Yield: 8″ bee sting cake // Total Time: 2 hr. 50 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.
Honey almond cake | Bee sting cake
Hello hello! I’m here with one of my absolute favorite things to bake. This honey almond cake is super simple to make, but gives the impression that it wasn’t (the best type of dessert!) Light and fluffy brioche meets a crunchy honey almond topping, with a vanilla pudding filling. I call this honey almond brioche cake to be a little more descriptive for those who might be unaware of bee sting cake (and because I am not German – but this recipe is very much the essence of bee sting cake!) – so if you’re wondering what it is exactly, I’ll explain right below!
What is bee sting cake?
Bee sting cake (Bienenstich in German) is a German dessert that features soft and fluffy yeast bread, a crunchy honey almond topping, and a sweet vanilla bavarian cream. Now I know what you’re probably thinking – why is it called bee sting cake? The exact reasoning behind the name is unknown but the most common theory is that the baker who first made this cake was stung by a bee that was attracted to the honey topping! I first saw bee sting cake from the amazing Red Currant Bakery and immediately knew I had to make my own version. I seriously love it so much and it might just be my favorite thing to make. It requires a little bit of time, but honestly, it’s not that hard to make with a little bit of patience. Plus, it’s sure to impress!
Weigh your ingredients
Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient. In a small batch recipe it is especially important to get those correct measurements because there is less room for error. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale. This one is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out!
Line your pan tall with parchment paper!
This brioche cake is not one that you want to flip upside down to get it out of the pan. (Trust me, I learned the hard way so you don’t have to!) Butter your pan, and get out a sheet of parchment paper. Crinkle up the parchment paper, then un-crinkle it and place it in your buttered pan, pressing the parchment up the sides of the pan. This will give you a way to lift the cake out of the pan so you can keep all of that delicious honey almond topping on it!
Kneading the dough
Kneading this dough will take a longer time than you are probably used to. This dough is enriched with eggs and butter which makes it take longer for the proper amount of gluten to develop. Kneading in the mixer can take me anywhere from 10-20 minutes. The dough is ready to be used when it passes the windowpane test and has pulled away from the sides and bottom of the bowl. If you are weighing your ingredients, just trust the process! If you are using cup measurements and the dough just is not coming together after 15 minutes, try adding in 1 tbsp. of flour at a time.
Room temperature ingredients
It is important for the ingredients to be at room temperature so that they properly incorporate with each other. Take out the egg and butter at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hr 30 min. before starting the recipe. To bring an egg to room temperature quickly, you can place it under hot water for 1 minute. To bring butter to room temperature quickly, slice it, place it on a plate, and microwave it in 5 second intervals!
Heating the milk
Heating the milk is important for bringing the yeast to an optimal temperature for rising. The milk should be heated to ~100°F / 38°C but it does not have to be exact. As long as the milk is between 95°F – 110°F, it is good to be used. If the temperature exceeds 110°F, wait for it to cool down before using so that you do not kill the yeast!
Ingredients needed for bee sting cake
For the brioche cake:
All purpose flour: for structure and chewiness. Please be sure that you are using a high-quality flour that has a high protein %, such as King Arthur (11.7%) so that your gluten will develop. If you’re using a low protein flour, the gluten will not develop enough and you will have to add a lot more flour to the brioche cake, which will alter the dough!
Active dry yeast: for making the dough rise. You can easily substitute in instant yeast if that is what you have on hand. You will just skip the step of combining the warm milk, sugar, and yeast!
Salt: for balancing and bringing out the sweetness of the brioche. Salt also “controls” the yeast to make sure that it does not overly expand.
Granulated sugar: for sweetening the brioche and for helping the yeast with rising. We will use a little bit of sugar in the brioche as well as in the hazelnut sugar.
Eggs: for binding and adding moisture.
Unsalted butter: for tenderizing the brioche rolls and giving them a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth feel. I would not recommend substituting in salted butter since salt is important to controlling yeast growth and the amount of salt in salted butter is quite variable.
Whole milk: for tenderizing and hydrating the dough. Whole milk will provide the softest rolls because the extra fat helps tenderize the dough. You can however swap in 1%, 2% or your favorite non dairy milk alternative! Just note that the dough may be a little less soft and fluffy due to the varying fat content.
For the honey almond topping:
Honey: sweetens, gives that delicious honey flavor, and creates that solid layer of honey almonds on top of the brioche cake.
