Bee Sting Cake by A Feast for the Eyes

One of the best parts of being a food blogger (besides all of the food) is the relationships we make with other food bloggers.  Sometimes they’re just virtual, some include phone calls, hangouts, or skype, but every now and then we get to meet in person.   And those are special moments, at least for me they are.

Most of the time it’s like meeting an old friend, getting that face to face time that will tide us over until we get to meet again.   That’s what keeps me blogging.  Without that interaction between us, that bond that we’ve built over a common interest, I don’t think I’d have that drive that every food blogger needs to keep it fresh and interesting.

So my friends I thank you for being there, for your constant support, your friendship and for sharing your lives with us.

And as for my readers, some of you I do know through emails, but there are so many more that I do not.   From the bottom of my heart I thank you, for your time, and your interest in my what I have to say.   You could read anyone you choose in this huge community of very talented food bloggers, but you’ve chosen me.  And for that I am eternally grateful, for without you my written word would not be heard.

And that brings us to why we’re here today, It’s Guest Post Friday!!  Woo hoo!

And today my friends, speaking of friends that I have met in person, my guest today was one of the first food bloggers I actually got meet on my first trip to San Francisco for the Foodbuzz Festival (may they rest in peace).   I remember how exciting that  first festival was, meeting people and actually being recognized…sigh  What a great trip!   And on that first trip I got to meet Debby aka The Foodie Wife from A Feast for the Eyes.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Debby at A Feast for the Eyes hold on to your hats and buckle yourself in , because you’re going to get blown away with today’s creation!    Remember the saying I just quoted last post?  We eat with our eyes?   Well Debby’s blog couldn’t be more aptly named, because she shares one amazing  creation after another , in drool worthy step by step images…..or as I like to call it prolonged torture….sigh    By the time you get to the end of the post you’ve drooled all over your keyboard…….it’s a wonderful thing!

So without further ado, I give you…….

A Feast for the Eyes 

I met Chef Dennis, in person, three years ago at the San Francisco Foodbuzz Festival.  I recognized him from his blog, which I had been following for some time.   I enjoyed chatting with him, and I can tell that he’s very dedicated to teaching cooking, because he spoke about it with such passion.

Hi, Chef Dennis and his Wonderful Readers! I’m Debby, of A Feast for the Eyes.   At first, I couldn’t decide what recipe to make—sweet or savory?  A friend of mine suggested that I go with what my German roots (my other half is Mexican). I pondered about what to make,  and  finally settled on making a traditional cake called “Bienenstich” or “Bee Sting Cake”.   My father was military, and my mother was born and raised in Bavaria.  They married and we lived in Hawaii and California. As a kid, our family was stationed in Germany for a few years. The bonus was that we were able to visit my “Oma” often, while we were there.

I remember this cake, fondly, because of the sticky and sweet  honey almonds and the creamy filling. My “Oma” would buy one of these cakes, at the local bakery and serve thick slices with coffee. There are many versions as to how the cake got it’s name— According to Wikipedia: “the cake may have earned its name from its honey topping: according to one legend, a bee was attracted to it, and the baker who invented the cake was stung.  Another source cites a legend of German bakers from the 15th century who lobbed beehives at raiders from a neighboring village, successfully repelling them, and celebrated later by baking a version of this cake named after their efforts.”

The cake isn’t quite like an American cake. It’s more of a pastry texture and it is filled with a pastry cream, and topped with honey glazed almonds.    This was my first attempt at making this cake. I made the pastry cream, the night before.  You could take some shortcuts by using vanilla pudding, or Bird’s Eye Custard Powder, and I wouldn’t tell anyone.  However, pastry cream really isn’t that hard to make, from scratch.  I used an easy recipe from “Joy of Baking”.

You’ll want to organize and measure your ingredients, milk (whole or 2%), vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extra or ½ vanilla bean), egg yolks, white sugar, flour and cornstarch.  This is optional, but you can add either Grand Marnier (which I did), Kirsch or even Amaretto.

In a saucepan bring the milk just to boiling (just until milk starts to foam up.) Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture (tempering), whisking constantly to prevent curdling.  Then pour the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 – 60 seconds until it becomes thick. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the liqueur (if using). Stir in vanilla bean extract, or extract) Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature. If not using right away refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days. Whisk or stir before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.

