Bienenstich (German Bee Sting Cake)

This Bienstich (bee sting cake) is dairy-free and can be made gluten-free, whole wheat or with all-purpose flour.

I rarely post German recipes but I was inspired after having some Bienenstich at a hotel this weekend. Bienenstich is a German brioche-based cake filled with pastry cream and a lovely honey almond topping.

I also learned that it’s well-known in South Australia, thanks to the people who commented on my Instagram picture of this cake. I’m not a huge fan of bee sting cake – it’s usually a bit too dry for me and lacking flavor. So I came up with my own inauthentic, more flavorful, yeast-free version!

Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake) – dairy-free and can be made with gluten-free, 100% whole grain or all-purpose flour.

I’m not fond of yeasted cake recipes (the one exception being King Cake!) so I didn’t use brioche dough, but regular cake batter.

To make the dough more flavorful, I added some almond extract and a bit of orange juice. The cake base I used yields a super moist cake when baked without the almond topping, but when baked with it, the texture is similar to the traditional Bienenstich cake.

I panicked when I first cut into the cake as the pudding didn’t stay as well put as I had hoped. I looked at some other bee sting cake recipes and found that pretty much everyone had the same issue when it came to cutting the cake.

The top layer consists of a caramelized honey and almond topping so it makes sense that it doesn’t cut easily. Then I saw one commenter suggesting that you pre-cut the top almond layer before placing it on the cake.

Genius! So I took the top off the top layer of the cake, cut it into pieces and placed it back on the pudding filling. Then it cut perfectly.

Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake) – dairy-free and can be made gluten-free, 100% whole grain or with all-purpose flour.

One issue is that this cake does not keep well. After refrigerating, it becomes quite dense. I recommend filling the cake with pudding right before serving and then devouring it all. :D Truth be told, it’s kind of annoying.

This is one of the reasons why I rarely make cake. I prefer cookies, brownies and bars that stay good for days and are super easy to make. We really did like this so I will make it again, but probably only for a special occasion.

I hope you’ll enjoy this cake if you try it! I’d love to hear what you think about it. Thanks!

Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake) - gluten-free, whole grain, dairy-free options

  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 8 slices


    For the almond topping:

  • 5 tablespoons (70 grams) coconut oil1, melted
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar or raw sugar
  • 3 3/4 teaspoons honey
  • 3 3/4 teaspoons milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons (73 grams) sliced almonds
  • For the cake:

  • 1 cup + 6 tablespoons gluten-free 1:1 all-purpose mix2, or 1 cup + 6 tablespoons (172 grams) white whole wheat flour3 or all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) melted coconut oil (or another neutral-tasting vegetable oil)
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar or raw sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract (or orange extract)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • For the pudding:

  • 1 1/4 cups (296 milliliters) milk of choice (soy, almond, cow's milk for a non-dairy-free version, etc. but not canned coconut milk)
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 tablespoons granulated or raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup (32 grams) cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and place a piece of parchment paper over a 8" round cake pan (dark and glass pans aren't recommended). Do not line just the bottom of the pan! Place a full piece of paper over the pan so that the entire thing is lined.
  2. Prepare the topping. Mix together melted coconut oil, sugar, honey, milk and salt. Once combined, add in the sliced almonds. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the cake. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the melted coconut oil, sugar, orange juice, vanilla, almond extract and eggs. Add the dry cake mixture to the wet and stir just until combined.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan, top with the almond honey mixture and bake for 28-33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Prepare the pudding. In a medium saucepan, whisk together all pudding ingredients, except for the vanilla. Turn the heat on medium and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened – about 8-11 minutes. After about 5 minutes, start to stir constantly. It will go from thin and watery to thick in a matter of seconds. Do not let the pudding boil! It's okay if it boils for a few seconds, but not more. Stir in the vanilla. It will be quite a bit thicker than regular pudding and will thicken even more as it cools. Set aside to cool while the cake continues to cool. If you want to prevent a film from forming, cover with a piece of plastic wrap. I skip that step and just give it a good stir after it's cooled. There will still be some lumps, but you don't notice them in the finished cake.
  8. Assemble the cake. Once the cake has cooled, slice it in half horizontally using a sharp serrated knife. Put the bottom half on the serving plate and top with the pudding. Place the sliced cake pieces on top of the pudding. Serve immediately. This cake gets quite dense once refrigerated so I recommend not assembling it in advance. You can prepare the pudding the day before serving, but then assemble the cake right before serving.


  1. I used refined coconut oil, which doesn't have any coconut taste. If you use unrefined coconut oil in this cake, it will likely have some coconut taste to it.
  2. You can use your favorite gluten-free flour mixture that's a 1:1 substitute for regular all-purpose flour or use the mix I used listed below
    • 129 grams white rice flour
    • 47 grams potato starch
    • 18 grams tapioca flour / starch
    • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  3. If you use white whole wheat flour, there will be some whole wheat taste to the cake!

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34 comments on “Bienenstich (German Bee Sting Cake)” — Add one!

2 comments are awaiting moderation!

  • Andi says
    April 9, 2016 @ 8:52 pm

    First off, that cake looks delicious, it is not a cake I would normally go for, I am a chocolate kind of girl, but it looks light and delicious and perfect with coffee or a cup of tea. I love the minimalist design of the hotel rooms. It is a design style I gravitate towards and I love it when hotel rooms aren’t too fussy. The food looks delish!

    • Erin replies to Andi
      April 10, 2016 @ 2:25 pm

      It really was so delicious! And I’m with you on design. I don’t need much and love the clean and modern look. Such an awesome stay, in every way. :)

  • Nutmeg Nanny says
    April 8, 2016 @ 6:19 am

    This cake so pretty! Even if it doesn’t save well I would be happy to eat it in one sitting….haha. Also I love that they don’t waste the food and package it up as snacks! How smart! Plus Weck jars….swoon!

