English for beekeepers

Wednesday wordphile: bee sting cake

Recently, a friend in Virginia was invited to dinner where he was served a bee sting (Bienenstich) cake. The woman who baked the cake is of German decent and likes to cook in a traditional German style. This cake is one of her specialties.

A little research on the web shows a host of variations on the bee sting cake, but most sources describe it as being made from a brioche-style dough which is slathered in honey just before it is baked. Afterward, the cake is sliced horizontally and filled with a custard cream filling and topped with honey-glazed almonds.

I found two stories behind the name. One says the baker who invented the cake was stung as he applied the honey glaze. The other story asserts that the dough swells up like a bee sting when it is baked.

The French, it seems, disagree. They call the cake “nid d’abeilles” which means “bee’s nest” and their stories don’t mention anything about stings. C’est la vie.


  • Bienenstich from where I come from is a cake (Blechkuchen, i.e. a cake with dough rolled out the length of a brownie pan) that has a sweet gooey layer of a mixture of coconut flakes in butter and honey spread on top of a rolled out yeast dough. During baking the sugar caramelizes especially around the coconut flakes that stick out – hmm. As to the name – don’t know where it come from. It’s just my favourite cake and – note to self – I must bake it again soon…
    ps: love your blog, helps me tremendously during my first year in beekeeping

    • Ellen, I would love your recipe if you would share it. This cake sounds amazing.

      And I’m going to have to try finding one of the brioche/honey/custard/almond recipes to try too, Rusty. Thanks for this 🙂

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