Almonds are the “go to” alternative for those who prefer a gluten free diet. I love this ingredient because when substituted in part with flour it changes the texture to a rich moist crumb structure. This is the very reason why I am putting my own twist on the bee sting cake doing exactly this. Rumour has it that this cake has it origins in Germany, but it is also common in South Africa. So if you are looking for a crunch in your sponge, this is the cake to embrace.
I have been using Almonds in baking for almost 6 years, my first foray was making macarons. I can assure you that ground almonds can vary from one supermarket to another, but I find the ones in high end supermarkets to be of the highest quality. Although, this is not where I shop from week to week, as I tend to hop around for the best value for money, because when it comes to baking, quality trumps quantity or price.
When I first made this cake my son who does not like bits in his sponge loved the richness of the sponge texture and the crème pâtissière plus the crunch from the flaked almonds and honey topping. It is in every way a perfect combination. This cake goes perfectly with tea or coffee, or it could be the perfect dessert after a main course. Someday I am hoping to combine the topping with toasted coconut or substitute the flaked almonds with flaked coconuts. I think it will be awesome if you are crazy about coconut like I am.
- 260g plain flour
- 60g ground almonds
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 120g caster sugar
- 120g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 medium sized eggs
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 100g full fat milk
To Bee Sting Topping
- 40g honey
- 40g unsalted butter
- 40g granulated sugar
- 80g flaked almonds
- A pinch of salt (Again!)
- 1 tablespoon full fat milk
- 230g milk
- 4 medium egg yolks
- 50g caster sugar
- 30g corn flour
- 30g unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 pinches of sea salt
- First prepare the crème pâtissière by whisking the egg yolks and sugar until it is pale in colour.
- Add the corn flour and whisk together.
- Bring the milk to the boil
- Pour the hot milk into the sugar and egg yolk combination whisking rapidly to prevent curdling.
- Return the mix back to the heat for about 2 minutes whisking continuously until it thickens.
- Once removed from heat add the almond extract.
- Transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film to prevent a skin from forming on the surface.
- Place in fridge until it is completely cooled.
- Grease and line a 22cm cake tin with parchment paper.
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
- Prepare the topping first by combining all the ingredients in a saucepan heating for about 2 minutes and set aside.
- Add the plain flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt to a bowl then mix together using a spatula until all combined (Sift it necessary).
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a separate bowl.
- Add the eggs into the butter and sugar one at a time combining the batter, then finally add the vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients a fourth at a time with a fourth of the milk.
- Once the batter is well combined empty contents into the cake tin spreading evenly ready for the topping.
- Pour the topping prepared earlier on top of the batter and bake for 40 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean.
- Once fully baked remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then remove and place on a cooling rack to cool completely
- Once cooled cut the cake horizontally in 3 equal parts.
- Transfer the crème pâtissière to a piping bag with a nozzle attached and pipe between the cake layers.
- Cut the cake, indulge and enjoy.