This cake is a nice example of how a little honey can add a unique sweetness to pastries. The base is composed of a yeasted cake dough and topped with a honey-nut-caramel mix. Many of the Bee Sting recipes I saw* used almonds but I had quite a few pecans on hand, so pecans it was. The cake is sliced crosswise and filled with pastry cream and though most recipes didn’t include it, I put a little honey in that too.
In adding my Runamok twists, I made this cake several times and could not figure out how the recipe writers managed to put the pastry cream in between layers of what turns out to be a fairly dense cake without having it all splooge out when you cut it. I decided that they were no more successful than I was, they just made it look presentable for the photo. I will spare you the insecurity that you have done something wrong (you likely didn’t) and recommend adding the pastry cream as you serve it up.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons Runamok High Plains Clover Honey (or other sweet honey)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 pinches salt
1 1/2 cups sliced pecans or almonds
For the pastry cream filling:
1 cup whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Runamok High Plains Clover Honey (or other sweet honey)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk and eggs together. Add the milk mixture and butter to the flour mixture and stir with a spoon until well combined and the butter is fully incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot for about an hour. It should rise just a little.
Make the caramel by putting the butter, sugar, heavy cream and salt into a medium sized pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and stir the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved. Let the caramel bubble until the color changes to nut brown and then remove from the heat. Add the nuts and set aside to cool.
When the dough has risen, line a nine or ten inch cake pan with parchment and butter the sides. Add the dough and spread it evenly. Let it rise again for a half hour. Preheat the oven to 375.
When ready to bake, pour the nut mixture evenly over the dough. If it has become thick, use a spoon to dot the top and then spread as gently as you can. Put the dough in the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the top is golden and a fork inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven to cool.
To make the pastry cream, put the milk in a medium pot and heat until steam rises but don’t boil it. In a separate bowl, put the egg yolks, sugar, honey, cornstarch and whisk until combined. Add a little of the hot milk to the egg mixture and stir. Repeat until half of the milk is added. Return the egg-milk mixture to the pot and turn the heat on low. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and then remove from the heat. Add the butter and vanilla and stir to incorporate. Set aside to cool.
When ready to serve, cut a wedge of the cake and then cut through it lengthwise, taking off the top. Place a generous dollop of cooled pastry cream in the middle and return the top. Serve with flourish.
*Recipe adapted from Food52 and Smitten Kitchen