“The measuring and mixing always smoothed out her thinking processes – nothing was as calming as creaming butter – and when the kitchen was warm from the oven overheating and the smell of baking chocolate, she took final stock of where she’d been and where she was going. Everything was fine.”
― Jennifer Crusie, Maybe This Time
A year of baking breads together and what an adventure we had. All thanks to Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen. We conquered the croissants, baked the doughnuts, ate some honeycombs, twisted a few pretzels, made savoury kugelhopfs, wafted in the aromas of cinnamony kanel snegle and went around the world with many more delightful breads.
For our 12th bread of the year, we had the Bienenstich Kuchen – a traditional German sweet yeasted cake that has a baked on topping of crunchy almond toffee-like layer and filled with a vanilla pastry cream. Bienenstich is traditionally eaten as dessert but also served with tea or coffee. Made with an enriched brioche-like dough that’s typical for yeasted cakes means that it contains a lot of butter, some milk and eggs. What’s not to like!
The honey and almonds make a caramel crunch top, which is the best part of the cake. Though I did add the pastry cream filling, I loved the cake without it. The husband on the other hand, loved the entire thing.
This cake/bread is also being Yeastspotted
Bienenstich Kuchen – Bee Sting Cake
- Heat up the milk, the sugar and salt.. Bring it to a simmer and let the sugar dissolve over medium heat.
- Whisk the cornstarch and egg yolks until creamy.
- Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture the egg yolks to temper them. Do not add too much hot milk into the eggs at the same time, it can curdle the eggs.
- Gently bring the egg and milk mixture to a slow boil by placing it back on the heat and stirring continuously. Allow it to thicken and then remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve. Stir in the butter and vanilla extract.
- Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and make sure it touches the top of the pastry cream and refrigerate until you need it.
To make the dough
- heat the milk until it is quite hot but not boiling.
- Cut the butter into pieces and add to the milk, stirring it until the better melts completely.
- Let it cool a little.
- Put the flour, sugar, salt and the yeast in the bowl of your processor. Run a couple of times to mix well and then add the egg (leave the egg out if you don’t use it). Run again till the egg has also mixed well. Now add the butter-milk mixture (it should be warm, not hot) and the then knead till it forms a smooth and soft brioche-like dough that’s just short of sticky. It should come way from the sides of the bowl and be easy to handle.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl. Cover loosely and let it rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. This dough will rise quite well but not to double or as much as your regular bread dough.
- Deflate the dough, and shape again to a smooth ball. Place it in a 8” spring form cake tin lined with parchment. It is important to do this otherwise the topping will make the bread/ cake sticky and difficult to unmould. Flatten the dough a little, pressing down lightly so that the dough fits the cake tin. It doesn’t matter if its not touching the sides like batter does. Let it rise for about 30 to 45 minutes. It will not rise very much and look a little puffy.
Make the topping
- Melt the butter, sugar, honey and vanilla in a small pan, over medium heat.
- Keep stirring frequently and it will start bubbling up.
- Let it cook for about 3 minutes or so until it turns to a light beige color.
- Add the sliced almonds, and stir well till the almonds are well coated. Take the pan off the heat and let it cool a bit. The mixture will become quite thick.
Bake the Cake
- Once the dough has risen, spread the topping on the cake as uniformly as you can
- Bake at 180C (350F) for about 25 to 35 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbling. A cake tester through the centre should come out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Then gently loosen the sides with a spatula and release from the mold and Let it cool completely on a rack.
- When it has cooled completely, slice the cake into two equal layers carefully, using a very sharp knife. Spread the pastry cream on the lower layer and top with the upper layer and refrigerate till ready to serve.