicious nonetheless! I will definitely be making this again!

  325. Rachel

    I having been waiting almost a year to make this for my birthday later this week. I just finished reading all 474 comments (phew) and will be trying some of the suggestions. I hope it turns out well!

    Deb, I have been reading your site since 2009. I was in college then andl living in the dorms, and had no idea how to cook/bake. Since then, with your site and the help of America’s Test Kitchen cookbook (those tips are GOOD for beginners), I’ve become a pretty good home chef/baker if I say so myself! I’ve probably made around 50 or so of the recipes here, and not a single one has ever failed me. When I host dinner parties and my friends look at the table in awe, I always tell them that you taught me how to cook. This is my first comment ever, what a lurker I am. Just wanted to say thank you for what you do. So many things have changed in my life since I started reading Smitten Kitchen but your recipes and writing are just as fantastic as ever, and I know I will be a longtime fan! <3, Rachel

  326. Erin

    I made this for my 22nd birthday party last night and it was absolutely fabulous! I didn’t have any instant yeast so I just proofed my active dry in some warm milk with a teaspoon of sugar or so. The baking time was much longer, I had to add an extra 15 minutes onto the time you had but it still turned out grand! All of my guests loved it and my roommate hid a slice for our breakfast this morning! Thank you so much for posting this recipe, I absolutely loved it.

  327. Lindsay

    Hm, I’ve made this cake twice now. Unfortunately too much time elapsed between the first and second times, because I didn’t remember that 25 minutes leaves me with a cake that is still quite undercooked and gooey in the centre. I wish I’d remembered that the second time! Maybe I’ll just cut out the middle when I slice it in half to add the custard. Maybe it’s because I am using a springform pan? I’m still placing it on a cookie sheet with aluminum foil to catch any drips. I wonder if I’m self-sabotaging somehow. Tips, anyone??

    It really is SUCH a fantastic cake! I didn’t make it twice for no reason, that’s for sure.

  328. Paola

    I have had this cake before and it is simply amazing, I hope mine can be saved!
    I am worried because after my second rise, my batter does not look like yours in the photos…it looks very bubbly and is more soupy. When I went to put the almonds on top before putting it in the oven, they dropped into the batter. What did I do wrong?
    I follow the recipe exactly and my yeast is brand new. If someone could reply that would be so helpful because I decided to bake this cake on my hubby’s birthday…today! Will continue to read comments to see if anyone has had this problem.

  329. Paola

    Lindsay, mine came out gooey and undercooked also. So disappointing. I don’t know what went wrong, but I am left with a cake that looks gorgeous but is undercooked.
    Deb, can you give advice?

  330. Ken

    I am a totally novice baker (but experienced cook) and I made this cake fairly easily and to great result. Thanks for your “test lurching” Deb!

  331. ESullins

    Making this right now (it’s out of the oven but I haven’t sliced the layers yet) and it looks and smells incredible.

    I’m going to break all the rules and warm my milk and vanilla scrapings in (GASP) the microwave. I hope it doesn’t harm my pastry cream – it seems worth a try rather than having to wash and cool the saucepan another time.

  332. Vera McShane

    Ich bin erschuettert, ich habe noch nie einen so wunderbaren Bienenstich gesehen!!!

    I’m overwhelmed, I have never seen such a beautiful Bienenstich. I am a bit afraid of yeast doughs, but will jump over my shadow to duplicate this divine creation.

  333. Texas

    Yes, really my name is ‘Texas’.
    This is a very interesting Bienenstich Kuchen recipe,welchen Ich diesse Wochen Ende versuche.Ich habe verschiedene Bienenstich K. schon gemacht, and they turned out great,von meiner Essen/Gelsenkirchen Oma oder auch from or Dr.Oetker, ChefKoch,und die Orginal Sachsen KüchenGötter1742AD rezepte. I always try to improve my receipt.Apparently here the majority of the complains are about this recipe, that the almond/honey top will sink to the bottom. Well, I will comeback with the answer next Monday, after I served my Bienstich to our Church Congregation.

  334. Suzanne P

    I am curious as to which bakery you went to in Ridgewood, NY. I lived there until I was 10. Bienestich Torte is to die for! LOL

    1. deb

      Suzanne — I’ve blocked out the name, but we could (sadly) only find one that still regularly stocked it and it tasted quite average.

  335. Susan Wozniak

    I sent myself the recipe because I used to buy slices of this cake at a now gone (due to the retirement of the owner) bakery. It was heavenly.

    I found it two nights ago, combing through my homepage, looking for something else. My daughter suggested we make it.

    My daughter and I bought a grain share last fall and are having a great deal of difficulty learning to bake bread with fresh flour. I was uncertain about a yeast raised cake but everything went fine . . . until . . . I tried to put the caramel on the cake batter. It sunk. I baked the cake, then let it cool in the pan. When I turned it over, I discovered all the caramel and almonds were there on the bottom of the pan.

    The bottom has become the top. Since it is now after 6 PM and my daughter has a 14 month old who is allergic to sleep, she asked that I make the pastry cream tomorrow. Yeah, it probably would make a great tea cake as it is, but, my birthday was this week and I want the full Monty . . . er . . . I want to have my cake and eat it too!

  336. I have baked my way through a few of your recipes and it always always turns out so well. This though, to my disappointment, was a humongous flop! The batter was dry, the pastry cream was one big jello blob and the almonds sunk to the bottom (not all but in patches which made the presentation of the cake a mess). I followed the recipe to the T but did leave the dough to rise another hour or so than recommended as I was doing other things. I am ashamed to say I need to look elsewhere for the recipe.

  337. Magda

    I’m from Poland and I never heard about bee sting cake before, so naturally, I translated the recipe to polish and baked it today. It is glorious! Everyone loved it. Yeast cakes are very popular here but we never added cream, only nuts or berries. I’m big fan of bienenstich now.

  338. Magda

    QUESTION! What have I done wrong if almond sink inside cake and stayed moist on the bottom, after the cake was baked ? There’s maybe one or two on top.