The brioche dough isn’t too complicated to make.  If you have a stand mixer, it’s really easy to do. You   can mix this, by hand, because the dough is much thinner than making a bread dough.  I warmed whole milk (110 F) and some honey and added Active Dry Yeast to it.  10 minutes later, the mixture was foamy and ready to make dough. To the yeast mixture, 2 (room temperature eggs) are added, sugar, a little salt, a mixture of all-purpose flour and bread flour and then 1 stick of softened butter, until just blended. It will be very soft.  Place the dough into a buttered bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to double in volume (about 2 hours).  Gently press the dough down, and knead a few times (you’ll want to flour your hands). Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 12.   (I made this a day ahead of time, too).

The next morning, I removed the dough, and placed it into a 9” buttered springform pan.  Shape into a ball, and gently, press the dough to fit the pan.  Cover and allow it to puff up—about an hour. NOTE: I turn my oven on WARM for 2-3 minutes, then turn it off and place the covered dough into it.  (This gives the dough a warm environment and helps to speed up the process.)  Preheat the oven to 350, when the dough has risen.

For the Honey-Almond Topping:  Combine ¼ cup, each, unsalted butter, sugar, honey and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a gentle boil, on the stovetop,  and remove from heat.  Add ¾ cup sliced almonds and pour over the dough.


Place the pan on a parchment covered baking sheet (the honey mixture will seep through the bottom) and bake for 22-25 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Place on a cooling rack and remove from the pan after 10 minutes.


The aroma of the cake is intoxicating—butter and honey…wow!   There is a beautiful sticky caramelization on top and all around the cake. You’ll be tempted to cut into  it, but let the cake cool, completely.

Carefully slice the cake in half, with a serrated knife,  and add the pastry cream. Now, brew a fresh pot of dark roast coffee or make a pot of tea.


Slice with a sharp knife and serve.


A flood of childhood memories, in Bavaria, has just come back.  This looks like as I remembered.

TASTING NOTES: The cake is not very sweet. It has the texture of pastry, and the pastry cream is mildly sweet.  The honey almonds…oh, that is really what makes this cake so special!  It’s sticky and honey sweet, with just the right amount of richness of butter—I could eat a bowl of the almond topping all by itself.   I wish my Oma was still alive, so she could see what her Granddaughter learned to make, in the United States.   An unorthodox variation I will make the next time, is to add a layer of either apricot or raspberry jam, before adding the pastry cream.

This would be perfect to serve for Brunch, and I’ll be making this for Christmas morning.

Thanks, so much, Chef Dennis for inviting me to be a guest on your blog—and thank you for all the help you’ve given me in learning my way around Google +!

