Best “Napoleon” Cake Ever!

The cake comes out soft, moist and delicious! No more buying puff pastry for this cake, because you can now make it yourself at home.
I am excited beyond words to share with you this recipe, because it truly makes the best ‘Napoleon’ Cake ever! This recipe was gotten from here, but originally my friend Inna shared it with me on Facebook, for which I am grateful, thank you Inna! The cake comes out soft, moist and delicious! No more buying puff pastry for this cake, because you can now make it yourself at home.

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I think the secret to delicious and moist Napoleon is mainly letting it sit in the fridge or at room temperature, until the cake layers have absorbed enough of the frosting to make them soft and moist. Having very thin cake layers helps the cake get there faster. I think not fully comprehending these two is the epitome of why all those other recipes that I have tried, did not work. I always allowed the cake to sit in the fridge for 24 hours, but that just wasn’t enough. This time around I let it sit covered, at room temperature for 18 hours and then another 9 hours in the fridge before I let the knife touch it (if you do decide to keep it at room temperature, do it at own risk, as the frosting has eggs in it and can be spoiled if your room is too hot). I think allowing it to sit for 48 hours might’ve been even better.

The cake comes out soft, moist and delicious! No more buying puff pastry for this cake, because you can now make it yourself at home.
If you look at my pictures closely, you will see that the frosting is not as smooth as it is supposed to be, and you’re right. For some reason, even though my custard and the butter were all room temperature before I combined them, the butter did not fully incorporate in the cream. Next time, instead of combining the two after the custard cooled down, I will just add the butter while the cream is hot. Fortunately it had no affect on the taste and that is why I decided to go ahead and still post the recipe with pictures of my imperfect frosting.
The YouTube video from the gotovim-doma.com website had the ‘embed’ feature, so I included it in my post for you to see right here.

In addition to that, I made some changes to the amount of sugar included in the cream. After I allowed the cream to cool, I tried it and to my taste it was just not sweet enough. I knew that the whole cake would be even less sweet after the custard gets combined with completely unsweet cake layers, so I took the liberty and added full 1.5 cups powdered sugar to the recipe.

 

Best ‘Napoleon’ Cake Ever!

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 12-18 servings

Calories per serving: 549

Best ‘Napoleon’ Cake Ever!

Ingredients

    Quick Puff Pastry
  • 400 g. butter, cold
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 ml water, cold
  • 6 cups all purpose flour (650 g)
  • 3 tbsp vodka/cognac
  • 1 tbsp vinegar (9%)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Egg Yolk Custard
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 - 2 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 150-200 g butter

Instructions

    Make Puff Pastry
  1. Mix cold water, 1 tablespoon vinegar & 3 tablespoons vodka in a cup.
  2. In a separate cup whisk together eggs and salt. Combine mixtures of two cups and stir to combine.
  3. Add flour to the cup of your food processor. Add cold, cubed butter and pulse or process until the crumbs are pea size.
  4. Add the egg mixture and continue processing until the dough starts sticking to itself a bit, but is not formed yet.
  5. Pour the content of the food processor bowl onto work surface and start gathering and sticking the dough together with your hands, trying to work it as little as possible. Form a ball and kneed it for a couple of seconds until a dough forms.
  6. Shape the dough into a log and then cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, place on a plate, cover with plastic and refrigerate for about an hour.
  7. Work on the frosting
  8. Combine egg yolks & sugar in a bowl and whisk them together, adding 50 milliliters of milk to make it easier.
  9. Add the flour and whisk again, forming very uniform, clump free batter. Add another 50 milliliters of milk to make it easier.
  10. Heat the remaining milk in a pot until boiling, all the while stirring to keep the bottom from scorching.
  11. Transfer the the egg & flour mixture into a larger pot (about 3 quarts).
  12. Tamper the egg yolk mixture by slowly pouring the hot milk in, all the while mixing.
  13. Pour the mixture back into the pot and bring it to boil, continuously (!!) stirring and keeping the bottom of the pot from scorching. Once boiling, cook for 2-3 minutes.
  14. Add butter, allow to melt and stir to for a smooth custard.
  15. Allow the custard to cool by pouring it into a jelly roll baking sheet and covering it with plastic wrap (plastic wrap should touch the custard, to keep the skin from forming). Do not refrigerate, just bring to room temperature.
  16. Bake the cake layers
  17. Preheat oven to 400F. Set the rack in the middle.
  18. On a back of a jelly roll baking sheet, roll out 1 dough ball, until about 11-12 inches in size, by dusting the surface with flour as needed.
  19. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until lightly golden.
  20. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  21. Once the cake layers have cooled, place a 10 inch plate on top of each cake layer and cut around, collecting the scraps into a separate bowl and being careful to keep the cake layers from cracking.
  22. Crumble the cake scraps.
  23. Assembly
  24. Place a dab of frosting on a serving platter.
  25. Place first cake layer and press to adhere.
  26. Surround the cake layer by a cake ring. The rest of the cake will be built inside the ring.
  27. Place about 4 large spoons of frosting and smooth it around. Repeat with the rest of the frosting and cake.
  28. Cover the cake and keep at room temperature for 12 hours+12 hours in the fridge; or in the fridge for at least 48 hours before continuing.
  29. Run a knife between the cake and the ring. Remove the ring.
  30. Take some crumbled scraps into the palm of your hand and press them against the sides of the cake, all around. Sprinkle the rest of the cake crumbs on top of the cake. The cake scraps are not only for decoration, but also to keep a skin from forming on the custard.
  31. Serve chilled.