  339. Richard

    My topping sank to the bottom. I weighed the flour, 250g for 2 cups. The dough didn’t seem strong enough to hold the almonds. Maybe use 2 1/2 cups,to stiffen it a bit?

  340. Elisabeth

    This post made me happy! I have Bienenstich every summer when I visit my family in southern Germany. It is always the first thing I buy at the bakery in town. I love it! Yours looks wonderful and authentic. Thanks for the recipe!

  341. Daniel

    I also made this tonight in a 9 inch pan and had overflow problems and the almond mixture sank. My wife recommends using a springform pan next time, and maybe baking the dough 10 minutes before putting the almonds on. I must say, it did taste authentic and will try it again using the above recommendation.

  342. Lisa

    This was my choice for my birthday cake this past weekend. It turned out wonderfully! Have tried several different Beesting recipes with lackluster results-they always ended up too dry or too heavy. This was perfect! Moist, light, not too sweet. Just right!

  343. Kimberley

    Ok, so after reading some of the comments AND having amazing experiences with Debs recipes, I needed to try this one. I halved the recipe to make a 6inch cake (because there’s only two of us and otherwise I’d eat the whole thing). Because I was aware of the sinking-almond problem, I baked the cake without the almonds, putting them on halfway through the baking time. I don’t think I cooked the mixture enough before putting it on, so it might be a bit too liquidy. On the other hand, it’s sweet, sticky and caramellike, so who will mind? I did dial back the amount of cornstarch back to 1 tb and then still found it too much. Just drizzle some heated cream through while whisking until you have the right consistency!

    Another tip: I don’t know if anyone has mentioned it already, but I found the flavor of the honey coming through quite nicely. If you love your honeys, or have a preference for a certain type of honey, you might want to use it here! I on the other hand, chose one type of honey because my boyfriend dislikes the other one we had at home (he’s kind of weird about it).

    Overall, the cake looks beautiful and the taste of that topping – ay caramba! Sure to love this one too, thanks so much Deb!

  344. Kimberley

    Unfortunately, I had to go back here for another comment. Unfortunately, the whole thing fell because it was underbaked (although it was a 6 inch version and had been in the oven over 35 min) and really eggy (maybe my own fault?) and not good to taste at all. We ended up eating the topping by dipping it into the pastry cream. Entirely delicious!!!

  345. Cristy Lee

    Reading through the comments really helped on this one– I spread the topping on a piece of parchment paper, just slightly smaller than a 9″ diameter and let it cool completely. I also used a springform pan. Literally, not a single solitary almond slice moved and dang, was it a pretty cake. The cream was delicious and I’ll probably make a bit more next time. And there will be a next time.

  346. Leah

    I’m fixing to make this for the weekend, but now I’m worried about the lovely “lid” sinking into the cake. I noticed in Martha’s recipe that she uses regular yeast (not rapid rise) and tops the cake prior to the second rise. Has anyone tried that approach?

  347. Jen

    This is baking right now. I’m worried that letting the cake rise overnight in the fridge has over-proofed the cake. Maybe I should have skipped the first rise? It’s coming out of the pan- not just caramel drips, but cake drips, too. I hope what’s left in the pan turns out well enough! It smells great, and I’m a bit proud to have made your pastry cream, as I would have leaned on the easier pudding mix-style filling. Next time, I think I’ll just bake it the night before and hope the pastry cream keeps it nice and moist.

  348. Leah

    Reporting back: Made this with rapid rise yeast, topped with the almonds after the first rise and then let it rise again (covered with plastic wrap) for about 15 minutes. No almonds were harmed in the baking of this cake! No sinking. Also made it the night before serving it at lunch, and it was great – not dry at all.

  349. anne

    I made this last weekend. After the comments I was a little worried about the rising, the almond sinking, etc. no need. My first rise was maybe 2hours, I did the almond caramel during the second rise. Almonds stayed on top. The cake didn’t look very easy to take out of the pan, so I left it in and served without pastry cream. It was already pretty rich and very delicious. And without he pastry cream it’s a time consuming cake because of the rises but not in terms of labor. And very easy, so I will be making it again. Thanks for the recipe! This one is a crowdpleaser.

  350. 411bee

    I’m making this for my husband’s pre-birthday today, thank you for posting! It looks amazing. Have you attempted a gateau basque?

  351. anne

    This one was such a good cake I do want to make it again. If I omit the pastry cream like last time, do you think I could make it in little muffin tins? If so do you recommend doinng the two rises in the muffin tins directly? Realize you might not have tried it but would love to hear your best guess?

  352. deb

    I haven’t made them as muffins, but check out Comment #428, who tried it. I definitely think you could. I would still probably do the first rise in a bowl, because you want to stir it to deflate it a little, and that would harder to manage — and would probably disturb the greasing on the cups — in muffin tins.

  353. Ashley

    I was thinking about adding some sliced strawberries to the pastry cream layer. Do you think the flavors would complement well?

  354. Annie

    This cake was a hit! My filling didn’t work, so I left the cake whole and served with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream. Thanks so much for finding a great recipe!

  355. Rebekah

    I had . . . a very difficult time with this recipe. My almonds never got as thick as yours and started out a much deeper color. Maybe it was my honey? Then, my dough rose up and over my cake pan (9″ round, I measured!), with a great valley in the center. Maybe too much yeast? It was rainy here in Nor Cal today. Does that matter?
    The caramel spilled everywhere since the cake was too big for the pan and my almonds – *clutches pearls* – fell off. Boo. Thankfully I made your “I need a chocolate cake” cake to take to our Chinese New Year party tomorrow instead.

  356. Susan

    Making cake as I write this. No time to read thru your hundreds of comments but the cake has fallen terribly and most likely will have to do over. Such a waste of money. The cake should not rise second time much as mine did rise a !of and now there is no room for batter to go but fall out of pan and onto sheet pan under. Please advise readers to not let second rise for too long or disaster!!!

  357. Lisha

    Deb – thank you for your wonderful blog!