  • Alexa [] says
    April 8, 2016 @ 3:25 am

    Erin! This is absolutely STUNNING! That almond crust on the top reminds me of the burnt almond torte that’s popular in my neck of the woods! I can’t wait to give the GF version a try reeeeal soon <3

    • Erin replies to Alexa []
      April 9, 2016 @ 8:28 pm

      Aww, thanks! And burnt almond torte?! That sounds yummy! Never heard of that.

  • Justine | Cooking and Beer says
    April 7, 2016 @ 5:43 pm

    This is so fun! I love when recipes are inspired by travels! Thanks for sharing with us. This cake looks amazing!

  • Carrie @Frugal Foodie Mama says
    April 7, 2016 @ 3:41 pm

    I just love recipes inspired by people’s travels! :) And this cake looks absolutely divine.

  • allie @ Through Her Looking Glass says
    April 7, 2016 @ 3:35 pm

    What a great post Erin! Love the cake, and the great cutting tips. The hotel is amazing, though I can’t believe how short a time you stayed. What an incredible breakfast!

  • Lisa | Mummy Made.It says
    April 7, 2016 @ 1:44 pm

    That breakfast buffet looks amazing!! I wouldn’t need to eat again all day (although I probably would with all the other amazing food on offer).
    Yep, we do Bee Stings in Australia. As we tend to do, it can be simplified to a sponge like cake with lots of honey and a cream filling.

    • Erin replies to Lisa | Mummy Made.It
      April 9, 2016 @ 8:29 pm

      Simplified is definitely a good thing! No way am I making a yeasted cake when I could make a non-yeasted one. ;)

  • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet says
    April 7, 2016 @ 6:38 am

    This looks awesome! I’ve never been a big fan of Bienenstich either but with the adaptations you’ve done I’m sure I’d love yours! Hotel Otto sounds like a fantastic choice for when we visit Berlin the next time, thanks so much for this helpful review, we look forward to checking it out!

  • christine says
    April 7, 2016 @ 2:22 am

    Well, if ever there were a reason to post German recipes, it’s THIS cake. And seriously, that breakfast?! I wish I were waking up to that tomorrow.

    • Erin replies to christine
      April 7, 2016 @ 10:20 am

      So do I! It was a glorious two mornings. :)

  • Charlotte Moore says
    April 7, 2016 @ 2:18 am

    YUM!! It looks very tasty. I love the pudding middle and the almonds.

    Just wanted to tell you when I tested some recipes for you back in July 2014 I froze almost everything. Except what people sampled of course. I found 2 slices of the pumpkin orange cake today in the freezer. I thought oh well I will thaw it out and just see how it is. Well, my husband wanted to know if he could have a piece so he put it in the microwave. Believe it or not he said it was good. It was a little drier but he ate it. I am sure it would have been perfectly fine last year but now we know it was still edible after a year and 8 months. HAHAHA!! I do wrap my stuff real good and double bag them.

    • Erin replies to Charlotte Moore
      April 7, 2016 @ 10:19 am

      Hahaha. I found some cookies I brought back from Amsterdam 1 1/2 years ago and they tasted almost as good as fresh! It’s good to know that that pumpkin cake freezes well. :D I actually posted that cake on the blog. Should I add that tip to the notes? ;) Thanks so much for your comment!

      • Charlotte Moore replies to Erin
        April 7, 2016 @ 12:58 pm

        Funny thing most people would throw it out if it was about 3 or 4 months old. HA!! Good grief at the errors I made in that post. I guess you knew what I meant. HA!! I guess I needed to reread before sending. It really does freeze well if wrapped really good.

        • Erin replies to Charlotte Moore
          April 7, 2016 @ 10:26 pm

          Haha. What typos? I don’t see any typos. ;) Thanks again for your comments! They always make me smile. :)

  • Heather | All Roads Lead to the Kitchen says
    April 7, 2016 @ 1:57 am

    That hotel is definitely beautiful (and so is their food), but what I’m really dying for is a slice of this cake! I happen to adore yeasted cakes…and almonds…oh my gosh that layer is killing me. And the pudding? Totally sending me over the edge. Want.

  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts says
    April 7, 2016 @ 1:27 am

    This cake looks amazing, so moist! And I am all for eating all the cake at one time :)
    That hotel looks amazing. That breakfast? Seriously?! I want to come to Germany just to stay there!

  • Brenda@SugarfreeMom says
    April 7, 2016 @ 1:05 am

    I love the name!! Very interesting and a very pretty cake I think. I’m with you though, cake is not my favorite thing to make and I’d prefer easier goodies myself. I too, usually only make cake for holidays and that’s about the most of it. Anyway, the cake looks stunning as does the hotel!

  • The Food Hunter says
    April 7, 2016 @ 12:13 am

    all the food looks amazing…adding to my must stay list the next time I am there

  • Angela says
    April 7, 2016 @ 12:11 am

    Ah, Beinenstich! My grandma and aunt used to make this. It was their traditional “kaffee drinken” cake. I’d nearly forgotten. Of course, there was no moist center, but they usually kept it pretty thin, and had it with lots of coffee. ;) I’ve got to try this one. Thanks again for the bit of nostalgia.

    • Erin replies to Angela
      April 7, 2016 @ 9:51 am

      Keeping it thin and drinking it with lots of coffee is one way to deal with the dryness, I suppose. ;) I’m happy to hear that my post brought back some memories for you. I hope you’ll enjoy the cake if you try it! Thanks for your comment. :)

  • Kelly @ Nosh and Nourish says
    April 6, 2016 @ 11:18 pm

    The perfect solution for cake not keeping well… eating it all, of course! I might even share :)


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