Bee Sting Cake is a tried and true German dessert cake recipe. It's a light and airy cake with a rich vanilla cream filling and a crunchy almond topping.
Bienenstich, or 'Bee Sting Cake' is a popular, classic German dessert. Similar to Butterkuchen (butter cake), German Cheesecake (Käsekuchen), and Streuselkuchen, it is often served during "Kaffee und Kuchen" - Germany's version of high tea.
This cake looks fancy, but the recipe is easy to make and perfect for new and seasoned bakers. This cake is for you if you're looking for an easy recipe to impress your friends and family.
Why This Recipe Works
EASE - This Bee Sting Cake recipe version is about achieving big flavors with a simple recipe.
TIME - Hands-on time for this cake is less than 20 minutes.
GERMAN CLASSIC - Bee Sting is one of the most popular cakes in Germany. You'll find it in almost every bakery. This recipe shows you how to bring a little piece of Germany into your home.
For a printable detailed ingredient list, please check the recipe card below.
EGGS - Four large eggs create the base for this batter.
SUGAR - For this recipe, you'll need two types of sugar. Powdered sugar for the batter and granulated sugar for the topping.
FLOUR - When you first read the recipe, you might be surprised to learn how little flour we will use. But you will see it's the perfect amount to create this light and airy cake.
LEAVENING AGENTS - We will use baking powder (and salt) for this recipe. And yes, you've read it correctly. We will use one whole tablespoon of baking powder.
INSTANT PUDDING MIX - Use vanilla-flavored instant pudding mix. This is the base for our cream filling.
HEAVY CREAM - Combine the heavy cream with the vanilla pudding mix until the mixture has the texture of the buttercream. If and only if the mixture has become too thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk.
ALMONDS - you can use raw natural sliced almonds or blanched sliced almonds.
How To Make This Bee Sting Cake Recipe
- THE CAKE - Beat eggs and powdered sugar for several minutes until very creamy. Add flour, baking powder, and salt to the egg mixture.
Pour batter into a greased and floured 9-inch springform pan. Top with almonds and sugar. Bake the cake until golden brown at 350º Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
- THE FILLING - Beat instant pudding mix and heavy whipping cream until the mixture has a buttercream-like consistency.
- THE ASSEMBLY - Remove the springform baking pan and allow the cake to cool completely. Use a long serrated knife to cut the cake horizontally into two layers.
Cover the bottom layer with cream filling. Place the top layer back onto the cake. Done!
PRO TIP: If you find that the filling has become too stiff whole milk in one tablespoon increments. The goal is to have a filling that is firm but easily spreadable.
Curious how to pronounce "Bienenstich" in German? Listen below.
📌 Save This Bee Sting Cake!
A Battled Tested Cake - Fun History Of The Bee Sting Cake
Bienenstich is the German word for 'Bee Sting'. So how did a harmless and delicious cake get this name?
Legend has it that the name of this classic German dessert originated in the 15th century.
The story of this cake begins with a taxation dispute between two German towns: Linz Am Rhein and Andernach. To settle the dispute, residents of Andernach planned to attack Linz. (Apparently, Germans took taxes seriously back then!)
On the morning of the planned attack, two apprentice bakers went to the town walls to check on their beehives. The apprentices spotted the would-be attackers.
The quick-thinking apprentices took the beehives and threw them over the city walls at the invaders. The wanna-be attackers got attacked by a bunch of pretty angry bees and were forced to flee. Thus the residents of Linz were able to defend their city successfully.
After the battle was won, the residents collected the honey from the beehives and decided to bake a celebratory cake. They combined honey and sliced almonds to make a delicious topping. And that gave birth to the first Bee Sting Cake.
Note - You might have noticed that our recipe does not include honey. As so often, recipes develop over time. I like this version because it's a lot easier and also gets excellent results.
Instead of a honey almond topping, we use sliced almonds and sugar. And as with so many German recipes, my grandmother taught me how to make this easy Bee Sting Cake.
Can you make this recipe in advance?
YES! This is a great cake to bake the day before an event. It's best to place the cake in a cake carrier and store it in the fridge.
How Long Does This Cake Last?
Bee Sting Cake is the type of cake that is best stored in the fridge. The cake will stay fresh for 3-4 days. Place leftover slices in an airtight container or a cake carrier.
FREEZING. You can keep Bee Sting Cake in the freezer for up to 3 months. If you are freezing individual slices, separate them with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper.
It's best to freeze the cake the same day you bake it. Freezing the freshest possible cake ensures the cake will still taste fresh and delicious after defrosting.
More German Cake Recipes
Recipe Notes & Tips
SUGAR - You will need powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar) for the batter. If you don't have powdered sugar, you can easily make your own.
To make 1 cup of powdered sugar, blend ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Blitz the granulated sugar in a blender until it becomes powdered sugar.
VANILLA BOOST - If you want to boost the vanilla flavor, add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the batter. Alternatively, you can also add 1 package of vanilla sugar. My Oma did in her version of this recipe. I feel there's already plenty of vanilla flavor in this recipe, so it's not part of my recipe.
Check out my Vanillekipferl Cookie Recipe, where I discuss vanilla sugar in German baking. And how to make your own using a vanilla bean.
Equipment You'll Need
Springform Pan - Look for a 9 inch springform pan.
READER SUGGESTION: You can divide the batter in half if you have two springform pans. And then bake the top and bottom separately.
This is a good option if you don't want to slice the cake. You will have to watch your baking times. The first time you do this, check the baking time because it will be shorter. I recommend checking on the cakes after 15 minutes and then every 3 to 5 minutes.