5.0 from 13 reviews
Bee Sting Cake (Bienenstich)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Serves: 12
Pastry Cream
  • 1¼ cups milk (whole or 2%)
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup ( granulated white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (corn flour)
  • ½ tablespoon liqueur (Grand Marnier, Brandy, Kirsch or Amaretto) (optional)
Brioche dough:
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons bread flour, divided
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
Honey-Almond Topping:
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup sliced almonds
Pastry Cream:
  1. In a medium-sized heatproof bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together. (Don’t let the mixture sit too long or you will get pieces of egg forming.) Sift the flour and cornstarch (corn flour) together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the milk and vanilla bean just to boiling (just until milk starts to foam up.)
  3. Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. (If you get a few pieces of egg (curdling) in the mixture, pour through a strainer.)
  4. Remove vanilla bean, scrape out seeds, and add the seeds to the egg mixture. (The vanilla bean can be washed and dried and placed in your sugar bowl to give the sugar a vanilla flavor.)
  5. Then pour the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 – 60 seconds until it becomes thick.
  6. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the liqueur (if using). (Stir in vanilla extract if using instead of a vanilla bean.) Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature. If not using right away refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days. Whisk or stir before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.
  7. Makes about 1 cup
Brioche dough:
  1. In a small saucepan (or a small cup if you want to use the microwave), combine milk and 1 tablespoon honey and heat until it registers between 110 degrees F to 115 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Pour the mixture into bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle over yeast. Let mixture stand for 10 minutes, until yeast is creamy/foamy.
  2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand and attach paddle (or hook) attachment. While mixing at low speed, gradually add eggs, all-purpose flour, sugar, and salt, and mix until blended.
  3. Gradually add all but 2 tablespoons of bread flour. Mix at medium speed until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Dough should not stick to sides of bowl; if it does, add some of all of remaining 2 tablespoons of bread flour until dough cleans sides of bowl.
  4. Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing at medium speed until it is blended into dough. (Dough will be very soft.) Transfer dough to a work surface and knead by hand a few times to ensure that butter is completely incorporated into dough. Shape dough into a ball and transfer it to a medium buttered bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 1½ to 2 hours, until it has doubled in volume.
  5. Punch dough down to deflate it, and knead it a few times. Return dough to bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or up to 12 hours). Dough should have doubled in volume. If it hasn't, let it stand at room temperature until it has. (NOTE: I made the dough the night before.)
  6. Butter bottom and sides of a 9” spring-form pan. Shape dough into a ball and arrange it, smooth side up, in center of pan. Flatten ball gently with your palm until it covers bottom of pan. Cover pan and let dough rise until it is puffed, about 1 hour.
Honey-Almond Topping:
  1. Combine the butter, sugar, honey, and salt, and bring to a gentle boil on the stovetop.
  2. Remove from the heat, and stir in the almonds. Evenly pour over the dough and place the pan on a parchment (or foil) covered baking sheet.
  3. Position a rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F about 22-25 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.
  4. Place on a cooling rack, and allow to cool four 10 minutes. Remove from the Springform Pan and allow to cool completely.
  1. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake in half. I place the cake on a rotating cake stand, and being by rotating the cake and creating a cut line midway through the cake. Continue rotating, allowing the knife to cut deeper until the cake is completely sliced in half.
  2. Spread the pastry cream, leaving a narrow edge. Gently replace the top layer of the cake. Serve with coffee or tea.
NOTE: I make the pastry cream and prepare the dough a day of ahead of time.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you, just get your keyboard cleaned up the best you can…lol.   But before you forget head on over to A Feast for the Eyes and say hi to Debby, just don’t forget to tell her Chef Dennis sent you!
Have a great weekend my friends, and get out your winter gear, I think we’re going to need it sooner than we thought!


  1. As always, another great guest post by a “new to me” blogger.

  2. Thank you, Chef Dennis, for the honor of calling you my Blogger Friend. I love your blog, and I am thrilled to be a guest in your own kitchen!

    • Estie Oliver says:

      Wow, did the real ‘Foodiewife’ write that comment?! How wonderful! I always thought those who cook this beautifully wouldn’t bother with the rest of us! Thanks! Haven’t rated this yet as I’ll make it on the weekend, but think I’ll have to do this instead of the apple cake I had in mind.

  3. Taking On Magazines says:

    Oh my goodness. You see, this is why I don’t like chocolate; there are so many more amazing sweet treat combinations to explore. I could just dive into this cake, it looks so amazing. I agree without even tasting it that the honey-almond topping takes it over the top. It looks fantastic.

  4. what a fabulous cake! i think i ate something like this in france, though not so lovely and layered. that honey topping is to die for!

  5. Put the dark roast on Deb, I’m coming over! So true, all Deb’s recipes are drool worthy!

  6. I love the name of this cake! And it looks just wonderful!

  7. This is a must try cake, I love the honey and butter combination, The images are so tempting I might actually bake this cake today.
    Thanks for this beautiful guest post.

  8. Oh this looks delicious! I think it will be a perfect item for my Christmas brunch!

  9. Wow that looks phenomenal!

  10. Susie Ladra says:

    With those fabulous pictures, anyone could follow this step-by-step recipe no matter the prior cooking history — and be totally encouraged along the way that this masterpiece could actually end up in their personal kitchen!

  11. Beautiful cake and I love the name! I think I’m going to make this for Christmas when my husband and I visit his German mother. Please tell me it has friendly visit vibes in it! I wonder if she’ll have strong memories of this and I’m betting she will since her father was a total cake lover. Thanks!

  12. This cake looks amazing! Debby–It was such a pleasure meeting you at FoodBuzz this year. Even though FoodBuzz didn’t provide speakers/panels/workshops or stuff like that, it was still fun to break bread and party with other bloggers. Beth was right though–we had the best table at the cocktail party!

  13. Ooooh this cake looks TO DIE FOR! I love a Feast for Eyes 🙂

  14. Wow Deb, great post, pics and recipe! Having German roots, I have a few favorite baked items from the old world I like to make. My mom is coming for the holidays and I’m definitely making this! Always fun to discover new bloggers, look forward to following you!

