Yesterday was mothers day and so I called my mum in Germany, chatted a little bit with her and told her I was making beesting cake (Bienenstich), a cake that is a little bit time consuming (as all yeast doughs are) and so she was sharing with me how in Germany lots of restaurants and bakeries are adopting American pastries like cake pops and cupcakes and that you rarely can find traditional cakes anymore in bakeries, one of the reasons being that its just too time consuming and with that too expensive to make elaborate German cakes that taste good but don’t have the “good looks” like cake pops, sugar cookies or fancy “race car” or “superhero” cakes.
Its not that I think all German food is better than American but when it comes to pastries and desserts, I would say Austrian pastries and desserts take first place followed by German and then Swiss pastries/desserts. So why is Germany adopting US pastries, I have no clue, to me cake pops, cupcakes and QFC sheet cakes taste waaay too sweet and everything seems to taste the same, it looks cute but tastes awful; but Germans love to adopt US trends and so here we go, US pastries take ahold of the German youth, maybe I can start a revolt in bringing German pastries to the US!
And since today is an especially slow day…it actually has been a slow couple of weeks, waiting for my new job to pick up, so I am pretty much enjoying the calm before the storm, which lets me dedicate some time to cruise down the food memory lane and bring you the recipe of this fine German Bienenstich (beesting cake), this cake is a mixture of Vanilla Custard on a moist cake dough which has been glazed with almonds, cream, sugar and honey.
German cakes are all somewhat time involved – nothing goes really “Rucky Zucky” (German slang for fast) when you are baking German goodies but the end result is absolutely worth it. Even though I want to believe that it is the journey and not the destination that counts in life – which I think is very applicable for my current job situation – does this saying not apply for this cake, the destination is absolutely what you are going for :-).
As with all Yeast doughs, make sure you let it rise at a warm (not hot) place and bring all ingredient to at least room temperature, milk can be even a little bit more warm around 100 degrees and have sufficient time to spare for all the resting and cooling periods.
Ingredients for 12-16 pieces:
- 250 ml warm milk
- 75 gram butter – room temperature
- 500 gram flour
- 10 gram of dry yeast
- 60 gram sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg – room temperature
- 100 gram butter
- 85 gram sugar
- 100 gram heaving whipping cream
- 200 gram almond slices
- 2 packages of Vanilla pudding (preferably Dr. Oetker which you get at World Market or Amazon, the 3 pack is $8..quite spendy but its worth it)
- 250 ml of heavy whipping cream
- 750 ml milk
- 100 gram butter
Make the dough:
- warm up the milk with the butter and set the egg into warm water to warm up
- Mix the flour with the yeast and then add all the liquids, egg and salt and knead into a dough. The dough should come off easy from your bowl, if it doesn’t add a tiny little bit of flour.
- Place the dough with the bowl at a warm place and let it double in size (that usually takes a good hour)
Make the topping:
- Make the topping after the dough has risen and doubled in size and is ready to be rolled out, you want the mixture to be warm but not hot and for sure not thick and cold.
- Warm up the cream, sugar and heavy whipping cream and let it boil for one minute. Then add the almonds and stir.
Rolling out the dough:
- Once the dough has risen nicely roll it out on a light floured surface to a rectangle that fits onto your baking sheet (don’t use a big baking sheet, you want the cake to be rather high and not flat, so you need a little bit more a compact rectangle not a very spread out one, I used a 13 x 9 inch baking sheet. You can use a round spring form but then use less dough, you don’t want your cake to be all dough). Use a baking sheet with a high rim, so that your dough can rise and doesn’t spill over the sides and your almond/cream/honey mixture drips into your oven, starts burning and makes your house stinky for hours (that’s what happened to me, I had to open all doors and windows all night to get the burned smell out of the house.)
- Once your dough is evenly rolled out on the baking sheet – make sure its super even, otherwise it will bake up uneven and then you have some thin and some thick pieces – poke a few holes into the dough with a fork.
- Pour the toping over the dough and spread it out evenly.
- Let the dough now rest another 30-60 minutes at a warm place
Baking the dough:
- Preheat the oven to 370 degrees and bake the cake for 15-18 minutes. Watch very closely. I baked it for 18 minutes and that was almost too long as I found the dough wasn’t all that moist anymore.
- Once done, let the dough cool out for an hour.
Making the filling:
- Mix the pudding powder with the sugar and some of the milk (maybe 150 ml of the 750 ml you are using) and set aside.
- Bring the rest of the milk to a boil, when boiling pour in the pudding /sugar mixture and let it boil for 20 seconds and take it immediately off the burner.
- Mix in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Cover with cling wrap, avoiding the pudding to form a skin and let the pudding cool out.
- Beat the heavy whipping cream with a tablespoon of sugar until very stiff.
- Mix the heavy whipping cream into the pudding – slightly mixing, you don’t want the cream to flatten, the cream will give the pudding some “airy fluffiness”.
Assemble the cake:
- Cut your cake into 4 even pieces. Cut off all the edges.
- Cut each of your 4 pieces in 4 smaller pieces, so that you have a total of 16 pieces…or fewer, it depends on the size of your baking sheet and how big you like your pieces.
- Then cut each piece horizontally in the middle so that you have two event half and the almond “crust” will be your top piece that you will set onto the cream.
- Put each bottom back on a baking sheet and arrange your tops so that you know which top fits which bottom. I made 4 rows with 4 bottoms on the baking sheet and put the corresponding tops on the counter in the same order.
- Once you have all the bottoms lined up, tight next to each other touching, as if they have never been cut, spread the pudding/cream mixture generously on your bottoms and then top them with the matching almond tops.
- This should now look like one big cake. Its easier to work the cake this way then to individually fill all the pieces.
- Lets the cake rest for 2-3 hours at a cool place (but not the fridge).
- After a couple hours you can take the individual pieces apart (I used a spatula and a knife and got relative nice and clean edges) and set onto a nice cake plate, the pieces should easily come apart if you mapped the right tops to the right bottoms :-). Cover left over pieces in Cling Wrap and keep in the fridge. Bring back to room temperature prior to eating. This cake can be kept 2-3 days in the fridge.