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Jul 20, 2022

Beehive Cake

This beehive cake, with layers of banana cake and frosted with a honey buttercream, is a delicious and fun baking project. 

Beehive Banana Cake with Swiss Buttercream on a cake stand with marzipan bees.

If you're interested in dipping your toes into the world of cake decorating, but want a cake that is very forgiving, this cake is perfect.

You can actually use any cake and frosting recipe you want, including boxed mixes. You need the equivalent amount of batter that you would need for a sheet cake or a two 9-inch layers for a cake, plus enough frosting to frost a three layer cake. 

The best and most fun part of making this cake is making the bees!

Beehive Cake with marzipan bees on toothpicks.

This beehive cake is designed to look like a "skep," which was a straw dome made for beekeeping. Skeps were made from twisted and coiled straw and sat on wooden platforms and were hollow on the inside so that bees could build a honeycomb. 

Beekeepers would capture colonies and place them inside the skeps. There would be a hole or holes somewhere so that the bees could come in and out, but the main goal was for the beekeeper to be able to harvest honey (Source: Carolina Honeybees). 

How to Make this Beehive Cake:

If you'd like to follow the recipe I used, you will need to make a banana cake as well as a Swiss buttercream frosting where the sugar is replaced with honey. 

In addition, you will need to make a pecan brittle candy that you chop up and add to the frosting for the middle layers. 

Plus, you get to make some marzipan honeybees that you paint with food coloring and luster dust and decorate with almond slice wings! That's the most fun part! 

Beehive Cake round layers cooling on a rack.

To Make the Cake Layers:

You will need three layers of cake, two eight-inch rounds, plus a dome for the skep, which you can bake in an eight-inch round metal or heatproof glass bowl. They do actually make 8 inch domed cake pans, but, for once, I didn't buy one (I already have a 6 inch one that I've never used). 

Instead, I used an eight-inch stainless steel bowl from a set I've had forever (pictured below). The layer baked in the bowl a bit longer than the layers baked in the pans, even though the amount of batter was a little bit less, probably because the center was deeper. 

Beehive Cake dome layer on a cooling rack.

Be sure to generously grease and flour the pan so that the cake does not stick. I only lost a tiny shaving of cake off of the top. 

To Make the Bees:

You will need a small amount of marzipan, some black gel food coloring, some gold luster or shimmer dust, almond slices, and toothpicks. 

I used store bought marzipan but you can actually make your own by processing equal parts almond flour, sugar, plus a little bit of almond extract, egg white, and rose water. 

With clean hands, shape the marzipan into small ovals about the size of large vitamin capsules, paint them with two or three black stripes across the "body," and then brush them with the luster dust between the black stripes. 

Finally, press two almond slices into each "bee" for the wings. 

To Frost this Cake:

To create the "skep" look with the frosing, after you have assembled the layers, cover the cake with a crumb coating. Once the crumb coating has set, spread the rest of the frosting over the cake and smooth it as best you can. 

Next, using an offset frosting spatula and a cake turntable, and beginning at the top of the cake, turn the cake slowly and move the spatula downward to create a spiral. 

The frosting is flavored with vanilla along with the honey. I used vanilla bean paste, which has little flecks of vanilla beans in it. 

Beehive Cake shaped like a skep with yellow frosting.

To Make This Recipe:

As mentioned, you can use any recipe you like. For this cake, I made the banana cake and honey Swiss buttercream from the fabulous book, Zoë Bakes Cakes. In addition, I added some crushed pecan brittle as suggested by the same book to the frosting between the layers. 

The banana cake is absolutely wonderful and light. It stays moist for days and is also great for a sheet pan cake. 

The honey Swiss buttercream, like most Swiss buttercreams, requires a bit of a high wire act. You will need to heat honey and egg whites until they reach a temperature of 140 degrees F and then whip them until they are fluffy and foamy. 

Double boiler set up with stand mixer bowl in a pan.

