I thought I’d try something a bit different this time so I haven’t made your traditional cake I’ve made Bienenstich or bee sting cake. I came across a great pastry website called Joe Pastry while looking for a Napoleon slice or as I know it vanilla slice recipe. Let me take you on a little tangent for a second, back to the very beginning.
Remember my very first post where I told you about a little patisserie I worked in and learned to love all things sweet? (if not click here to find out) well what brought me there in the first place was their rum balls and their vanilla slice. The slice was and still is the best I have ever tasted! and trust me I’ve tasted a lot to try and find one better!! There was something about that light velvety pastry cream that no one else has ever matched. So I set out in search of a recipe that I could use as a base to try and recreate for myself, and that’s when I found Joe Pastry.
Joe’s site not only has Napoleon slice and pastry cream recipes but a plethora of other tasty delights, one being the Bee sting cake. This intrigued me as a budding apiarist anything bee related will prick my ears up. They call it a bee sting cake because the almonds on the top look very similar to bees huddled together on the honeycomb, and what do you know it uses pastry cream as the filling! Score!!
There is a bit that goes into this cake and probably isn’t something you just whip up for the next day. In essence it is a yeast pastry called brioche filled with pastry cream and covered in a caramel and flaked almond glaze. Sounds easy enough but each element has a number of components each with a number of steps to follow. It sounds daunting at first and I’ll admit that trying it for the first time and having to deliver it for the monthly birthday cake had me under the pump. But I think I’ve learnt from it and it will be a little easier next time, which I’m keen to do and maybe try some other things with the dough.
Here goes, to start with you need to make the Brioche Dough. There are a number of steps to making Brioche and like any yeast dough needs plenty of time to rise and rise again. I wont go through all the steps one by one because I pretty much followed the recipe step by step from Joe Pastry . Which I might add is how you should make every new recipe you try for the first time, then you can tweak things if you need to. So if you want to try it yourself you can get it from here.
For some reason my dough didn’t double in size like it should have but maybe that was because I had it in a cold winters kitchen late at night.The next day I rolled it out so that it was about 1/2″ thick and using the base of an 8″ spring form tin I cut it out.
(look at those great photography skills !! so clear )
Next was to make the caramel for the top which is just a bit of sugar, butter and honey finished off with flaked almonds. I think I may have let the caramel go a little too long and when spreading it out over the top it became a little firm and almonds kinda clumped together.
I sat it on top of the oven while it was proofing before going into cook and it rose better than the first time, even with the almonds on top. I wanted to get a bit of height in the cake so before I left it to proof I put the 8″ spring form ring around it left undone to help it grow up and not out. After it’s second rise it was into the oven for about half an hour. When it came out it looked nice and caramel and smelt amazing.
You can see in the picture where the almond density was heavier than the cakes rising ability, it had no real affect on the cake but you can see when I cut it in half to fill it where it hasn’t risen .
Next is the filling this needs to be done in advance because you are making a pastry cream which crudely is a custard that is thickened with flour or cornflour. When I made mine I think I may have over cooked it because it was quite stiff out of the fridge. It does get mixed with whipped cream to loosen it up so there was no real issue but just something to work on.
Then it was back on with the top and the job was done !
If you look closely you will even see the specks from the vanilla seeds in the cream. While the taste panel always seem to give me good reviews of all the cakes I take in this one got missed by some of the judges. They were obviously not quick enough to the staff room and there for missed out, so I may have to make it again for those who did. I won’t complain, it was fun to try something different and there were definitely areas I could improve. I can also vouch that it tasted pretty good cause with the left over dough I made a second one. I didn’t use the tin to keep its shape and it did spread more out than up and as a result I overcooked it a little but it was still yummy.
Well until the next adventure which will be very close to the next wedding cake.
Thanks for Readin’