Bee Sting Cake

Food is a completely sensory experience.  Much like certain scents, sights and sounds, the taste of something has the ability to transport us to another time and place.  For me, no other sweet reminds me more of my childhood than the Bee Sting Cake.  I still remember the first time I ever tried one.  When I was a little girl we used to go camping every Summer in Brunswick Heads, a small, sleepy seaside community just north of Byron Bay.  There was an old fashioned bakery on the corner of the main street in town.  My parents would give me some money to buy myself something for morning tea, and I would walk down each day and stand in front of the cabinet with my nose pressed to the glass for what seemed like an eternity, trying to choose between all the different sweets.  I think I must have drove the baker's wife a little nuts as I was so indecisive, so on one particular day she suggested I try a Bee Sting as she had just brought them out to the front counter.  I was a little hesitant at first as it was the biggest thing I had ever seen, but as I adore anything with custard I bought it and completely fell in love with it from the first mouthful.  From its crunchy caramelised almond topping, to its velvety vanilla custard centre, it's completely delicious from go to whoa.  The cake originally comes from Germany, where it is known as 'Bienenstich', but I think us Aussies have well and truly adopted it as one of our own.  Few of us have grown up without enjoying one, and I know I am not alone when I say that it's a childhood classic.


2 teaspoons dried yeast
1/3 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup warm milk
2 1/2 cups plain flour
60 grams butter, melted

20 grams butter
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup flaked almonds

Simple custard 
2 tablespoons custard powder
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup cream, whipped

Grease a 22cm springform cake tin with butter.

Combine yeast, one teaspoon of the caster sugar and 1/4 cup of the warm milk in a small bowl, cover and set aside in a warm place for approximately 10 minutes, until it is frothy.

Sift flour into a large bowl and stir in the remaining caster sugar.

Make a well in the centre of the flour and stir in the yeast mixture and the melted butter, and then enough of the remaining milk to create a soft dough.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a large bowl that has been greased with butter.  Cover bowl, and place it in a warm spot for an hour until the dough has nearly doubled in size.

Once the dough is ready, knead it on a lightly floured surface until it is smooth.  Try not to overwork the dough, it should only take a light knead for it to come together and become smooth.  Press the dough into a 15cm circle and place into the greased cake tin.  Cover with cling wrap and place the tin in a warm spot for another hour until the dough has risen above the top of the tin.

Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced.

Once it is ready, remove the cling wrap and place the cake tin into the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.

During the last 10 minutes of baking time, prepare your topping as it needs to be ready to top the cake with as soon as it has finished baking.

To prepare the topping, combine the butter, sugar and honey in a small saucepan, and cook, stirring (without allowing it to boil) over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Once the sugar has completely dissolved, allow the mixture to boil without stirring for a minute or two, until it is light caramel in colour.  Add the flaked almonds and stir gently.

Once the cake has cooked for 30 minutes, remove it from the oven and quickly spread the cake with the topping, ensuring it is even.  Place the cake back into the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes until the cake topping is firm and brown.

Remove the cake from the tin carefully and place onto a wire rack to completely cool.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the custard filling.

Combine the custard powder and sugar in a small saucepan, and whisk in enough milk to make a smooth paste.  Place onto the hot plate and cook over a medium heat, and slowly whisk-in the remaining milk.  Continue to whisk over heat until the mixture starts to boil, then simmer whisking continuously until the mixture is thick.

Scrape the custard into a glass bowl and completely cover the surface with cling wrap, and refrigerate until cold.  Don't panic if the custard sticks to the cling wrap, just give it a couple of flicks and scrape it off back into the bowl.  When the custard is ready, whisk the cream until it is thickened and gently fold into the custard and place back into the fridge.  You do not need to cover the surface of the custard with cling wrap this time, just cover the bowl and pop it back into the fridge.

Just before serving the cake, carefully split it horizontally and spread the custard filling over the surface of the base and place the top back onto it.  Cut it into wedges using a serrated knife and serve.

This cake is best served immediately after it is ready.  Do not refrigerate it before serving.

Tip: you may find it a little tricky to cut the cake into wedges as the topping becomes hard like toffee.  I find it's easiest to separate the cake and slice the bottom section with the custard into wedges, then do the same to the top section, then reassemble it, otherwise you risk squeezing out the custard filling when you try to cut it.  Just make sure to do this just before serving, so your guests can see how pretty the cake looks before you cut it (or in my case, completely mangle it).


  1. I ADORE Bee Sting cakes. Part of my Adelaidian childhood among all the German continental delis. ;-) Thanks for sharing this one. :-)

    1. Oh, how I would LOVE to visit all those continental delis in Adelaide! I love delicatessens! I adore their distinctive smell. Yet another thing that takes me right back to my childhood whenever I encounter one xx