    • Hi Lynn! Thanks for your email! I’d love to know what German recipes you have to share. My mother didn’t keep a recipe card, so I am trying to recreate her recipes from my childhood memory– which is getting a little fuzzier, each year! LOL

  15. I am in the process of making this cake which looks amazing, but I have a question about the cake part, it says 1/3 c. honey plus 1 T. I see where you mix the 1 T. honey with the milk, but did not see anything about the remaining 1/3. Since I had already started, I ended up just adding the 1/3 c. honey to my batter along with the eggs, etc. My dough did not form a ball at all and remained slightly sticky which I suppose is from me adding the honey. I added more flour a little at a time but it didn’t seem to make a difference. Since I’ve already started I’m going to carry on and hope for the best, but could you please advise me here should I decide to try this again.

    • Oh, dear! I’m so sorry you had trouble with the recipe, and so I re-read the directions– hoping I hadn’t let out an important step. I used 1 tsp of the honey, with the milk, as my insurance that the yeast was good. The remaining honey is melted with the butter, on the stovetop. Off heat, the almonds are stirred in and the poured all over the dough. If you look at the step-by-step photos, it should make more sense. Just remember, the dough will be a bit sticky, as you are not adding a lot of bread. That’s why I suggest flouring your hands, while shaping the dough. I do hope that the cake turns out for you. Please, feel free to email me at if I can help you along the way.

      • I see the problem, and please accept my humble apologies. I will write to Chef Dennis to omit the 1/3 cup honey under the dough ingredients. I am so sorry… that was for the topping. Mea Culpa.

  16. itsmejanno says:

    Thanks for your quick response. It’s not a problem, mistakes happen. I’m gonna give this cake another go with the changes made. It looks too good to give up on!

  17. I agree with Chef Dennis… prolonged torture… of the best kind! (Anticipation is worth the wait.) Love that this isn’t very sweet, except for the honey almonds… and the beautiful memories you shared of your “Oma.” Thanks for a lovely guest post, Debby! And thanks, Dennis, for your sentiments on blogging friendships. 🙂

  18. This cake looks almost simple and there are so many things going on. The idea of brioche filled with pastry cream and that honey topping just blew my hat off! I think brioche is one of the best doughs ever invented. This cake is just amazing! A wonderful guest post both of you!

  19. what an awesome cake with great memories Dennis and Debby! Happy Thanksgiving to both of you! You’re both wonderful friends that I am thankful for!

    All the best,

  20. I had been drooling over this recipe for a few days until I finally found the time to make it, and it has got to be the most professional-looking thing I’ve made. I didn’t know how to make bread so I was really nervous it wouldn’t turn out fine, but it did and it was amazing. Thank you so much!

  21. Thank you so much for reviewing my recipe! I’m so glad that you liked it. It is easy to make, isn’t it?

  22. Fantastic! Almost gave up as my dough hardly rose. Granted I only gave it about 3 hours to do the job. Stuck in the oven anyway and it practically rose to a large rounded cake size. The combination was perfect. Used fynbos honey as am from South Africa. This honey is incredibly fragrant and spicy and people commented how interesting and delicious the honey was. Thanks for this recipe it’s a keeper x

  23. Melissa Ang says:

    Thank you very much for this recipe. This is my husbands most missed dessert from our time spent living in the southern region of Bavaria. Since leaving active duty service he’s been having a hard year getting settled into civilian life ; trying to find work, birth of twins , medical issues etc, and I would like to make this for him as a surprise for Christmas and hopefully bring a small smile to his face. Your recipe is the only one which looks and sounds exactly like the one we would get from our local bakery – I can’t wait to make it and taste it. Again thank you very much for your time and effort into putting this delicious recipe out there – so many people will fall in love with it if they just try it once!

  24. This cake is absolutely device! I’m an inexperienced baker, this was my first time using yeast to leaven anything. I have also never made a pastry cream before. I believe this cake took my German grandmother back to her childhood, when she worked in her father’s bakery. I made the brioche dough and pastry cream the day before. This is almost a requirement. However, the pastry cream became a gelatinous blob in the fridge overnight. Next time, I will probably omit the flour. To salvage my cream, I added about a tablespoon of honey, and a little bit of Maker’s Nark bourbon. I added very little bourbon to cut the sweetness, but not enough that it was obvious. Great recipe. I had to hide the last slice for Grandma to enjoy with her morning coffee. This is fancy and rich enough for a special occasion. It is definitely worth the time to prepare.

