Bee sting cake « Bienenstich » – Christophe Felder


Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves: Serves 6 - 8 - 18 cm pastry ring.

« Bienenstich » is the German word for bee sting. There are several stories about how this honey-almond cake was named. The story that comes up most often, is the baker who created the cake was stung by the bee which was attracted to the sweet honey topping.

This popular, classic German dessert, reminds me « The Tropezienne ». It has also two layers of brioche, a vanilla cream filling, but the difference is the Bienenstich is topped with a buttery honey almond topping. It’s crunchy, gooey and has an amazing caramelisation once baked. In fact the topping is what makes this cake so delicious and takes it to the next level. 

The Bee sting cake looks complicated and impressive, but it’s actually very easy to make. You can make the brioche dough and the pastry cream a day before. If you like you can add a whipped cream to it and make what we call « diplomate cream ». Or you can light your pastry cream with a meringue, that what the chef did. But I actually wasn’t confortable to eat a raw white egg, so I went for a diplomate cream instead. It also tastes good without the filling, as a quick alternative if you don’t have time to make the vanilla cream. The topping and the baking should be the same day. Therefore allow enough time in the day to complete the rising step, count 2 hours to let the dough rise at room temperature before baking it.

Enjoy the cake the day you make it. It will keep very well in fridge for a couple of days. But like any brioche it’s much better eaten the day you bake it. 

Today, I share with you chef Christophe Felder recipe, it comes from his book « Gâteaux ». Let me know if you make it.

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Bee sting cake « Bienenstich » - Christophe Felder

  • Prep time: 45 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Serves: Serves 6 - 8 - 18 cm pastry ring.

Ingredients :

Brioche dough :

  • 250 g all-purpose flour, plus. Extra for the work surface
  • 15 g fresh yeast, or 5g instant yeast
  • 25 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g unsalted butter , softened and diced

Diplomate cream :

  • 330 g milk, full fat
  • 60 g caster sugar
  • 30 g cornstarch
  • 1,5 gelatin leaves, or 3g gelatin powder
  • 22 g unsalted butter , cold
  • 2 vanilla pods
  • 60 g egg yolks, ( 3 eggs)
  • 112 g Whipping cream

Almond - Honey topping :

  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 50 g multi-floral honey
  • 1/2 orange , (organic finely grated)
  • 45 g unsalted butter
  • 50 g sliced almonds

Method :

Make the brioche :

  • 1)

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook, pour the flour, place the yeast on one side and the sugar and the salt on the other side of the bowl. Start kneading at low speed as you add the egg yolks one by one.


  • 2)

    Increase the speed to medium high, gradually add the diced butter and knead for a further 10 – 15 minutes,  until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.



  • 3)

    Cover the dough with a cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours (overnight for me ).



    After one night in the fridge.


  • 4)

    Dust the work surface with flour, roll the dough to a 18cm disk and 1,5 cm thick.



    Put a pastry ring it will help to keep its shape during baking time. Cover with cling film and return to the refrigerator while you proceed with the recipe.


Diplomate cream :

  • 1)

    First make the pastry cream :

    Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for 20 minutes. If you are using the gelatin powder (3g) add 5 times its weigh water (15g) and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before using it.

    In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk and the vanilla pods and seeds to a boil. Cover and let infuse for 20 minutes.

    In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and the cornstarch. Add the 1/3 of hot vanilla – milk to the egg mixture. Gradually pour in the remaining milk, whisking to combine. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming and the cream from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan, until it comes to simmer, continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the gelatin (if using the gelatin leaves squeeze them to remove any water before using them.) and whisk until the gelatin is completely dissolved, then add the butter and stir to make sure that the butter is completely incorporated.

    Transfer to a bowl and cover with a cling film, you want the plastic wrap to touch the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Then set aside in the refrigerator until cooled. You can actually make the pastry cream a day before.



  • 2)

    Make the diplomate cream :

    Whip the pastry cream for 5 minutes until very smooth, it will help to add the whipped cream easily without any lumps.



    In a bowl on medium speed, whip the cold heavy cream to medium peaks (if possible, the bowl should be cold as well).



    Then gently add the whipped cream to the pastry cream using a spatula (1/3 with a whisk and 2/3 gently with a spatula). Put the diplomate cream in a pastry bag and place in the refrigerator until needed.


Make the almond - honey topping :

  • 1)

    Place a sheet of parchment paper on the work surface.

    In a small or medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the honey and sugar. Stir the orange zest.



    Then stir in the butter and bring to a boil and cook for 1 minutes, before adding the almonds and mix very well to coat them.





    Pour the almond – honey mixture over the parchment paper.



    With a rolling pin, roll it to a thickness of 3 mm, using a pastry ring 17 or 18 cm make a cercle and take the leftovers ( actually you’ll not have any leftovers), place the cercle in the freezer for 30 minutes. ( make sure that you have a nice circle which has the same size as your brioche before placing it in the freezer ).



To assemble :

  • 1)

    Place the firm almond – honey topping over the brioche dough.



    Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 1h30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 200C ( I did 180C but after 8 minutes I had to cover my brioche because the topping started to color, but the dough wasn’t  yet baked. So I lowered the oven temperature to 165C and baked the brioche longer while covering the top with baking paper and then aluminum foil. I advise you to bake your brioche at 165C.

    Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the base and the sides are golden ( you may think it’s over baked because it will be little brown but this is because of the caramelization of the sugar and the honey from the almond topping).

    There is a beautiful sticky caramelization on top and all around the cake, so allow the brioche to cool 10 minutes on a rack, then cut it in half horizontally, spread 1 cm layer of diplomate cream, place the upper half of the brioche , pressing lightly so that it holds together. Place it in the refrigerator so the cream will firm a little before serving it. ( taste it at room temperature is better i think).

    Enjoy !!




Tips & Tricks :

check HERE To get all tricks and tips you need to make your brioche dough.


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