    After reading through the recipe carefully and all 500+ comments I decided to do a trial run first before baking the real thing for a party. I halved the recipe and used a loaf pan to bake it. Based on other people’s suggestions I made the almond caramel topping during the first rising. I lined the loaf pan I was using with parchment paper (cut out so that it fits in perfectly and the sides are sticking up) and poured the hot caramel in. I pressed it to fill the whole bottom of the pan. After it cooled and retained its shape I lifted it out of pan and onto the countertop to cool further. I greased the loaf pan and proceeded with the second rising. After the second rising I added some lemon zest on top, then peeled the caramel layer off the parchment paper and carefully placed it over the dough. Baked for 25 min. Lastly I omitted the cream filling (for an older health conscious crowd).

    Result: Perfection! I don’t know what a bee sting cake is suppose to taste like since I’ve never had it before but this is one yummy almond honey coffee cake. All the almond stayed on top. The top was a bit uneven but none of it went over the edge of the loaf pan (almost!). The almonds were a perfect golden layer. The cake was a bit crumbly to cut but soon disappeared into our stomach…

    I’m ready to make the full cake in a 8×8 square pan this weekend! Thank you for sharing this recipe and good luck to all subsequent bakers :)

  358. Evie

    Oh Deb. That was hilarious (am reading this on a laptop while cackling insanely. People are now wondering if I’ve lost my mind – not for the first time I might add). Not even you though can tempt me to try a Bienenstich. I grew up in Germany and it’s the one cake (and we have many really nice ones) that never took. I find it a strangely uneventful cake. Fruit. A person needs fruit in a cake. A cake without fruit is a wasted opportunity. Well, except for the lovely, fantastic, amazing, out of this world gooey cinnamon squares of yours…

  359. Jessica

    Made this just as you instructed and it turned out beautifully. Phenomenal. Sweet but not too sweet. Crunchy and yeasty and memorable. I found myself day dreaming about a second slice a few hours later. You just want more. Thank you for another gem Deb. When a birthday cake is on the horizon you never let me down.

  360. Faviola

    I made this cake yesterday and it was to die for!! My husband said it’s the best cake he has ever had. In his Italian accent he said, “it’s the end of the world!”
    I’ll definitely keep this cake in my back pocket for future occasions!!

  361. Nicci

    I just made this…twice! I had to make it ahead of time, and all your ‘ahead of time’ suggestions worked perfectly. I tried the custard with cornstarch for one, and flour for the other, the cornstarch one ended up in the trash, like others, it turned to glue for me.
    for the topping, I made it ahead of time(before I popped the cake in the oven) and spread it out on parchment paper to cool. I let it cool for ten minutes+, and then cooked the cake for 5, before I put the topping on. This was because everybody was having issues with it sinking to the bottom, I decided to cook the cake for a few minutes so it could firm up some. Then I just let it bake until the cake was baked all the away through!

    Turned out delicious and decadent!

  362. Caroline Reinhardt

    Hello Deb,
    I had to leave a comment as we moved to Germany over a year and of-course with the many cafe und kuchen invitations, soon my favorite to go kuchen was the bienenstich. The only problem that I faced being a disastrous baker that all my invitations included cakes from the bakery ;) With your recipe I decided to take the plunge and go for it…and man did i surprise everyone! I was almost certain that the almonds would sink (after reading all the comments) however I took the advice from Sharon L. Buffington (comments 435 / 436) and allowed the almond caramel to cool down completely before putting it on the cake batter.
    Deb, thanks for being my saving grace…I can now safely say “I CAN BAKE” :)

  363. Sarah

    I am making this now for my grandparents’ birthdays, which are a day apart. My daughter can’t eat almonds so I’m using pepitas, which gave me the idea to use a pumpkin pastry cream too. Pumpkin pie is my grandma’s favorite and my grandpa is a German immigrant so I feel like I can’t lose here.

  364. Megan

    So as written this recipe does not work super well at high altitude. LOL For recipes using baking powder or baking soda I usually half the amount and it works perfectly. But with yeast I have never had to, my breads just rise a bit faster. I didn’t cut the yeast on this and I cut the rising time on each rise by 10-15 minutes. It over rose a ton. And when baked because the batter was so loose from rising too much the almond topping sunk straight through. I think it will still taste great. I just wanted to warn anyone else from high altitude that the recipe will have to be tweaked more than normal. I would suggest cutting the yeast by a third to a half and also turning up the oven to 375 for the first 5 or 10 min to cook the top faster. If this doesn’t work than maybe baking the cake a little first and then putting on the topping? I am moving in a few weeks to a lower altitude (3500) so won’t be able to test the results at the same altitude I currently live at (6500ft). Although I do have almonds left and the cake was easy so I might try again in a couple weeks. I will update if I do in case anyone else is interested.

  365. Megan

    Okay so I flipped it out and all the nuts sunk completely to the bottom so it is like an upside down cake! The crumb is too tender because of it rising too quickly in the oven but the flavor and texture is lovely anyway. It is going to be hard to split. I think I will make it again it a couple weeks with my suggested alterations and see how it goes.

  366. Becky G.

    HELP! I made this cake for my son’s birthday but my batter was thinner than when I put the almond mixture on top it started sinking into the batter…I followed your recipe to the letter..what HAPPENED?? It smells good and looks good but all of the almond mixture is cooked inside the cake . can you help me PLEASE! Frustrated MOM!

  367. Megan L.

    YEP! It’s a FLOP! It might taste good but I had the same problems. The almond mixture sunk to the bottom. Least photogenic cake I’ve ever made. But thankfully the eaters will be loved ones so it doesn’t matter! Would love to know how to fix this problem though. I live at 3600 ft.

  368. Selena

    I’ve made this cake three times now. I LOVE it. First 2 times, great success. This time, my almond topping also sank. The reason is I just barely brought the almond topping to a boil so it didn’t caramelize. You need to let it come to a boil and keep it there long enough to thicken a bit. As Deb says, it should be several shades darker by cooking it. It should be a little difficult to put the topping on the cake because of the thickness, but it will work. Mine went on easier this time, but then sank.

