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Bee-sting Pastries

The Beesting Cake (see image at the bottom of this post) has its origins in Germany.  It is said that the cake is called “bee sting” as it is thought that a bee was attracted to the honey topping on the cake, and that the baker who invented the cake was stung.   This popular German confection, aka Bienenstich Cake, can also be made as individual pastries (photo and recipe by Carolie de Koster). Also check out my recipe for Beesting Buns. They are a great alternative if you are craving Crispy Creme!

Basic sweet dough (you will only need ½ of the dough for this recipe)

8 g sachet instant yeast
4 cups (4 x 250 ml) cake flour
2 cups (500 ml) mildly lukewarm milk
½ cup (125 ml) sugar
½ cup (125 ml) butter or margarine
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
2 eggs
2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla essence
± 2 cups (500 ml) extra flour

Custard filling
3 cups (750 ml) milk
pinch salt¼ cup (60 ml) cake flour
¼ cup (60 ml) custard powder
1/3 cup (75 ml) cornflour
½ cup (125 ml) extra milk
3 eggs
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla essence
½ cup (125 ml) sugar
sugar to sprinkle over the custard

Caramel and nut topping
125 ml butter or margarine
125 ml sugar
125 ml cream
60 ml honey or syrup
100 g flaked or sliced almonds
5 ml vanilla essence

  1. To make the sweet dough, mix the yeast with the first measure of flour.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients except the extra flour and mix well.
  3. Add sufficient of the remaining flour gradually to form a dough which is quite soft but no longer sticky and knead the dough 3 – 4 minutes in the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook or turn out onto a floured surface and knead 5 – 6 minutes with floured hands until smooth and elastic.
  4. Return the dough to a floured bowl, cover and allow to rise about an hour or until completely doubled. 
  5. While the dough is rising, make the custard.
  6. Heat the milk to boiling point. Combine the salt, cake flour, custard powder and cornflour and mix to a smooth paste with the extra milk.
  7. Stir a little of the hot milk into the mixture, return to the saucepan and bring to boil over moderate heat, stirring continuously with a wire whisk until the mixture thickens. Boil gently for 2 minutes.
  8. Beat the eggs well and beat in about 125 ml of the hot mixture. Return to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring until the mixture starts to boil.
  9. Boil gently for about 3 minutes more, stirring until eggs have cooked completely to thicken the custard.
  10. Add the vanilla essence and sugar and beat well. Sprinkle the top lightly with sugar to prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool to room temperature before using.
  11. To make the topping, place the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to boil over moderate heat, stirring. Allow to simmer at least 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes syrupy. Cool to lukewarm.
  12. Grease 2 x medium 12 hole muffin tins and set it aside.
  13. Pinch off a golf ball size piece of the dough and weigh it with a kitchen scale. Each piece of dough should weigh about 25 grams.
  14. Cover the dough shapes with a clean kitchen towel and set aside to rise for 20 minutes.
  15. Divide the topping evenly between the dough shapes and allow to stand about 10 minutes while preheating the oven to 180ºC.
  16. Bake the pastries for 25 minutes until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
  17. Transfer the pastries to a cooling rack and allow to cool.
  18. Transfer the custard to a piping bag fitted with a start nozzle.
  19. Cut the cold pastries in half horizontally and pipe some of the custard filling onto each of the bottom halves.
  20. Cover the pastries with the top layer and serve.

16 servings


  • The recipe will make about 24 small pastries – if the balls are slightly larger and a few less pastries are made it will not matter at all.
  • The filled pastries will keep well if refrigerated for up to 4 days.
  • The baked pastries without custard filling freeze well to thaw and fill when required. To freeze half of the pastries and fill only half, cook half of the filling.

– substitute the custard filling with stabilized whipped cream or creme patisserie.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art Of Cooking recipe book page 851.

Below is a photo of a traditional Beesting Cake (photo credit: