Bienenstich Kuchen (German Bee Sting Cake) | We Knead To Bake

This month marks 12 months of baking breads together in the We Knead To Bake Group and given that’s it’s also a season when there’s a lot of festive baking done in parts of the country and the world, Aparna, the founder of this Baking group, thought we could also bake something special this month.

The choice for this month is the Bienenstich Kuchen or what’s also known as the German Bee Sting Cake! Bienenstich is not really a bread but a traditional German sweet yeasted cake that has a baked on topping of crunchy almond toffee-like layer and filled with a vanilla pastry cream.

Bienenstich is traditionally eaten as dessert and also served with tea or coffee,
Bienenstich means “bee sting” in German and probably got its name from the honey flavoured topping that it typical of this yeasted cake. There are however some interesting stories connected to it. One story is that the German baker who was creating this recipe came across a bee (possibly attracted by the honey) and was stung by it and decided to name the cake after the incident!

Another story is that a group of German bakers stopped invaders from entering a neighbouring village, sometime in the 15th century,  by throwing beehives at them. IN order to celebrate their victory, they created the original version of the Bienenstich.

The Bienenstich is made with enriched brioche-like dough that’s typical for yeasted cakes which means that it contains a lot of butter, some milk and eggs.I have left out the egg and added 1/4 cup of milk to knead the dough.

You may also like to use buttercream, Bavarian Cream or Diplomat Cream for the filling. The cake is a bit heavy so the filling should not be runny or too soft or it will not be able to carry the weight of the upper cake layer. You can also add fruit (strawberry, kiwi, mango, etc) to your “cream” layer even though this is not traditional.

One of the problems of this yeasted cake is making sure the filling is strong enough to take the weight of the upper layer. The other problem is cutting the Bienenstich into slices or squares without the filling squishing out ad making a mess of everything.

The first problem can be taken care of by using a filling that will hold up and not using too much filling. The whipped cream can be stabilized with cornstarch (or agar or gelatin if you use it). You can always thing the remaining fillng and serve it with the Bienestich as a sauce.
The second problem can be taken care of by placing the lower layer of the cake on the serving plate and then making e a collar around it with a double layer of parchment paper that should be a little taller than the height of your finished Bienenstich.  Now spread the filling over the lower layer evenly.

Then pre-cut your upper almond toffee layer into slices or squares depending on the shape of your Bienenstich. Now place the slices/ squares on top of the filling so it looks like the top layer is whole. Refrigerate this for at least a couple of hours before serving. When ready to serve, remove the parchment collar, and use the slices/ squares as a guide and cut through the filling right to the bottom.

Bienenstich Kuchen (German Bee Sting Cake)

Recipe Source : My Diverse Kitchen


For the Pastry Cream Filling:

250ml milk 
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp vanilla flavoured custard powder
200ml cream 
1 tbsp corn-starch

For the Dough:

1/2 cup milk 
100gm butter, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast

For the Honey-Almond Topping:

50 gm butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup almonds

Make the custard for the filling first

This can be made the previous day and refrigerated till required.
Keep aside 1/4 cup of milk, and put the remaining milk and the sugar in pan. Over medium heat, bring this to a boil while stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. In the meanwhile, dissolve the custard powder in the 1/4 cup of milk. Add this in a stream, to the boiling milk and keep whisking so that no lumps are formed.

Keep whisking until the custard becomes very thick. Take the pan off the heat and let the custard cool to room temperature. Whisk it on and off so it stays smooth. If it does become lumpy after cooling, use a hand blender to make it smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.

Once you are ready to fill the Bienenstich, whip 200ml of cream till soft peaks form. Then add the corn-starch and whip till it forms stiff peaks. Whisk the custard to make sure it is smooth. Gently fold the cream into the custard. If you feel it is too soft, refrigerate for a couple of hours and then use.

For the Dough...

Heat the 1/4 cup of milk until it is quite hot but not boiling. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the milk, stirring it until the better melts completely. Let it cool a little.

In the meanwhile, put the flour, sugar, salt and the yeast in the bowl of your processor. Run a couple of times to mix well.

Now add the butter-milk mixture (it should be warm, not hot) and the then knead till it forms a smooth and soft (loose) brioche-like dough that’s just short of sticky.Add the other 1/4 cup and knead well. It should come way from the sides of the bowl and be easy to handle. 

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl. Cover loosely and let it rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. This dough will rise quite well but not to double or as much as the regular bread dough.

Prepare the topping while the dough rises

Bake at 180C (350F) for about 25 to 35 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbling. A cake tester through the centre should come out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Then gently loosen the sides with a spatula and unmould. Let it cool completely on a rack.

When it has cooled completely, slice the cake into two equal layers carefully, using a very sharp knife. 

Cut the almond toffee layers into slices.Spread the pastry cream on the lower layer and top with the pre-cut upper layer. 

Refrigerate till ready to serve.

But whatever went wrong, it sure did not affect the taste of this lovely cake / bread.

Here are the other bakes that are a part of this Bake- A - Thon group....

Bon Appetit...

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