  369. Janice

    My mom has been making “beesting” cake for years, but hers was not a year cake. I decided to try your version for my sister’s birthday. It just came out of the oven and is cooling. My batter was thick and my topping didn’t sink. I mixed the almonds with shredded coconut half and half bc that’s what my mom used to do – and I ran out of almonds. The almonds are the bees, and the coconut is the stingers. It would be looking amazing right now if I hadn’t scooped the drippings back on top of the cake – they’re darker then the rest and made it blotchy looking. (also shouldn’t have left drippings cooling on a spoon to eat later bc now it’s rock hard and stuck on the spoon… Lol)

  370. Judy M

    Being brave (foolish) and not having taken the time on Christmas Eve to read the comments, I did this cake on Christmas Day for company. I had some slightly sour half and half so used that instead of milk in the cake and cut the yeast to 1 1/2 t. since I always figure 1 t. for 2 c. flour. It rose over the edges, many of the almonds cascaded onto the silpat cookie sheet under it, and the rest sunk. I always use half cornstarch and half flour for custards and puddings (my mom did it that way) and the custard was great. I got it out of the pan, sliced with some difficulty through the sunken gooey almond parts, spread the custard, cut the crispy almond caramel bits from the cookie sheet into garnishes for the top of each slice, pretended it was supposed to look like it looked and served it to rave reviews and many requests for seconds even after a full turkey dinner with appetizers. It looked not at all like the picture but tasted absolutely delicious and had an awesome tender texture.
    I will make it again. I will use a high spring-form pan, not an ordinary 9″ cake pan. I will add 1/4 c. extra flour. And cut the yeast to 1 t. She who hesitates is lost… and it tasted soooo good.

  371. Curious whether you use a standard cake pan for this? When I made this last time the batter overflowed a bit during baking in my standard cake pan (wah!). Is yours 2″ deep or deeper?

    I’m definitely going to make it again – it was so good.


  372. Erika

    Thank you, Deb! My german Oma has completely ceased to bake at the death of my Opa a few years ago – and the family is mourning not only his loss but also that of delicious baking! I have been hunting for a recipe for Bienenstich (weirdest name ever) and am overjoyed to see this on your site – knowing you have tested the waters and it will turn out perfectly!

  373. Gail

    Hi Deb, do you have any thoughts about making this in a spring form pan vs. a regular cake pan? I am making this for Easter dinner… Can’t wait!
    P.S. Thanks for all your amazing recipes! You are a favourite in our house!

  374. lauren p

    oh my goodness. first off can I make a suggestion to you and all food bloggers??? can you either create tags in your comments, or maybe section? it’s so challenging to weed through the “oh my goodness this looks so good!” to find all the experiences and tips!

    second, I made this back in October and again today. my girlfriend told me a long time ago that this type of cake was her fav and she hadn’t had one since she was a kid. I started googling and was sooooo stoked when you had (of course) already covered it! the first time I made it, I used the 3 egg whites to make meringue cookies shaped like mushrooms, and then made ladybugs out of strawberries and chocolate, and little bees out of jellybeans and sliced almonds (as the wings). cutest. cake. EVER! today’s cake is cooling. I think, from my experiences, that the sinking is from over proofing in the pan as that’s when I ran into trouble w the almonds sinking. also, the corn starch is a little heavy, so this time I did 2.5 TBSP and it was perfect. my first time making it, even warm the custard was too thick so I just added some extra butter which helped. I wonder if the difference is that I’m making this in California in like 40% humidity?

    anyway, I’m a huge fan. your recipes have made many of my friends and family members very happy and you keep me inspired. thanks so much!

  375. Aleks

    Looks yummy, a bit like the Tosca cake we have in Sweden too, which isn’t yeasted.
    I can recommend In Ania’s kitchen on YouTube for a Polish take on Napoleon cake or even better, her recipe for Karpatka

  376. Jenn

    I would love to make this but my daughter is allergic to almonds. Any thoughts on a substitute crunchy topping…maybe a sturdy struesel?

  377. Michelle

    I have made this before…. I halved the recipe and baked in in a little cake pan… and it was wonderful. Thanks for the reminder! I will make it again this weekend!

  378. martha

    I made this yesterday, and it’s great! It’s fairly easy based on Deb’s great directions, just a bit time consuming with the two rises: but I just timed it so I did other stuff during the rises. One note: I used the 3 TBS of cornstarch and the almond extract and I found 3 TBS cornstarch way too much. I had to thin the pastry cream with more milk, which was fine, but next time I will use less cornstarch (this is so good there will definitely be a next time!)

  379. Mary

    I consider myself to be fairly good at baking. But I failed HARD with this cake. I’ve never made a yeasted cake before, but I’m very familiar with yeast and I make my own breads and pizza. The almonds did not stay on top, they sunk. What did I do wrong? I haven’t tasted it yet, but it looks so awful lol

  380. Tearsa

    I made this twice with the same results as Mary. (545) I am wondering if altitude is a factor because we are at about 3600 in altitude. Also, I think the next time I try it, (I am determined to get it right!) I will not butter the sides of the pan all the way to the top. This will maybe prevent the cake from folding in on itself. I wonder if I also used too big of spoonfuls for the almond mixture initially. Just some thoughts.

  381. Patty

    Hi Deb,
    Thank you for this amazing cake! Baked it yesterday for my very German hubby, who’s impressed. My questions: my top was a little uneven and i had honey soaking the bottom, it didn’t ruin the cake but i was wondering if this was normal? I kept it unfilled, because it’s just the 2 of us and i figured i can slice it and add the cream with each serving? I was worried it would get to soggy otherwise?

    I love your blog and share it with everyone. Your Jewish apple cake is my signature dessert and the most often requested cake to bring to parties. Thank you for all you do.

    With kindest regards,
    Patricia Fogelman.

    1. deb

      Patty — Glad you enjoyed it. It’s not just you — I do hear from others here that there are some sinking issues with the almond. I need to fiddle with it some more. Some people have made it upside-down-style, i.e with the almonds at the bottom and then flipping the cake over after it’s baked, I suspect that 2 more tablespoons flour in the cake would do the trick too. Sorry for the trouble.

  382. Audrey

    Maybe the sinking problem comes from the cup measures of flour. These can differ quite a lot and British cups are not the same size as US ones. It would be better to have weights for this recipe.