Granulated sugar: sweetens the topping.
Unsalted butter: for flavor and texture. You can use salted butter here, just be sure to omit the extra salt from the topping.
Salt: balances and brings out the sweetness and flavor of the topping.
Ground cinnamon: optional, but I like adding it in for a little extra flavor. It pairs perfectly with the almond and honey.
Sliced almonds: the star of the show!
For the cream filling:
Vanilla pudding mix: a fast an easy way to make a very fake ‘bavarian’ cream. No cooking of eggs required! I know it’s not conventional, but trust me – it’s delicious and kind of like a “secret ingredient”.
Heavy cream: thickens up the pudding so that it is a more pipeable consistency.
Whole milk: used to dissolve the pudding mix. 1% or 2% will work great here as well.
Ground cinnamon: for flavor! I highly recommend using a touch of cinnamon here but feel free to omit it if you would like.
Honey: I add a touch of honey to the filling to help bring all of the flavors together.
How to make honey almond brioche cake | bee sting cake
While making brioche might seem hard and scary, it’s really super easy and most of the time you are just waiting for the dough to rise!
1. Make the dough. Mix together the warm milk, sugar, and yeast and leave to rest until the mixture begins to foam. Then, combine all of the dough ingredients in a stand mixer and knead. You will know the dough is ready when it passes the windowpane test (more details later in the post!)
2. Let rise overnight. Optional, but I recommend it. Once the dough is done kneading, butter the inside of the bowl, cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge to rise overnight. If you are making this all in one day, simply butter the mixing bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or a towel and leave it out in a warm area for 1-1.5 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
3. Shape the dough. Now the fun part: punch the dough down to release excess air. Use your hands to push the dough down into the pan so that the dough is an 8″ circle on the bottom of the pan. If the dough keeps snapping back, leave it to rest for 5 minutes before trying again. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a towel and leave to rise at room temperature until doubled in size (~30-45 min.)
4. Make the honey almond topping. Once the dough has almost completely doubled in size, start with your topping and preheat the oven. In a small saucepan, add the honey, sugar, butter, salt, and cinnamon. Stir the mixture over medium heat and let it come to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and immediately stir in the almonds. Immediately pour the mixture over the brioche, working fast to spread it evenly along the top.
5. Bake. While the cake is baking, make the filling by beating all the ingredients together.
6. Slice the cake. You are going to want to do this while it is still slightly warm! If the cake has cooled to room temperature, the topping is going to be ridiculously hard to cut through. While the cake is still warm (but not too hot, please don’t burn yourself!), use a serrated knife to cut the cake in half horizontally. Then, gently saw back and forth to cut the cake into 8 pieces.
7. Fill the cake. Distribute the filling amongst each slice, using a piping back or just a knife. Serve and enjoy!
How to tell your dough is done kneading: the windowpane test
The windowpane test is (in my opinion) the best way to tell that your dough has been properly kneaded. Once the dough starts to pull away from the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl, it is most likely ready. However, just to be sure that it’s good to go I check if it passes the windowpane test. To do that, take some of the dough in your hands and start to slowly stretch it out. If it can get thin enough to where light passes through it before tearing, then it’s good to go! If not, keep kneading until it does!
Honey almond brioche cake Q & A
How to store bee sting cake
Is there anything better than fresh brioche? These will taste their best on the day that they are baked. Because the filling contains lots of heavy cream and milk, it does need to be refrigerated. I highly recommend only filling the slices that you plan on eating so that you can keep the cake out at room temperature, and the filling in the fridge. If making for an event, fill the cake just before you are ready to serve it.
Can I double this recipe?
Yes! I can’t emphasize using a kitchen scale enough for especially this recipe already, but if you are going to double or half the ingredients it is even more important that you weigh your ingredients. The dough is very hydrated and slight alterations can change the texture of the dough.
Can I use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast?
Yes of course! Instead of mixing the heated milk, sugar, and yeast together, just pop all of the dough ingredients into your mixing bowl to start kneading. I do highly recommend refrigerating the dough overnight to make it easier to work with and more flavorful. However, if you are making the recipe all in one day, and using instant yeast, simply let the dough rest for just 10 minutes as the first rise, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Can I make the dough ahead of time?