Pinit

The cake comes out soft, moist and delicious! No more buying puff pastry for this cake, because you can now make it yourself at home.

 

P.S. wonder if you can figure out how I made this cake look suspended in the air :) No Photoshop was used in achieving the look :)

 

Bon Appetite!

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Comments

  1. snezhana says

    Thank you for the great recipe. I made Napoleon for my husband’s birthday. It came out great. I bought dough from the store, so much easier and faster.

  2. says

    I have never made it without, but I guess you can replace it with iced water. The vodka gives for a better texture, and does not add any flavor :)

      • says

        I’m sure he’ll live without 1 tablespoon))) if anything just don’t tell him lol
        This cake is so easy to decorate that I’m sure it will look just as good as mine if not better!

  3. Aleksandra Markovich says

    Hey!

    So I’m using your quick pastry recipe and there is no salt measurement. Ahhh! I’m going to use a tablespoon.

  4. Amaliya says

    Must we hold it in the fridge for so long? Would it ruin the cake to hold it in the fridge for a less amount of time?

    • says

      It would not ruin it if you hold it for less, but the more it’s in the fridge the more the cake is able to absorb the cream and become softer, this means that you don’t have to peel layers off to eat the cake.

  5. Sasha says

    Как у вас 6 чашек муки равны 650 гр. Я умею печь Наполеон, но всегда смотрю другие рецепты, может кто-то лучше, но у вас много не правильно, а это очень плохо для новичков, они не понимают ц хто читают.Чашка муки в креме очень много.

    • says

      Здраствуйте Саша,
      Я очень рада что вы умеете печь Наполеон.
      Рецепты которые я выставляю я лично сама испробовала, этот не исключение. Только потому что этот рецепт не сходиться с вашими представлением и том что правильно а что нет не значит что в нем ошибки. Во-первых этот рецепт придумала не я, а всего навсего перевела из русского на английский (ссылка на оригинал есть в самом посте, плюс видео которое вы можете посмотреть выше и есть заснято девушкой которая поделилась рецептом), во вторых вес чашки с мукой зависит от того просеяна мука или нет, и в итоге может варьировать от 95 грам до 125 грам. Мука измерялась мерной чашкой, а не для чая. Этот елемент на английском понятен и объяснять не надо, а в России не совсем, потому иногда уточняют. В принципе для того и написали в оригинальном рецепте вес муки, что бы небыло недопониманий.
      На счет крема вообще не понимаю в чем вопрос, крем с данным количеством муки получился очень хорошим как и видно в видео.
      Так что ошибок в рецепте нет, но по видимому этот рецепт вам не подходит. А жаль, торт получается очень вкусный:) хотя если есть желание, можете поделиться своим рецептом, кто его знает может ваш даже лучше!