  383. Sandy

    Okay, here’s what I did, and here’s what happened:
    We are at 6800 ft altitude, so:
    I added 1/4 c. flour
    I used only 1 1/4 t. yeast
    I made the topping and spread it on parchment paper the shape of the pan. (Mine was fairly pale, but having burnt candies at this alt. in the past, I was afraid to keep cooking).
    I greased a springform pan and lined the bottom with parchment paper.
    I baked it for 20 min, and it wasn’t done so I baked it 10 more minutes.

    How it came out:
    Totally sunk in the middle and wet on the bottom. It looks good, but no way we could slice it, given that there’s a crater in the center, so we’ll eat it with pastry cream on the side.

    Anyone have any ideas about doing this at high altitude and having it turn out successfully?

  384. Rachel

    Stayed up late to make this on the basis of the photos and recipe – almonds all sunk to bottom and see this is what large number of people have encountered. Smitten Kitchen, does yours really come out per the pics on basis of current recipe?

  385. jenny

    Hi Deb, thanks a lot for the recipe. Everyone loves it. I followed your steps and it was a very lovely cake – the almonds stayed on top too! (seems like the major issue in a lot of comment)

  386. Allison

    I’ve been crushing on this recipe from afar for a while now, and I finally got around to making it. For me, it was a great day long project, because I got to work with a yeast dough, make a pastry cream for the first time, and hone my caramel making skills. It came out stunning and even better than I had imagined. The only thing I’d do differently next time would be to double the pastry cream filling, and press it through a mesh strainer while still hot, because I did get a few chunks reminiscent of scrambled eggs. Can’t wait to make this again — thanks Deb for perfecting and sharing this recipe!

  387. Hannah

    I’ve been looking for a recipe since falling in love with the Bienenstich at Wagner’s Bakery in Olympia, WA. I can’t wait to make this!! Thank you!

  388. Kate

    I just made this and it’s delicious. I had one problem though. Pretty much all of the topping sank to the bottom while it was baking. I was able to flip the cake, so it turned out kind of like an upside down bee sting. I’m just wondering what went wrong. Was the topping too hot when I put it on? I let it cool for about 15 minutes.

    1. Patty

      this happened to me last night—it was my 2nd time making this cake and for sure, I added the almonds while still too warm. my first round I was definitely dealing with a stickier batch of almonds which were in clumps versus the spreadable version of my too warm almonds last night—had a fair amount sink through a bit but still a good amount on top as well, was tasty but made cutting the cake harder because it crumbled easily.

  389. I made this for the first time last night and it has immediately gone on my list of all-time favorite cakes! Beautiful crumb texture and an amazing caramelized topping. Made a few adjustments to the method, based on the comments:

    Rather than dolloping the caramel topping onto the batter, I spread the hot mixture in a 9″ circle on a piece of parchment paper and let it cool to just above room temperature. When the cake was just about to go in the oven, I peeled the parchment away and gently laid the warm circle right on top of the batter. No leaking, no sinking — perfect! Perhaps because not as much moisture could vent through the solid topping, the cake did need a full 25 minutes (or even a touch longer) in the oven.

    I used 3T cornstarch in the pastry cream, which worked out perfectly. I was dubious about the slightly gelatinous consistency it acquired in my fridge, but the ratio of cream to cake was lovely and the stiffness wasn’t noticeable once it was spread in the cake.

    1. MaggieToo

      AnnePeale, I owe you big time. After contemplating it for years, I finally got around to making this cake, for Easter. I’d been scared of the Sinking Toffee Syndrome so many experienced, but I used your method of spreading the toffee topping onto a parchment paper template, and it worked like a charm! My cake looked just exactly like the one in Deb’s photos, and was divinely delicious. It’s so elegant in its simplicity, it’s like something you’d imagine coming from a Viennese pastry shop.

      One warning to serious custard junkies: I doubled the recipe for the pastry cream filling, and we still thought it was a bit skimpy! (We really love custard.) Next time I make this, I’m going to whip some cream and fold it into the custard, just for a little extra glamour. Thanks for all your research on this beautiful cake, Deb.

    2. MaggieToo

      P.S. forgot to mention — I baked my cake for 12 minutes, then added the one-piece toffee topping, then baked for another 12 minutes, and the toffee was perfectly toasted and cake layer baked thoroughly.

      1. Alex

        I will certainly try this next time. I tried the parchment method, cooled down to almost room temp, and still, everything sunk to the bottom. My batter was extremely light– I’m wondering if the cake even needed a second rise with instant yeast?? It was like a chiffon cake. Maybe I didn’t deflate enough after the first rise? I’m wondering how you even manage to spoon the heavy carmel onto such a light batter. I’m so bummed!

  390. Savannah

    Hi I just made this cake yesterday and I love it but the cake was oh so dense and flavorless, I have no idea why. Would cake flour help with the density or should I hand mix it rather than using a mixer?

      1. emma

        could it be too much flour? without the weights listed, that can be a tricky issue. i’ve baked the layers (two thin 8 inch rounds, each with almonds – fate unknown for splitting these thin layers or making it so there are almonds in the center also!) and make the custard, tonight we assemble and eat! sounds like since some of my topping did soak through, as visible on the bottom of the layers, i’ll not risk splitting them, and just stack it tall. one honey-soaked almond fell off upon inverting. i had to eat it. very tragic.

  391. Kari from Martinez

    My sister (and I, well, I just helped a little) made this cake this past Saturday for my birthday. It was mighty good, but the topping sank to the bottom of the cake almost immediately (had to cool it inverted or we’d never get it off the rack). When the cake was removed from the pan, just about every bit of it was on the bottom, save a few stalagmites ascending from that layer. It was impossible to cut the cake in half without shredding it, so she just spread the pastry cream (made with flour and delectable) over the almond topping and served in wedges as is.

    When she put the almonds on top of the cake, it was really billowy. Do you think it was just too warm (I think it was 80 even inside their a/c’d house!), rose too fast, and we caught it late? Should we next time go by looks, not time?