Reminder. To check for doneness, insert a wooden toothpick in the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
SERRATED KNIFE - You can use any large (sharp) knife to slice the cake. But I've found that using a large serrated knife works best.
MIXER - You can use a hand or stand mixer. For this recipe, I find it easier to work with my hand mixer.
CAKE CARRIER - This is optional. But it's super convenient to place the cake in the cake carrier and store it in the fridge.
If You Like This Dessert, Try These German Dessert
Butterkuchen - Classic German butter cake.
Strudel Cookies - impress your guests with these easy-to-make cookies that look like you've bought them in a fancy bakery.
Engelsaugen Cookies - German Thumbprint Cookies
Vanillekipferl Cookies - These classic German cookies are a real treat.
German Bee Sting Cake
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2-3 tablespoons whole milk optional, only add if the filling is too thick
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons sugar granulated
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter and sprinkle with a light dusting of flour. Set aside.
Making The Batter
- Beat eggs and powdered sugar in a large bowl with a mixer until the sugar has dissolved and the egg mixture is creamy. About 5 minutes.
- Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt and continue to beat until well combined. Pour the batter into the pre-greased springform pan. Drizzle the batter with sugar and almonds.
- Bake the cake at 350° Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Use a wooden toothpick to check for doneness. Remove the sides of the springform. Set aside and wait until the cake has cooled.
Making The Filling
- In a medium bowl beat instant pudding mix and heavy cream t until thick, creamy, and easily spreadable. Add a couple of tablespoons of milk if the filling is too thick.
Assembling The Cake
- Use a long, sharp knife to slice the cake horizontally in half. Spread the filling evenly across the bottom layer. Place the top layer back. Serve and enjoy
Love the simplicity of this recipe. I baked it two 9" cake pans and spread filling between. Much easier than trying to slice a thin sponge cake. Chocolate and butterscotch filling work great also.
The taste of this cake was delicious and received a two thumbs up from my German stepdad whom I served it to.
Like another person who commented, I also had trouble with a very thin 10 inch cake which seemed it would be impossible to split. This is after following the directions to the Tee. I just made another layer minus the almonds and that worked out great.
Hi Coleen! First of all I'm sending a 'Frohe Weihnachten' to you and your German stepdad (Merry Christmas). You idea is pretty great. I really like it. 🙂
Over Thanksgiving I replaced my 20+ year old springform. And new the springform seems to be slightly larger and although I was still able to cut the cake in half it was a bit tricky. In other words I can see what you're saying.
Chances are I'll make this cake over the Christmas (it's one of my husband's favorite desserts). Let me see if I can tinker with the recipe to make it easier for everybody. In the meantime, I really love and endorse your idea. Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂
Just a question. Do you refrigerate any leftover because of the custard?
I've never had leftover custard. But I don't see why not. 🙂
This cake was amazing. I made it for my husband for his birthday. We all loved it. I didn't have any trouble cutting the cake with the serrated knife. Everything about this cake was perfect. It is not too sweet. It is just right.
Sorry but the original Bee Sting cake had the almonds mixed with honey NOT sugar! I worked in a German bakery and my father used to bring this cake home too.
Yes, you are right. This is an easy version of a Bee Sting Cake. One that's less messy and a lot easier to make. 🙂 And it tastes quite similar to the Bee Sting cakes I grew up with in Germany. But you are right in and I appreciate the comment. If you read a bit further in the post, I've also included the story of how the Bee Sting Cake received its name. Bees were definitely involved. 😉
My friend and I have been making this cake on repeat! We love it, but both of us have trouble with the cake falling in the middle making it next to impossible to cut in half. What are we doing wrong?
Hi Elizabeth. I'm so glad you're enjoying the taste. As for the cake falling apart. Yes, that can be a bit tricky and it has happened to me, too. (Bee Sting Cake is my husband's favorite cake so I make it quite often :-))
This is what has helped me. Our serrated knife old, so I bought a new one (not just for this recipe). It's really large but it cuts the cake like butter. Here's the link the exact knife I bought. It's inexpensive but really good.
More tips. Make sure the cake's cooled down before slicing it. And if you have an accident and it breaks a little, just drizzle some extra sliced almonds on top. . 😉 Hope that helps.
This was delicious and everyone loved it! No issues with the cake rising although I have a 9 inch springform so that size seemed to work perfectly. Only change was to add a drizzle of honey over the top. Next time I might add just a little in with the filling too for that extra honey flavour. Thanks so much. 🙂
😟Why did ALL the almonds sink to the bottom?
To be honest, I have never come across this problem. I just called my dad, who is an avid baker. Here are a couple of questions we came up with.
Is it possible that you did not preheat the oven? Or did you, by chance, leave the batter sitting outside for a while?
Did you use sliced almonds?
Could it be possible that the eggs were off?
I'm sorry I don't have a better answer; I've just never come across this issue.
After reading the comments about difficulty in slicing this cake layer, I decided to use my Zenker flan/tart (“Tortenboden”) baking pan instead of a regular springform pan. The cake popped right out of the tart pan and I filled the indentation with the custard and sprinkled the almonds on top. Very pretty presentation and it sliced perfectly.
The picture of ingredients says 2 vanilla pudding packs but the written ingredients say 1 vanilla pudding pack. Can you clarify? I plan to make this for an upcoming Oktoberfest. Thanks!
Hi Leslie. Thank you so much for spotting the mistake. The recipe card has the correct information. And now I've updated the image, too. Hope you'll enjoy the recipe. 💖
Sounds wonderful and easy. Thanku very much for the recipient and all the helpful hints and tips 😀
Delicious and so easy!!