  6. Yana says

    I made this cake twice, as it is my parents favorite dessert. The first time I made the dough myself (as directed above), the second time I made it with store bought puff pastry. Honestly, and this is probably a sin to say, but I think I liked the store bought pastry version better. Reason being is that it turned out to be very moist. It did save time, but the rolling of each layer was still a pain in the butt (what can I say, I am a lazy cook!).

    • says

      Honesty is not a sin)) I should probably try the storebought pastry myself with this cream) I tried storebought before but with a different cream and it was never soft enough to eat with a spoon, usually you had to eat it in layers, peeling them one by one. So are you saying that using the storebought pastry it was soft that you were able to eat it with a spoon or you had to peal it?

  7. Rick Kurtzuba says

    Looks similar to the famous Napoleonas Torte made exclusively by The Lithuanian Bakery in Omaha. Another kind? Don’t be ridiculous….there IS NO other kind.

  8. Angela says

    Re napolean cake love it can’t wait to make it but confused how many cake layers r there u had 12 balls of dough 10 inch each did u use all 12 in the cake ring help need to make this this week for husbands b day thnx pls email me ASAP u can have been dying to do a cake n not squares

    • says

      “just like I remember in Ukraine” was what I was looking for myself, so I was happy to find it too :) and thanks for your feedback! Much appreciate you taking the time :)

  9. Aurelia says

    I have been doing it both ways, with self made and bought layers of puffy pastry. I think I like the old school version better, but store bought layers also can serve well enough. I think it mostly depends on amount of cream vs the amount of pastry.

    • says

      Hi Aurelia!
      I agree about the ration of cram to puff pastry being the key to success, the more cream the more moist the cake is, that is if you let it it sit long enough to absorb it))

  10. luda says

    Thank you Mafina!!! Great translation! I was very happy when I found your receipt for custard cream! I made some just right now and it was verry good! Give us more recipes.

    • says

      Thanks Luda! I’m so glad it worked for ya!
      look out for a cake I am going to post in a couple days, it’s a chocolate cake with custard :) It will even have a video as to how you can decorate the cake :)
      Stay tuned!

  11. Robert Noeth says

    Hi Marina!
    Thanks for this awesome recipe! I’m going to make it for Easter dessert this week. I have a question. You say in your article that you added 1.5 cups of powdered sugar because the original recipe was not sweet enough. The recipe above calls for 1.5 to 2.25 cups of sugar…does this include your extra 1.5 cups of powdered sugar?
    Thanks again Marina!
    Best regards,
    Robert

    • says

      Hi Robert!
      You’re going to love this cake, just make sure to let it sit for at least 2 days in the fridge for the best flavor and texture.
      In the original recipe that I translated it from, it said to add 1.5 cups of granulated sugar. I added 1.5 cups powdered sugar in addition to that 1.5 cups granulated sugar. Because powdered sugar weighs less in weight, I said that you can add from 1.5 (what it calls for in the original recipe), to 2 1/4 (what I added). I say, add 1.5 cups sugar and then taste it. You want it to be a little too sweet, because as I said, the cake layers have no sugar at all.
      Hope this helps :) Let me know what you think when you make it :)

  12. Crystal says

    Hi there!
    This recipe looks fantastic and I can’t wait to make it!
    I was wondering if I make this Sunday, would it last until Wednesday? I have an event Wednesday and the only chance I have to make this would be Sunday. Would this last that long in the fridge or would it get soggy? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Crystal,
      If you want it to be crispy, you should assemble it no more than 3 hours before you plan to serve it. But this cake in particular is simply amazing both ways, crispy, and when it is completely saturated with the cream. The amercian pastry shop Napoleons are always served crispy, so if you’ve never had a soft Napoleon I recommend you try it. So you can make it on Sunday and serve it on Wednesday – it will be very soft and delicious, although not crispy.

  13. Aaron says

    Thank-you very much for the recipe! It reminds me of a Sicilian dessert my Nonna use to make us as children. One question. The custard ingredients mention vanilla but no where in the instructions does it say where and when to add it! I made some assumptions but thought I’d ask anyways in case there was specific instructions for it.

  14. Jeanne says

    hi, i dont have any vodka or cognac at home.. will rum work? or should i just leave it out? Thanks for the recipe! :D

    • says

      You know, I am not even sure… I think it’s the alcohol that is needed for this recipe, so I would probably use rum instead… Let me know what you used and how it worked :)

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