  392. This was a cake that had to be made more than once to get it right. I say this because the environment variations like temperature and humidity likely play a role in how the cake rises and how “tuff” it ends up being to handle the honey almond topping when putting it on the cake. For sure, though, do not let this cake rise longer than required or put the almond in thick clumps or you risk the toppings sinking in. This will stink. Because of this make sure the topping is a thin and even layer, which can be deceptive as you are dealing with sliced almonds. Other than doubling the amount of custard, the cake was delicious.

  393. Victoria

    Hi! I really hope you see this message! Since 1999, myself and a group of women friends have been spending Columbus Day Weekend in the beautiful state of Maine. We get together, eat amazing food, drink great wine and laugh our asses off! It is an incredibly special time for us all. Every year, I am in charge of making a cake. Now, I have used your recipes before and they are always a hit! BUT this year!!! OMG! This bee sting cake was AMAZING! We were literally licking the pan. I never would have tried this if I didn’t see it here. SO thank you so MUCH for making my annual women’s weekend even better!

  394. Liz E

    I’ve made this for family visits and birthdays a few times over the years, it’s become something of a tradition. Like others I had problems with the hot topping sinking in in places, which makes for nice variation in texture but for very difficult slicing. So instead I make a little extra topping and split the dough into two cake pans for the final rise. Usually we resort to whipped cream over pastry cream (out of laziness), but the pastry cream does go better with the breadiness of the cake. I also separately toast the almonds and add almond extract to the dough, but that’s just part of my religion.

    1. Liz E

      Deb, I came here to write all of these same alterations. Thanks for introducing the internet to the bee-sting cake concept.

  395. Bekah

    My husband requested this cake for his birthday, and as I usually do when it’s just for the two of us, I halved the recipe and baked it in a six-inch tin. I have no clue why the tin wasn’t adequate for this recipe – maybe my yeast was just extremely vigorous, or something? – but I really should have taken some of the batter out of the tin after the second rise. It was close enough to the top that I should have guessed it would do what it did – overflow majestically and lose half the topping as well as a good bit of the cake. I allowed it to finish baking as-was, and just cut off the overflowed part; but all the turbulence had also allowed most of the rest of the topping to sink in chunks to the bottom of the pan where it stuck badly enough to keep the cake from being able to come out in one piece.

    The final result was horrifying to behold but sure enough was delicious – I just heaped the pastry cream on top and we ate our messy portions with spoons.

  396. Carolyn Pendergast

    I made this and had the same problem of the topping sinking into the cake. I was hoping there had been a response to what to do differently…………..

    1. Kharis

      I just posted a comment, but try baking the cake about 12 minutes first, heat up the almond (so it spreads faster), and then put it on the cake. Bake another 10-12 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Then let set so the almond topping has a chance to harden a bit. :)

  397. Lauren

    This was decent, and would make a solid brunch cake, being only lightly sweet. I would bake it in a springform next time, as the cake rose quite tall and a large amount of caramel spilled over the edges.

  398. Beth

    I grew up in NE PA which had a large German population when I was I kid I remember having a “Beehive” cake for my birthday when I was young (that’s what they called it), Thanks to the internet I’ve made another version by Julia Child a few times which was a hit with people who had not had it before, it only domed once. I’m going to have to try this version when I make it for the German side of my family this Thanksgiving but, I’ll still keep the 50/50 ratio honey butter sauce that she tops it with after assembling it in addition to the honey almond topping before baking it. BTW I found using the pudding made with whipped cream and folding in a thicker made Birds Custard works very well as a short cut filling.

  399. elizinvt

    A horse of a slightly different color is “Blitz Torte”, another German custard-filled cake that includes cake, custard, almonds and **meringue layers**. Decades ago, a college room-mate made this any time there was a special occasion. Give one a try when you feel so inclined.

  400. Kharis Eppstein

    I had tried this cake twice with no success sadly. I’m in Denver, so I don’t know if it’s altitude plus the yeast or what. The almonds sank into the cake ever time. I tried again today, following a method similar to making Toscakaka and allowed the cake to cook without the almond mix for about 12 minutes before adding it. I also then heated up the almond mix right before spreading it over the cake. This seemed to work well. Additionally, I opted to bake in a springform pan to make it easier to get out. Taking this to a thanksgiving dinner tonight, so hopefully it will be a hit!

  401. Lorna Hamblin

    I did a test run on this recipe, followed the directions exactly, and got a result that looked exactly like your picture. We are going to a German dinner at Christmas and have been assigned to bring dessert, but we had never tasted this cake before. Well, we were salivating like Pavlov’s dog all the while it was in preparation, and it turned out gorgeous and we couldn’t wait to devour it like the vultures we are…. but oh my goodness were we disappointed. The yeast flavor is overpowering! I checked the recipe to be sure I put in the right amount of yeast, and I did. We could not manage to gag it down and ended up tossing 3/4 of the cake into the garbage can. So be warned non-Germanic friends, this “cake” might not be what you are expecting!

  402. louisa84

    I am so thrilled to find this recipe! I ate a piece of this cake on my last day in Berlin recently. I was so sad i hadnt eaten it on my first… it’s everything I love in a pastry- crunch, yeast, sweet, a bit of salt… amazing. Can’t wait to make this!

  403. Patricia Fogelman

    Hi Deb,
    My pastry cream kinda looks like cottage cheese but it tastes yummy… where did I go wrong? Is it still ok to blend out in to whipped cream to use as filling ? Cake tastes yummy & the almond topping is divine. I did bake it in a springform pan because i didn’t have a cake pan available….seems okay (so far?!)

    Thanks in advance,

  404. Some people mentioned concerns with the pastry cream being too thick – I used cornstarch as Deb suggested, and did indeed find that the pastry cream went from runny to solid VERY quickly. I took it off the heat at once and cooled it in the fridge. It become quite stiff – stiff enough to cut with a knife – but once the cake had cooled I cut and spread it kind of like a firm jam. I found that after it had sat for a couple hours and come completely to room temp, it was perfectly wonderful and no one was the wiser. In fact, the cake garnered admiring gasps and there was nary a crumb to be found when we were finished! So, anyone with concerns, don’t be worried!

