Bee Sting Cake


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 In high school my mom and I would make frequent shopping trips in the next town over, and when we were feeling naughty we’d stop at the famous Coombs Market for a bee sting donut. My mom loves dessert as much as I do (she taught me to bake) and she’s always daydreaming about a slice of cold cake, that isn’t too sweet or too rich. Versus my dad, who will act like he’s unsure of the dessert but will be found at 2AM bent over the counter, fork in hand and a guilty look on his face. My dad doesn’t discriminate against desserts. I like him.

This cake has less than 1 cup of refined sugar in the entire recipe (plus 3 tablespoons of honey). It is a yeasted cake, lightly sweetened, with a homemade, smooth vanilla custard and caramelized almond slices for a crunchy topping.

Try it. You’ll like it. And if you don’t like it, then you can buzz off.

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant/rapid rise/bread machine yeast (not active dry)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

Custard

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch (or flour, I used cornstarch)
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Honey-Almond Topping

  • 6 tablespoons butter, cold is fine
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • Two pinches of sea salt

Method:

Cake: Mix all ingredients in a stand mixer (or mixing bowl) on low speed 2-3 minutes. Scrape down any batter stuck to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest 60 minutes until it puffs up a bit (it won’t fully double). While that’s rising, you can make your custard.

Custard: Warm milk in small pot on low heat, then pour into a spouted-measuring cup or small pitcher (something that pours easily). Set aside.

Rinse pot with cold water (to cool) and wipe dry. Off the heat, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until pale yellow and thick. Whisk in cornstarch (or flour) and salt until smooth. Slowly pour in the warm milk in a thin stream, whisking constantly, then once you have poured in half the amount you can pour in a steady stream. Return to heat on medium-high until the mixture bubbles, then simmer for 1-2 minutes, whisking and whisking. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla extract. Refrigerate to cool completely before using.

*Custard may come out of the fridge looking gelatinous, but just give it a hard stir and it will smooth back out.

Back to the cake: Grease a 9-inch round spring form pan. Stir the cake batter a little to degas, then scrape it into the pan and gently push it out to the edges to cover. Cover with plastic wrap (no touching the batter!!!) again and rise for another 30 minutes.

Honey-almond topping: In a small to medium pot on medium heat, combine ingredients  and heat until melted. Allow the mixture to simmer, then boil, 3-5 minutes, until it becomes a shade darker (from a yellow-tone to a light beige) stirring frequently. Fold in the almonds. Set aside to cool a little.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When the cake is finished its second rise, use a teaspoon to scoop small mounds of the almond mixture onto the cake batter, to cover as best you can. It will spread a bit while baking so don’t stress too much.

Bake cake on a rimmed baking tray (to catch any run-off caramel) for 20-25 minutes, until almonds are golden brown and toasted, and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean (it might have some caramel on it which is fine).

Transfer to a cooling rack for ten minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the cake and unclip the spring-form ring-thing (or generally just remove it from its pan). If you lose any almonds just press them back into the topping. Or eat them maybe.

Cut cake into two layers. Spread custard over the bottom layer to the edges, then top with second layer. Cut with a serrated knife. Eat in the closet so no one knows you have cake and then you get the whole cake to yourself. (One time I hid a cake in the pots cupboard so my sister wouldn’t be able to have any). IMG_3323Mix all ingredients in a stand mixer (or mixing bowl) on low speed 2-3 minutes. Scrape down any batter stuck to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 60 minutes until it puffs up a bit (it won’t fully double). While that’s happening, you will make the custard/pastry cream/yummy yellow-ish stuff.

IMG_3334Warm milk in small pot on low heat, then pour into a spouted-measuring cup or small pitcher (something that pours easily). Set aside.

Rinse pot with cold water (to cool) and wipe dry. Off the heat, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until pale yellow and thick. Whisk in cornstarch (or flour) and salt until smooth. Slowly pour in the warm milk in a thin stream, whisking constantly, then once you have poured in half the amount you can pour in a steady stream. Return to heat on medium-high until the mixture bubbles, then simmer for 1-2 minutes, whisking and whisking. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla extract. Refrigerate to cool completely, while you move on to the next step.

*Custard may come out of the fridge looking gelatinous and weird, but just give it a hard stir and it will smooth back out.

Grease a 9-inch round spring form pan. Stir the cake batter a little to degas, then scrape it into the pan and gently push it out to the edges to cover. Cover with plastic wrap (no touching the batter!!!) again and rise for another 30 minutes.

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yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah

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In a small to medium pot on medium heat, combine ingredients  and heat until melted. Allow the mixture to simmer, then boil, 3-5 minutes, until it becomes a shade darker (from a yellow-tone to a light beige) stirring frequently. Fold in the almonds. Set aside to cool a little.IMG_3343 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When the cake is finished its second rise, use a teaspoon to scoop small mounds of the almond mixture onto the cake batter, to cover as best you can. It will spread a bit while baking so don’t stress too much.

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Bake cake on a rimmed baking tray (to catch any run-off caramel) for 20-25 minutes, until almonds are golden brown and toasted, and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean (it might have some caramel on it which is fine).

Transfer to a cooling rack for ten minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the cake and unclip the spring-form ring-thing (or generally just remove it from its pan). If you lose any almonds just press them back into the topping. Or eat them maybe.
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Slice cake into two layers. See those dark spots in there? That’s CARAMEL.
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Oh, mama.

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Spread pastry cream over the bottom layer of the cake, to the edges. Flip the top layer into place. YA DUN.
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Did I post enough pictures? I’m trying to only photograph the things you need to see. I don’t think a bowl of dry ingredients is very interesting, nor is four different photos of custard. I think we all just need closeups of the cake?

Recipe inspired by Smitten Kitchen (one of my favorite blogs)!

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3 Comments

  1. Your cake turned out beautifully! This is a Smitten Kitchen recipe that I’ve been wanting to make for a while, but am somewhat intimidated by it. Maybe I’ll try it soon.

    1. Thank you so much! I was intimidated too, but I just went for it. Because I really wanted cake (hunger is the best kind of motivation). I love Smitten Kitchen!

      I took a browse at your blog as well – I am totally game to make the avocado toast. What a simple and easy breakfast idea for when I have to wake up at 5:30!

      Thanks for the comment! 🙂

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