The Secret Recipe for Brown’s Beehive Cake

Rocco Forte Hotels

Brown’s Head Pastry Chef Mathieu Dias is known for his kitchen alchemy. There’s a magic about baking – creating something delicious from basic ingredients using precise recipes mixed with plenty of flair. Mathieu’s individual Beehive Cakes exemplify his talent and have been popular with visitors since they were introduced as part of a special Afternoon Tea to celebrate the King’s Coronation. 

Creating the Honey and Apricot Beehive means blending sweet apricot with creamy yoghurt mousse atop a soft sponge. Follow Mathieu on his journey and learn how to recreate his recipe in your own kitchen…though you may need to divide the measurements by ten, as this makes a restaurant’s worth of cake!

Honey and Apricot Beehive


For the Yoghurt Mousse:

  • Water: 10ml
  • Sugar: 30g
  • Egg Yolk: 20g
  • UHT Cream: 108ml
  • Greek Yoghurt: 88g
  • Gelatine Mass: 9.5g
  • Vanilla Pod: 1 quarter


For the Sponge:

  • Eggs: 80g
  • Sugar: 50g
  • Gluten-Free Flour: 50g


For the Apricot Insert:

  • Frozen Apricot: 45g
  • Apricot Puree: 90g
  • Vanilla Pod: 1 eighth
  • Sugar: 15g
  • Agar Agar: 1,5g


Honey and Apricot Delice: 

For the Tuile: 

  • Icing sugar: 20g 
  • Egg white: 20g
  • Butter: 20g
  • Flour T55: 20g


For the Apricot Gel:

  • Apricot puree: 100ml
  • Sugar: 10g
  • Agar Agar: 1g


For the Chocolate: 

  • Opalys (white chocolate): 60g
  • Cocoa butter: 30g
  • Yellow colourant: 0.1ml



Yoghurt Mousse:

To make Sugar Syrup: Combine sugar and water, and gently heat until it reaches 121°C on a sugar thermometer. It'll become a clear, slightly thickened syrup – and it will be very hot, so be careful.

To make the Pâte à Bombe: This fancy term just means an egg yolk mixture that's been whipped with hot sugar syrup. It'll give our mousse a smooth, creamy texture. Begin by whipping the egg yolk. As it turns a pale yellow, slowly pour in the hot sugar syrup. It should feel thick and velvety, like a rich cream. Stir in the melted gelatine mass while it's still warm. This will help the mousse set later, so it's firm but not too hard.

Once your mixture feels cooler to touch, blend in the Greek yoghurt and the insides of the vanilla pods. You'll get a wonderful vanilla aroma that’s irresistibly sweet. In a separate bowl, whip the UHT cream until it’s just starting to hold its shape (think of the consistency of soft cloud). Gently fold this into your main mousse mixture. It should feel airy, almost like a light whipped cream.



Vigorously whip the eggs and sugar. This will take about ten minutes, so lots of elbow grease is required, but you'll know you’re on the right track when the mixture turns a pale yellow and feels fluffy, like a soft pillow.

Gently fold in sifted gluten-free flour by hand. Take care here; it's like folding a blanket, ensuring you keep all the air in.

Spread the batter evenly on a 60x40cm tray. Bake at 170°C and the kitchen should fill with a warm, sweet smell. In nine minutes it is done - take out the oven.

Once cooled, use a 2.5cm round cutter to shape. The sponge should feel springy, bouncing back when you press it lightly.


Apricot Insert:

Dice the frozen apricots – they’ll be cold to the touch but should chop easily. You can sometimes buy pre-diced apricots at supermarkets. Whichever option you choose, you will then combine the diced apricots with the defrosted apricot purée. 

Add in the vanilla and two-thirds of your sugar, then gently bring to a simmer. The aroma will grow richer and more tempting.

In a separate bowl, mix the remaining sugar with agar agar. Slowly add this to the simmering mixture, whisking for 3-4 minutes. It’ll transform into a glossy, slightly thick mix reminiscent of fruit jam.

Lay out silver foil and a silicone baking mat in a 60x40cm frame on a tray. Pour in the apricot mix. 

Once frozen, it'll firm up, making it easier to shape using a 2.5cm round cutter.



Begin by blending together icing sugar, flour, and egg whites using a paddle attachment until you achieve a smooth consistency. 

In a separate step, gently melt the butter, and then slowly incorporate it into the previously mixed ingredients. 

Allow the resulting mixture to rest for approximately one hour before it's ready for use. 

When you're ready to proceed, spread the mixture evenly into your chosen mould and bake it at 170°C for approximately 5-6 minutes until it's suitably set. 

After baking, ensure its freshness by storing it in a container along with silica gel to maintain its quality.


Apricot Gel:

To begin, defrost the puree and bring it to a gentle boil. Gradually introduce the blended sugar and agar into the boiling puree, ensuring a steady and even incorporation.

Continue to whisk the mixture consistently for approximately 4-5 minutes, allowing it to thicken adequately. 

Once achieved, transfer the mixture into a gastro container for setting. 

After it has set, utilise a Thermomix to finely blend the mixture to your desired consistency. These steps will help you create a well-prepared puree with a delightful texture.



Begin by gently melting the cocoa butter, taking care not to overheat it.

In a separate step, melt the chocolate until it's smoothly liquefied. 

Once both ingredients are in their liquid form, mix them together. 

Gradually add the powder to the mixture and hand-blend to create a well-mixed concoction. 

As you assemble, place the apricot insert onto the sponge and drape with the yoghurt mousse. Mould it into a pink beehive shape (you could use a cupcake mould if you can’t get hold of a beehive shaped mould). Finish with a drizzle of runny honey and you have a cake fit for a King. 


Once you’ve baked your own version, it’s time for the real thing. Book into Afternoon Tea at Brown’s to savour scones, finger sandwiches, and many more of Chef Mathieu’s striking creations.

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