  25. When I was staying in Germany with my daughter, we saw this cake in the bakery display case. “Bitte, wie sagen Sie das?” Many questionable looks later, we had our piece – it was outstanding – so very German. Thanks for the recipe.

  26. Spent the last two days assiting my daughter in making this for a project in her German class. We had great time. I really enjoyed the results. Thanks

  27. I don’t like almonds at all…everyone else in my family does… so I’m thinking about making this with 1/2 of the topping with and 1/2 of the topping without almonds. …noticed I didn’t say just a little without almond..
    I have every intention of eating 1/2 of this cake. ..

  28. I come from a full blooded Italian family and growing up, the Bee Hive Cake was very popular at all the family doings (birthdays, anniversaries, and religious occasions). It’s also one of my mother’s favorite cakes. I came across this recipe and decided to make it for her 93rd birthday over the weekend. I always like to make extra so I used an 18″ spring form pan and doubled the dough and tripled the custard and topping. The outcome was fabulous – everyone loved it and it tasted exactly as I remember it as a child and I’m now 61 years old. Thank you for your recipe.

  29. Making this for my husband’s birthday tomorrow. It is his favorite cake. Thanks for laying out all the steps so nicely. This is one of the more difficult desserts I’ve attempted and I feel like I’ve been pretty successful thus far!

  30. I’ve been experimenting with a whole bunch of different brioche and beesting recipes over the last week or so, and I just found yours this morning. I made it today and both the dough and the whole cake have turned out the best of the lot! Thankyou so much for an excellent, easy to follow recipe! I’m selling the beesting in my cafe tomorrow- hopefully everyone enjoys this German treat. Cheers Deb.

  31. I made the custard and baked the cake in advance, let them cool overnight (custard in the fridge and cake on the counter) and assembled it the next morning. I followed the recipe exactly and the results were beautiful and delicious. Honey and butter are scrumptious separately, but together – wow!

    I do have one question: in the dough’s final stage of rising, how puffed should it be before you top it with the honey-almond mixture and bake? Double the volume? I used your trick of setting the dough in the pre-warmed the oven and let it rise for an hour and the pan nearly overflowed. Once I removed the saran wrap, however, the dough collapsed some.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  32. I can’t wait to try this! I want to make it for Thanksgiving so I should do a trial run before then. I hope I have the time. Either way, this will be coming out of my kitchen some time in the next 2 months for sure. I remember this cake fondly. When I was growing up it was always a special occasion when the Beehive cake showed up (of course mom always said it in German). It always came in squares from a professional bakery so I can”t wait to try a homemade version I’ll try to remember to come back to rate it..

  33. I have a Bee Sting recipe but always have trouble with the cake falling when I add the almond-honey mixture. What can I do to prevent this?

  34. My husband has been talking about Bienenstich for some time, but we can’t find it at a local deli. I made this recipe, and it tastes excellent. I just have one question: when I took my brioche out of the oven, it was amazing-looking. It was high, golden, and smelled fantastic. After it came out it fell a little, but nothing dramatic. After removing the spring pan sides (I left the base), it fell quite a bit more. I follwed the instructions faithfully, it was cooked completely, and the texture of the brioche is wonderful. Any suggestions? I was wondering if my gas oven is maybe off a bit. Could that be it?

  35. Hi! Is it ok to use all purpose flour instead of bread flour that it’s called for? I never buy bread flour and most of the time i only have all purpose flour on hand. Been wanting to try this after my husband and i had this cake at our friend’s dinner party. Thank u for this recipe!


  1. […] that good, I just had to see how amazing a homemade version could be and a quick Google led me to this post by Debby from A Feast for the Eyes and published on Ask Chef […]

  2. […] turning it into a gelatinous mass instead of an actual cream. For my second go I decided to use a slightly different recipe for the cream just in case it was the recipe and not my cooking skills that were amiss. I’ve […]

  3. […] was quite pleased with how all this came out (following the instructions here) , as I’ve never made brioche dough before, or custard. It was nice to take a break from […]

  4. […] local restaurant or grocery store. For something more authentically German, why not give baking a bienenstich (bee sting cake) a […]

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