Because this will definitely make you feel like you’re in heaven/aka on a fluffy cloud of deliciousness in the sky. I don’t know what I’m saying, but the real point here is, despite the fact that this cake technically started off as a bit of a disaster for me (a bit more on that later since I always promise complete honesty with you dear reader), which is why this is probably not the most authentic bee sting cake in the history of the universe, it more than redeemed itself. I’ll put it for you this way: usually, if I made a whole cake, it’s because it’s someone’s birthday, so I know many other people will be eating it, and it won’t sit there taunting me. Or I’d freeze a portion, or I’d end up dumping some of it (which is a tragedy of course, but if I’m dead from being in a sugar coma, then there shall be no more desserts forthcoming, and that’s its own kind of tragedy 🙁 ), but this one was eaten mostly by me (seriously, Kevin also really liked it, and probably ate 1/4-1/3 of the cake, but he seemed to have more self control than me on this one). I’d make the huge mistake of telling myself not to cut a whole piece because I was “…just going to have one forkful”, and then I’d proceed to eat the equivalent of two pieces. Self control fail 🙁 . I actually reminded myself of that episode of Sex in the City where Miranda basically does the same thing with a chocolate cake if you remember this scene:
Also, Homer from the sub that made him sick episode:
So basically what I’m saying is, after this cake, I was seriously considering going to a dessert-a-holics meeting (full disclosure – partly because I’d probably get great baking ideas from those crazy people 😉 ).
So why was this almost a disaster you ask? Well, part of the reason I chose to make this was because I’d never made a yeasted cake dough before, and traditionally, that’s what this cake is supposed to be. Essentially, 2 layers of yeasted cake, sandwiched together with custard, and topped with a caramelized honey-almond concoction of deliciousness. Also, in theory, though it sounded somewhat time consuming, the actual active baking time for this is really nowhere near as long as you might think (I think making the topping took the longest). However, if you are making a yeasted cake dough, yeast needs time to do its whole alchemy thing and puff up your dough like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man if he got too close to the campfire on a camping trip (when will he ever learn? 😉 ). “Sweet” I thought to myself, “I can actually make this in minimal effort stages, easy-peasy!”. Poor little naive Amber, my current self says shaking her head with sadness. I thought I’d be a genius and make the custard filling and the cake dough the night before I was going to make this (allowing the cake to finish proofing overnight, which apparently is a totally acceptable thing in this case), and then it would essentially just be assembly time on the day of! Well…you know what they say when you “assembly” (you make an ass out of …umm…”em” and “bly”? Poor Em and Bly, they weren’t even there and they’re made to look bad 😉 ).
Anywho, after doing the requisite initial proof of the dough, I noticed it had a very extreme lack of rise (I’ve made bread from scratch many a time, so I in theory know what’s supposed to be happening here). Well…maybe it’s just ’cause it’s cake or something? Maybe when I go to use it tomorrow it’ll be perfect? (spoiler alert – it wasn’t 🙁 ). The next day when I jauntily skipped down the stairs to the kitchen to commence the final stages of deliciousness creation, I discovered the cake was still totally flat. I still tried baking it, but it was basically a brick when it came out of the oven (and frankly didn’t taste that great….a little too bready).
The custard on the other hand was AMAZING (to me at least, I kept taste testing it to make sure it was still good the next day – which of course it was, but you can never be too careful right? 😉 ) and I really didn’t want it to go to waste, so it was on to plan B (…which is also accurately called “the morning after plan” in this scenario 😉 ). I made a vanilla cake that I make a lot, but, in the interest of making it more beesting-like, I opted to replace some of the sugar with honey (as per usual with me, I don’t mind honey, but if you do, maple syrup, agave, or any other liquid sweetener of your choice may be substituted). The honey added to the cake was a super win in my personal opinion. It actually made the cake less sweet than usual (had a bit of a sweetened cornbread flavour to it actually), but frankly, with the creaminess of the custard and the sweetness of the topping, it was actually the perfect balance (plus, then you can tell yourself there’s less sugar than usual, so it’s really not as bad for you? …Ok, that’s just me telling myself that. I’ll tell you guys the truth, but apparently I’m perfectly content to lie to Amber – shhh…don’t tell her 😉 ).
Now get out there and make this cake! It may have lived up to its name with for me by providing me with an unexpected sting in my side, but I’ll take it so that I can in turn save you all from such a fate. You may now walk off into the sunset with cake (and EpiPen) in hand. It’s Un-BEE-lievable! (c’mon, stop you’re groaning – like you didn’t know that pun was going to make an appearance here at some point 🙂 ).
Yield: 1 9″ cake
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 cup canned coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon honey (or agave, maple syrup, date syrup or vegan honey)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large egg yolks (the Vegg)
- 1/4 cup cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon Amaretto (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups cake/pastry flour (or all purpose is fine too)
- 2/3 cup cane sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegan butter, room temperature
- 2 egg replacer
- ¼ cup honey (or agave, maple syrup, date syrup or vegan honey)
- 1/2 cup no-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Caramelized Almond-Honey Topping
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter
- 3 tablespoons honey (or agave, maple syrup, date syrup or vegan honey)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon canned coconut milk
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix the sugar and prepared vegan egg yolks together. Sift the flour and cornstarch together and then add to the egg mixture, whisking until you get a smooth paste.
- In a small saucepan bring the non-dairy milk, coconut milk, honey and vanilla to just barely boiling
- Remove from heat and slowly add to “egg” mixture, whisking constantly.
- Pour the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture for another minute or so until it becomes thicker.
- Remove from heat and immediately whisk in Amaretto if using. Pour into a bowl and immediately cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature. Note: I made this the night before, so if you do the same, refrigerate it until ready to use (at this point you will want to warm it up slightly and beat it with a hand mixer to make it smooth again. Not need to do this if you’re using it right away though).
- For the cake – preheat oven to 325F and grease a 9 inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the paper and dust with flour, knocking out excess flour (I highly recommend not skipping this step, it will make removing the cake from the pan afterwards much, much easier).
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- On low speed of a hand mixer, slowly add in the vegan butter a few cubes (or blobs if you’re me) at a time, mixing until there are no huge chunks left.
- Add egg replacer one at a time, blending between each addition.
- Add in the honey, vanilla and almond extracts, mixing to combine.
- Add in the almond milk in a few additions, mixing between each addition.
- Pour batter into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- While cake is baking, prepare the almond-honey topping by combining the butter, honey, brown sugar, coconut milk and salt, and bring to a gentle boil on the stovetop.
- Stir in the almonds, and continue simmering for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly before removing from the heat.
- When cake is almost done, remove from the oven and immediately pour the almond-honey mixture evenly over the cake, spreading carefully with a spoon or spatula.
- Turn the oven up to broil and bake for about 5 minutes (basically until the almond are browning, but not burning, so keep a close eye on it)
- Allow to cool completely in the pan before carefully inverting cake onto a plate. At this point, to make the next step easier (i.e. slicing the cake in half), I stuck the cake in the freezer for about 15 minutes, but this is optional.
- Using a serrated knife, slice the cake in two and carefully remove the top and place it aside. Spread the custard on the bottom layer and again, carefully place the top layer back on. Refrigerate to allow custard to firm up again.
- I stored this in the refrigerator because it was pretty warm out, but I think it would be fine at room temperature for a few days as well.