Bastardised bee sting cake

Bastardised bee sting cake

Salted Caramel Dreams
23 cm cake
River Thompson

This recipe is inspired by laziness and my most loyal customers, Carmen and Layth, who torture me with leaflets from La Glace in Copenhagen – a wonderful pastry shop – and stories of mountainous sweetened whipped cream. I wasn’t getting a trip to Copenhagen any time soon, so I thought I’d better make my own lofty cream cake. I’d made a Bee Sting cake years ago and thought it a perfect place to start, although when I came to recipe testing I’d used all my honey reserves making the Honey Nut Flapjacks. The nearest shop being a bus ride away, I reached for the best alternative, maple syrup, and the rest – as they say – is history.


Quantity Ingredient

Cake dough

Quantity Ingredient
300g plain flour
60g caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fast-action dried yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt, crushed to a fine grain
200ml full-fat milk, just warm to the touch
2 large free-range eggs
60g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing

Almond topping

Quantity Ingredient
100g salted butter
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons double cream
1 teaspoon sea salt
150g flaked almonds

Caramel custard filling

Quantity Ingredient
300ml full-fat milk
125g caster sugar
4 large free-range egg yolks
30g dark soft brown sugar
40g plain flour

Cream layer

Quantity Ingredient
300ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
Dry caramel


  1. Begin by making the cake dough. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Make a well in the middle and add the milk, eggs and melted butter. Stir with a wooden spoon or your hands until you have a loose, cohesive dough. Cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour. The dough should be noticeably puffed.
  2. During the last few minutes of the rise, butter a 23 cm springform cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  3. Once risen, transfer the dough to the prepared tin. With movement, the dough should deflate slightly. Gently tease the dough to cover the base of the tin. Cover again with cling film and leave to rise again for 30 minutes.
  4. While the cake is rising for the second time, preheat the oven to 180°C and make the almond topping. Place the butter, maple syrup, double cream and sea salt in a medium pan and melt together over a medium heat, stirring often. Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until the mixture turns light golden brown. Stir in the almonds and set to one side to cool slightly.
  5. Once the cake has completed its second rise, evenly top the dough with the sticky almonds. This is made easier using 2 teaspoons to place little piles of sticky almonds all over the dough. The almond mixture may need to be warmed slightly if it is too stiff to handle.
  6. Bake the cake for 20–25 minutes, or until golden and bubbling on top and a cocktail stick (toothpick) inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave the cake in the pan and stand it on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before gently running a knife around the edge and removing the surround. Invert the cake and remove the baking parchment. Turn the right way up and leave to cool fully.
  7. While the cake is cooling, make the caramel custard filling. Bring the milk up just to a simmer, remove from the heat but cover to keep warm. In a medium saucepan, make a dark dry caramel with the sugar and add the warmed milk, not stirring until the bubbling has subsided. Return to a low heat and stir until the caramel has dissolved. Whisk together the yolks, brown sugar and flour in a medium heatproof bowl. Return the caramel milk to the heat and bring up just to a boil before removing from the heat. Slowly pour over the yolk mixture, whisking all the time and mixing well to combine. Return the combined mixture to the pan and cook over a low heat, whisking all the time, until the consistency of a thick custard, bearing in mind that the custard will thicken further as it cools. Cover the surface of the custard with cling film and cool to room temperature before refrigerating to chill fully.
  8. Once the cake is cooled and the custard is chilled, whip the cream and vanilla paste until thick, then spoon it into a large piping bag fitted with a wide nozzle of your choosing.
  9. To assemble, slice the cake in half, placing the bottom layer on a cake stand or plate. Stir the custard to loosen slightly and, with a small offset spatula, smooth on top of the bottom cake layer into an even layer. Evenly pipe the cream to cover the custard, then top with the top almond cake half. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes–1 hour to firm up the cream slightly. Serve lightly chilled.
  10. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 2–3 days, but this cake really is best eaten fresh, as with all good cream cakes.
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