  405. I made this recently for our coffee cake, and it’s far too good for something so easy to make. (I skipped the pastry cream, though I am a custard fanatic – I thought it might be overboard for a weekday sort of cake.)

    I loved the base. It was so very tender and soft. We’ll be making it again, for sure.

  406. I made this cake a few months ago and fell in love! Now, I am thinking of trying cupcakes for V day. Has anyone done this or do you have suggestions for changes since it’s a yeast dough?
    Love this recipe and your site!

  407. Valerie

    Made this cake yesterday for my daughter’s birthday. It was fabulous. We’ll be having this again, for many more occasions. I did double the cream, because we love that part. Yum!

  408. I’ve been wanting to make this cake ever since seeing the original post 4 years ago and finally did! I did not have a problem with the almond topping sinking, but the top of my cake collapsed while it was baking and left a crater in the middle. Is this something that commonly happens with yeasted cakes?

    Otherwise it tasted delicious-reminded me of the Mardi Gras King Cakes that are popular here on the Gulf Coast!

  409. Donna

    I truly love you, Deb.
    My husband and I, when first dating, enjoyed bee cake at a diner in New York we frequented – never to be found anywhere again. That was 1981. Yes, I am that old!
    Like you, we purchased awful knockoffs that bakeries and diners made throughout the years. Stale, dry cake, or bad nasty pudding in the center.
    We were so sad.
    But, now, you have come to the rescue! And since I use many of your recipes regularly, I trust that it will be a perfect Beecake. When I told my husband I found a Beecake recipe, he imeediately asked me, “Was it from the smitten girl? If it was it should be good.”
    So there you have it. He truly loves you, too!

  410. Claire

    Wow! I haven’t had this cake in 40 years but you can bet I will keep this wonderful recipe for the next special occasion! Thanks so much for posting.❤️

  411. April

    I have dreamed of bienenstich for 20+ years after having a slice from a German bakery. My bday is coming up and I may make it for myself. Thank you.

  412. Cailin

    Really late to comment on this, but thanks for the recipe! I’ve been looking for one for a while!
    I used to work as a cake decorator. I used to fill and decorate the bee sting cakes at work after the baker baked the yeast cake.
    I’m sure it’s not traditional, but to keep the pastry cream in we’d pipe a tall layer of whipped cream around the sides with a large rosette of whipped cream in the middle with the pastry cream in between. That way you could reach towering heights with no spillage.

    Now to figure out how to make this vegan for my husband….

    1. Taryn

      I made this vegan (includes the honey) and it was a huge hit (including non-vegans). I substituted the eggs in the cake with Bob’s Red Mill egg substitute and used non-dairy milk in place of the heavy cream for the coating. I used this recipe for the pastry cream

      Excellent recipe (even veganized) :-) Will definitely make this again!

  413. Sue Crawbuck

    Deb, help! This cake was sooooo delicious but like others, it sank while baking. It was also very difficult to get out of the pan despite the fact that I buttered it. I made it the night before and brought it to room temperature but it sat out for 1 1/2 hours. I thought that maybe I let it rise too much? Should I have deflated it a bit? Were my almonds too warm? HELP!! I definitely want to make this again but also want to correct my mistakes.

  414. escalatedguild

    I made this for Passover, and in accordance with the rules, I didn’t use wheat flour, I used almond flour! And oh dear sweet gods…

    I added a bit more egg white, a dash of baking powder. It didn’t rise it at all (or very little) during the two rises. It was so moist and like all the others, the topping fell through. Because it was so moist, I couldn’t half it, so I just served the custard on the side. I’ve never heard so many praises in my life. Simply amazing. Not too sweet and yet still so delectable.

    So my question to you would be, if you could switch in almond flour instead of AP, how would you modify the recipe?

  415. I am a long term resident of Germany and am familiar with this cake. It’s one of the most typically sold in bakery shops. The kind I find here though is made with bread like dough and a lot firmer and drier in texture than in your recipe. Wanting to bring more moist and fluffier result, I tried your recipe this afternoon. Unfortunately mine didn’t turn out to be like yours in the photos. The fluid batter rose so high up that overflowed over the baking form while the almond topping sank to the bottom. It was a total disaster. What did I do wrong…?

  416. I adore your blog and have tried and loved many recipes. This one looked amazing and I had to try it. Sadly, it is still in the oven after 40 minutes as it is just not baked through. Most of my almonds have sunk into the cake. I did the overnight approach so I wonder if it just spent too much time rising? I’m hoping it can be salvaged and still be edible as I’ve already made the filling. Either way, the filling is delicious on it’s own so it won’t be wasted. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes and inspiration.

  417. Jen

    Made this for Easter today. Everyone loved it, though not as pretty as your pic due to sinking topping. Wish I read comments first. Also my custard was quite small and firm, so I beat in some whipped cream to salvage. I will try it again as I am so happy with the combo of flavors. Thanks!

  418. Heather L

    This cake was excellent! I was nervous about the topping falling into the cake after reading many of the comments, so I pro-actively spread the almond topping in a rough shape of the cake (I traced parchment) and carefully flipped it onto the cake batter and it worked out perfectly. Tasted amazing! Received many compliments. The only thing I would do differently is cook the pastry cream a bit more…I used cornstarch and when it started to thicken suddenly while cooking, I was afraid it would cook too thick to spread so took it off the heat a bit early…but it ended up a little softer than ideal and the cake slid a bit while cutting. Will make again for sure!

  419. Joan

    Tried this today, followed the steps and the ingredients exactly. The topping baked into the cake! It looks delicious but not as pictured, at least the top. Just reviewed all the ingredients again. I’m not sure I’ll be able to slice it in half to do the filling. I might serve it on the side.

    Thanks for this idea, also a birthday cake.

  420. Linda Fleming

    I see the recipe for Pastry Cream calls for either 3 Tablespoons flour or cornstarch. Would I use 3 Tablespoons cornstarch? Or something less?

    Thank you!


  421. Jesse

    Oh boy. Made the overnight recipe. Let the cake come to room temp. Baked as directed. Topping sank into the cake. Booooo!!!