You'll need to use your metal stand mixer pan as the top of a double boiler, along with a thermometer set up to cook the egg whites and honey. 

Once the eggs and honey have cooled back down to room temperature while you are whipping them, you add softened butter and continue to beat everything until it comes together. 

At first, everything will look a bit curdled as you beat it, but it will eventually come together. 

Beehive Cake slice with a marzipan bee on the plate.

You can make this frosting in advance and refrigerate or freeze it, but you will have to re-beat it with the paddle attachment to make it spreadable. Keep in mind that it will again curdle at first, but will finally come together and return to a smooth texture eventually. 

It will seem like it takes forever, and it will look terrible at first. Have faith. You will be rewarded with a smooth spreadable frosting. 

To Make the Brittle:

This recipe also calls for a walnut brittle that you make, pulse in a food processor, and then add to half of the frosting. 

While the original recipe calls for walnuts, I had some pecans in my freezer so I decided to use those instead. 

First, cook sugar with a tiny amount of water and corn syrup without stirring until it begins to brown around the edges, and then cook, stirring constantly, until it is the color you are looking for. Remove it from the heat and add the pecans or walnuts, plus a pinch of salt, stir, and then thinly spread everything over a lightly oiled parchment lined baking sheet. 

Pecan brittle on a piece of parchment.

Once the brittle has cooled, pulse it in a food processor until you have a chunky mixture about the size of pine nuts. Save this mixture to stir into half of the frosting. 

This cake requires a lot of pans to make but it is a labor of love. In fact, at the end of the long day of baking this cake, I posted a photo of my kitchen sink of all of the pans I used and washed in my Instagram Stories and everyone could relate. 

Sink full of cleaned dishes.

This is my second adventure with Swiss buttercream. I'd love to try this cake with a lighter frosting, such as Miracle Frosting, which is also cooked. 

As far as the cake goes, any of your favorite cakes will work. I went with this banana cake because I had a boatload of super ripe frozen bananas just looking for a recipe. 

Beehive Cake Slice next to whole cake.

Welcome to this month's Cake Slice Bakers! 

Cake Slice Bakers Logo.

Each month The Cake Slice Bakers are offered a selection of cakes from the current book we are baking through. This year it is Zoë Bakes Cakes by Zoē François. We each choose one cake to bake, and then on the 20th we all post about our cake on our blogs. There are a few rules that we follow, but the most important ones are to have fun and enjoy baking & eating cakes!

Follow our Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages where you can find all of our cakes, as well as inspiration for many other cakes. You can also click on the links below to take you to each of our cakes. If you have a blog and are interested in joining The Cake Slice Bakers and baking along with us, please send an email to thecakeslicebakers at gmail dot com for more details.

The Cake Slice Bakers also have a Facebook group called The Cake Slice Bakers and Friends. This group is perfect for those who do not have a blog but want to join in the fun and bake through this book.

Zoe Bakes Cakes Book Cover.

It is 2022 and our book is - Zoë Bakes Cakes - Our choices for July 2022 were ~

Beehive Cake

Hot Milk Sponge Cake

Blueberry Muffin Cake

Beehive Cake with marzipan bees on a cake stand.

Beehive Cake

Beehive Cake
Yield: 16 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 1 H & 50 MCook time: 1 HourInactive time: 1 H & 15 MTotal time: 4 H & 5 M
This beehive cake, with layers of banana cake and frosted with a honey buttercream, is a delicious and fun baking project.