Yes, and I highly recommend it! Brioche dough is a very enriched dough that can be hard to work with when warm. Simply knead the dough together, cover it, and leave it to rise in the fridge overnight. When ready to make the honey almond brioche cake simply take it out of the fridge and proceed with the recipe.
My yeast mixture isn’t foaming, what should I do?
The mixture should start foaming around 5 minutes in. If it has not foamed after 10 minutes, the yeast is likely dead. You want to make sure that the milk temperature does not exceed 110°F / 43°C or it will kill the yeast. If you try it again and it still does not foam, the yeast you are using may be expired and you will want to purchase some more before proceeding.
Why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is a more accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements. Here is my favorite kitchen scale, and here’s an article about why I use a kitchen scale, and why you should too!
A note on oven temperature.
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature. For example, I always have to set my oven to 330°F if I want it to bake at 350°F. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you. I use this one.
Tools and ingredients
You can find all my favorite tools and ingredients that I use on my Amazon Storefront page, here
Did you make this bee sting cake?
If you made this honey almond brioche cake I would love to see it and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
Honey Almond Brioche Cake | Bee Sting Cake
- 60 g whole milk (¼ c.)
- 1 tsp. active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 160 g all purpose flour (1 ⅓ c.)
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 egg room temperature
- 42 g unsalted butter (3 tbsp.) room temperature
Honey Almond Topping
- 80 g honey (¼ c.)
- 80 g granulated sugar (¼ c. + 2 ½ tbsp.)
- 56 g unsalted butter (¼ c.)
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 115 g sliced almonds (1 ⅓ c.)
Cinnamon Honey Cream Filling
- 1 packet instant vanilla pudding (96g / 3.4 oz)
- 225 g heavy whipping cream (1 c.)
- 225 g whole milk (1 c.)
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. honey
- Line your cake pan! This is not a cake that you want to flip upside down to get it out of the pan. (Trust me, I learned the hard way so you don't have to!) Butter your pan, and get out a sheet of parchment paper. Crinkle up the parchment paper, then un-crinkle it and place it in your buttered pan, pressing the parchment up the sides of the pan. This will give you a way to lift the cake out of the pan so you can keep all of that delicious honey almond topping on it!
- In a microwave safe measuring cup, heat the milk to 100°F / 38°C. Whisk in the yeast and the sugar. Set aside until the mixture begins to foam. (~5 minutes)
- While waiting, add the flour, salt, egg, and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. When the yeast mixture begins to foam, add it in to the rest of the ingredients.
- Knead the dough on low speed for 1 minute to allow the ingredients to come together. Increase the speed to medium-high and knead for an additional 15 minutes, or until the dough passes the windowpane test. (This will happen after the dough has cleaned the sides and bottom of the bowl)
- At this point I would recommend covering the bowl with plastic wrap and leaving it to rise overnight in the fridge. If making the cake in one day, cover the bowl with a towel and leave it to rise in a warm environment until doubled in size (~1 hr.)
- Once the dough has doubled in size (or after taking it out of the fridge after rising overnight), lightly punch it down to remove excess air.
- Form the dough into a ball, then place it in a greased and parchment lined 8" baking dish. Use your hands to push the dough down into the pan so that the dough is an 8" circle on the bottom of the pan. If the dough keeps snapping back, leave it to rest for 5 minutes before trying again. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a towel and leave to rise at room temperature until doubled in size (~30-45 min.)
- Once the dough has almost completely doubled in size, start with your topping and preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C.
Honey Almond Topping
- In a small saucepan, add the honey, sugar, butter, salt, and cinnamon. Stir the mixture over medium heat and let it come to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and immediately stir in the almonds. Immediately pour the mixture over the brioche, working fast to spread it evenly along the top.
- Bake the bee sting cake at 350°F / 175°C for 15-20 minutes. Use a thermometer to check when the cake is done. (It should read 190°F / 88°C.)
Cinnamon Honey Cream Filling
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, add all of the filling ingredients. Beat for 2 minutes, then set it in the fridge until you are ready to fill the cake.
- Slice the cake – you are going to want to do this while it is still slightly warm! If the cake has cooled to room temperature, the topping is going to be ridiculously hard to cut through. While the cake is still warm (but not too hot, please don't burn yourself!), use a serrated knife to slice the cake in half horizontally. Then, saw back and forth through the cake, cutting it into 8 equal slices.
- Distribute the filling amongst each slice, using a piping back or just a knife. Serve and enjoy!