500 g (1 lb 2 oz) cream cheese, softened
250 g (9 oz) ricotta cheese
zest of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons lemon juice
125 g (41/2 oz/1 cup) icing sugar, sifted
300 g (101/2 oz/2 cups) plain flour
55 g (2 oz/1/4 cup) caster sugar
2 teaspoons dried yeast
185 ml (6 fl oz/3/4 cup) milk, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
60 g (21/4 oz/1/4 cup) softened butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Honey almond topping
90 g (31/4 oz/⅓ cup) butter, diced
50 g (13/4 oz) honey
75 g (⅓ cup) caster sugar
40 ml (11/4 fl oz) thick (double) cream
150 g (51/2 oz) flaked almonds
Preheat oven to 170C (325F/Gas 3).
Grease and line the base and side of a 23 cm (9 inch) spring-form cake tin.
For the filling, place ingredients in an electric mixer fitted with a flat paddle and mix until just combined. Refrigerate until needed.
For the cake, place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix with a flat paddle attachment on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the batter into the spring-form cake tin and spread out evenly with a spoon or offset spatula. Place the tin in a clean plastic bag and tie to enclose.
Leave in a warm, draught-free place and allow to rise for 1–1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the topping. Place butter, honey, sugar and cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5–6 minutes until the mixture turns a slightly darker shade of yellow. Add almonds and stir through.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool until the cake dough has finished rising.
Starting at the edges, spoon the topping evenly over the cake dough and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes on a wire rack set over a baking tray to catch any caramel drips. Release the side of the cake tin and remove the baking paper from the side. Leave until completely cool before slicing.
Use a long serrated knife to halve the cake horizontally. Place the top half on a flat plate.
Spread the filling evenly over bottom half of the cake using a palette knife or spatula and cover with the top layer of the cake.
Bee sting cakes are best eaten on the day they are baked, though they can be partly prepared the day before: keep the risen dough in an airtight container at room temperature, then bake and fill the following day.
Note: You can also use a non-spring-form tin; just let the cake cool for 0 minutes before turning it out. Be very careful as the caramel will still be warm.
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus1-1 1/2 hours rising time, plus 2 hours cooling
Cooking: 40 minutes
Recipe and Images from Backyard Bees by Doug Purdie, published by Murdoch Books $35.00, photographer Cath Muscatt.