For the Bees
  • About a 1 1/2 inch by 2 inch slice of marzipan, divided into 12 small pieces
  • Black gel food coloring
  • Gold edible shimmer/luster dust
  • 1/4 cup almond slices
For the Brittle
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) whole or chopped pecans
  • Pinch of salt
For the Cake
  • 360 grams (3 cups) all purpose flour
  • 450 grams (2 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 480 grams (2 cups) very ripe mashed bananas (about 4 large)
  • 3/4 cup neutral oil such as grapeseed or vegetable
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
Honey Buttercream
  • 510 grams (1 1/2 cups) honey
  • 6 room temperature large egg whites (1 cup)
  • 660 grams (3 cups) room temperature unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 to 3 drops yellow gel food coloring (optional)


To Make the Bees
  1. Form 12 small pieces of marzipan into the size of a vitamin capsule, about 1/2 inch long.
  2. Paint 2 to 3 stripes on the cyllinders with black gel food coloring and let dry.
  3. Using a small paintbrush, brush the gold dust between the black stripes.
  4. Insert the almond slices into the bees for the "wings."
  5. Insert a toothpick part way into the bee (not all of the way through.
  6. Set aside for decorating the finished cake.
To Make the Brittle
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with spray oil.
  2. Add the sugar, water, and corn syrup to the center of a medium saucepan and heat over high heat without stirring at all. Let boil until the edges just begin to turn brown.
  3. Begin stirring while the mixture continues to cook. When the mixture has reached an amber color, remove it from the heat and stir in the pecans and salt.
  4. Immediately pour it onto the parchment-lined baking sheet in a thin layer. Let cool completely.
  5. Pulse the cooled mixture in a food processor until you have pieces about the size of pine nuts.
  6. Keep in an airtight container until ready to use (no longer than 3 days).
To Make the Banana Cake Layers
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 8-inch round cake pans with parchment and spray with nonstick spray. Grease and flour an 8-inch round metal bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, combine the banana, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  4. Whip the heavy cream to medium peaks and fold it with a rubber spatula into the batter.
  5. Divide the batter among the two pans and the bowl and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. The bowl may take an extra 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To Make the Frosting
  1. Combine the honey and egg whites in the metal bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring it to a simmer. Place the bowl with the egg whites and honey over the simmering water and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 140 degrees F.
  3. Immediated transfer the mixture to the mixer and beat with the wire whisk on medium-high speed until light and glossy and the bowl has returned to room temperature.
  4. Begin adding the, 2 tablespoons at a time, on medium speed. Once all of the butter has been added, continue mixing for about one minute until the buttercream is smooth and glossy. Change the speed to low and add the vanilla and salt.
To Assemble the Cake
  1. Divide the frosting in half and add the brittle pieces to one half. You can stir 2 to 3 drops of yellow food coloring into the other half.
  2. Place one of the round layers on your cake plate and frost the top with 1/2 of the brittle filled frosting on top of the layer and then place the other round layer on top and frost with the rest of the brittle filled frosting. Top with the layer baked in the bowl. Coat the cake with a crumb coating and chill for a few minutes.
  3. Smooth the other half of the frosting over the whole cake, and then, using an offset frosting spatula, and beginning at the top of the cake, run the spatula lighly in a spiral, moving down the cake as you slowly turn the cake on a cake decorating turntable.
  4. Insert the bees into the cake so that they look like they are buzzing around the hive.

Nutrition Facts



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cake, cake decorating
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Would you like to comment?

  1. Of course you HAD to make this cake as you had the perfect cake plate on which to serve it. I love that!!!!

  2. You noticed!!! I love my bee cake stand!

  3. What a beautiful version of the beehive cake…and on the perfect cake stand. The combination of banana and honey sounds delicious! Those bees are so cute. Glad they were fun to make!

  4. Outstanding - brave woman! And I love the photo of your full sink - I can relate (and usually have frosting in my hair, too)!

    1. Ha ha! My pants are usually covered in flour (on the backside) from subconsiously wiping my floury hands on them.

  5. Karen, this cake turned out beautifully and that gorgeous cake stand is a perfect match!! I can relate to that sink full of pans!! 😁 I love to decorate cakes and cookies. I had a little homebased business for a few years. I enjoyed reading this post, thanks!!

  6. I love your cake stand, and your banana cake looks so yummy.

  7. I believe I bought it from Williams Sonoma but I think it's no longer available.


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