  422. MaggieToo

    ATTENTION: Anybody who’s considering making this cake but is frightened by the reports of topping sinking into the cake layer.

    *Please read* ANNEPEALE’s comment under the “I Made This” tab. She came up with a perfect solution that has worked 100% for me both times I’ve made this beautiful and delicious cake.

  423. Maggie L

    I just made this cake and it was amazing! I did a couple of things differently. I baked the cake for 15 mins and then put on the topic. This prevented sinking. I ten cooked it for something like 8-10 mins more. I also didn’t add butter into the pastry cream. Mine came out a bit lumpy so I strained it and, following that, it was perfect. Finally I served it with some fresh strawberries and it worked really well to cut the sweetness.

  424. Oh boy, I sure do wish I had read the other comments about overnight proofing. It actually seemed perfectly fine when I pulled it out of the fridge but I think letting it come to room temp was my problem…as it sat out on the counter it KEPT. RISING. So I started googling furiously to figure out what temperature it really needed to get to before I could bake it.

    Anyway, I had the issue it seems several others had with the topping sinking into the rest of the cake. It smells nice but it looks a total mess, haha. Good thing its just for a small family thing and not a big event, haha :) Will def try it again some time that I can do all the steps in one day (:

  425. J.

    I hadn’t eaten this type of cake since childhood ! I made it and it was excellent. I only missed the line saying that the almond top should be done during the second rise, so I put the batter in the fridge while making the almond crunch -which I left shortly cooling on a Silpat. I put then everything in the oven, but the surface didn’t really even in the oven -I only left the cake a few minutes at room temperature after I took it from the fridge. So when I had to slice it in order to put the pastry cream filling, there was a hole -but I hid it with almonds ;) Great recipe.

  426. Cara

    So I made this over the weekend and unfortunately during the baking most of the almond topping got swallowed up by the cake. I’m not sure why, but I think I might have let one of the rises go 15-20 minutes too long. The resulting cake was fully cooked through but basically fell apart when it came out of the pan. So don’t let the batter over-rise! It was totally salvaged though by lightening the pastry cream with whipped cream and then layering the pieces with that and fresh strawberries into a trifle that my husband said was the best dessert I ever made. Seriously, that is some delicious cake and will definitely be happening again!

  427. Heather

    My cake turned out beautifully but my custard was really thick – it got clumpy and then thick fast. Did I make a rookie mistake with the heating?

    I’m a big long time fan but rare commenter – really excited to get your new cookbook and hope you plan a stop in Toronto!

  428. Ha, so I know this post is ancient in Internet terms… but I moved to Germany about a year ago and have discovered this cake at the local bakery chain. Oh god, it is so good. The one they serve is 70% pastry cream to 30% cake, and considering it’s averaging 30-35ºC most days, I’m really fine with that.

  429. AJ

    Just made this. After reading the comments here, I baked the cake completely before spreading the topping on it and returning it to the oven to broil for a few minutes. It worked perfectly.

    1. Linda Fleming

      I will try broiling the next time I make this. I may also triple the pastry cream (we are cream lovers in our family). Thanks for the suggestion

      1. MaggieToo

        Yes! At LEAST double, and tripling wouldn’t hurt. And you don’t need to actually broil, just spread the topping on when it’s about half or 3/4 baked. That worked perfectly for me, three times now.

        I really wish Deb would revisit this recipe, to fix the topping issue. It’s turned out to be my favorite Smitten Kitchen baked good, and I’ve cooked a LOT of Smitten recipes.

  430. Rebecca

    Great recipe!! Just found it today and the cake turned out perfect!! My pastry cream was a bit too thick but I remedied that with a bit of cream and a blob of blueberry jam. Thanks again!!!

  431. Jennifer

    It’s a cool, damp Labor Day weekend, and I just made this for my German-American boyfriend’s birthday. Followed the recipe to the letter, and it came out wonderfully. Love the buttery honey-almond crunch and the wonderful custard. He’s happy, and so am I. Thank you.

  432. Danielle

    I made this last night/ this morning and had a ton of problems. I took the suggestion to do the last proof overnight in the fridge, and it overproofed a ton, spilling out of the pan. Then, without knowing the temperature the sugar mixture was aiming for, I think I maybe undercooked it? Though I kept it boiling for 5 minutes before adding the almonds, so I’m not sure. I cooled the almonds pretty well, but they still sunk into the batter almost immediately I scooped them on. The resulting cake is yummy, but the ugliest thing in the world, and there’s no chance of slicing it in half to put in the pastry cream – it’s just too soft, and all of the almonds are in the middle of it instead of on top, so it breaks very easily.

    I’ve been baking for a long time and I don’t have fails like this that often at all, so I just wanted to mention it for anyone else considering this recipe. It’s probably a good recipe that just needs more information regarding cooking temperature of the sugar syrup, and how cool exactly it should be before going on top of the batter (or maybe there’s another way to get the topping on top?) And definitely don’t prove it overnight in the fridge.

    1. Linda Fleming

      Read through all the comments. People have tried all kinds of ways to keep nuts from sinking. I have made this recipe 3 times. I am getting close. I did as others did and baked the cake half way and then out the nuts on. But, I did overcook my sugar and the nut mixture came out hard as a rock. I think the 4th time I make this will be a winner. 😜

  433. Tbone

    I made this last night using the tips recommended in the comments. I added 1/4 cup extra flour in the batter, and spread the almond caramel on a parchment round. I used a buttered springform pan that worked really well for removal. The pastry cream is really thick (I added 2 1/2 TBS cornstarch) but after it cools, just give it a good whisk before spreading. I added 2 teaspoons of honey to the pastry cream in the final whipping — it pulled everything together. My cake looked near identical to Deb’s and was incredible — one the of tastiest cakes I’ve ever had.

    1. MaggieToo

      Finally, someone reads the comments before complaining about their failed cake!

      It’s fantastic when done right, isn’t it?

      Deb really needs to revisit this recipe when her life calms down a bit. It has more failure complaints than anything else here, and it really doesn’t deserve it.