The King of Napoleons

"Love this recipe. It's even better then the Napoleon cakes I tried in Paris! Seriously.” - WIth a review like this, you know this cake is good! by LettheBakingBeginBlog.com

I decided to update my Napoleon Recipe with step by step pictures and little changes. I was craving this cake for several weeks and just couldn’t get to it. Finally I made it and I kept telling myself that I couldn’t believe that now I need to wait for 48 hours for the cake to absorb all the custard and mend its flavors. So being very impatient, I cut into the cake 3 hours after making it and to my surprise it was unbelievable! The cake layers were still crispy, with a slight crunch at every bite, but you could go down through the cake with a fork with no problem.

So now my recommendation is that if you make this cake, try serving it around 3 hours after assembly, just so that you know the difference. If you don’t cut it 3-5 hours after making it, at that point it’s best to wait 48 hours until the cake layers have absorbed the cream and became soft.

When I posted this cake on Instagram several days ago, one of my friends who’s made this cake before left me a comment and I just have to share it with you.

“Love this recipe. It’s even better than the Napoleon cakes I tried in Paris! Seriously.”

I don’t know what Parisian Napoleons taste like, but I totally believe her, because a cake can not get better than this!

"Love this recipe. It's even better then the Napoleon cakes I tried in Paris! Seriously.” - WIth a review like this, you know this cake is good! by LettheBakingBeginBlog.com

 

Best Napoleon Cake Ever!

Quick Puff Pastry

  • 400 g. butter, cold
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 ml water, cold
  • 6 cups sifted all-purpose flour (650 g) or 4 1/2 cups un-sifted all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp vodka/cognac
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 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 all-purpose flour (sifted)
  • 150-200 g butter (I added 400)

Instructions

Make Quick Puff Pastry

Whisk together eggs and salt, stir in cold water, 1 tablespoon vinegar & 3 tablespoons vodka.
Add flour to the cup of your food processor. Add cold, cubed butter and pulse or process until the crumbs are pea size.
Add the egg mixture into the flour mixture and continue processing until the dough starts sticking to itself a bit, but is not formed yet.
"Love this recipe. It's even better then the Napoleon cakes I tried in Paris! Seriously.” - WIth a review like this, you know this cake is good! by LettheBakingBeginBlog.com

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 knead it for a couple of seconds until a dough forms. Do not work with it too much, not to melt the butter with the warmth of your hands.
Shape the dough into a log and then cut it into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
"Love this recipe. It's even better then the Napoleon cakes I tried in Paris! Seriously.” - WIth a review like this, you know this cake is good! by LettheBakingBeginBlog.com

Work on the frosting

Combine egg yolks & sugar in a bowl and whisk them together, adding 50 milliliters of milk to make it easier.
Add the flour and whisk again, forming very uniform, clump free batter. Add another 50 milliliters of milk to make it easier.
"Love this recipe. It's even better then the Napoleon cakes I tried in Paris! Seriously.” - WIth a review like this, you know this cake is good! by LettheBakingBeginBlog.com

Heat the remaining milk in a pot until boiling, all the while stirring to keep the bottom from scorching.
Transfer the egg & flour mixture into a larger pot (about 3 quarts).
Tamper the egg yolk mixture by slowly pouring the hot milk in, all the while mixing.
Pour the mixture back into the pot and bring it to boil over medium heat, continuously (!!) stirring and keeping the bottom of the pot from scorching. Once boiling, cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add vanilla extract & stir. Add butter, allow to melt and stir to for a smooth custard.
If your custard had clumps, run it through a fine sieve or pulse it with an immersion blender (handheld) until smooth.

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.

Bake the cake layers

Preheat oven to 400F. Set the rack in the middle.

On a back of a jelly roll or a 12 inch baking sheet, roll out 1/2 of 1 dough ball, until about 12.5 inches in size, by dusting the surface with flour as needed.
Prick with a fork all over, to prevent uneven rising. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until lightly golden. Repeat with the rest of the dough, to make 8 layers.
As soon as the cake layer baked and out of the oven, place a 11 inch plate or lid 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.
"Love this recipe. It's even better then the Napoleon cakes I tried in Paris! Seriously.” - WIth a review like this, you know this cake is good! by LettheBakingBeginBlog.com

Crumble the cake scraps. Set aside.

Assembly

Place a dab of frosting on a serving platter.  Place first cake layer and press to adhere.
Surround the cake layer by a cake ring & secure with a ribbon or a cake strip. The rest of the cake will be assembled inside the ring.
Place about 6 large spoons of frosting and smooth it around. Repeat with the rest of the frosting and cake. (This can be done as you bake the cake, meaning that cake layers can be just slightly cooled when you start assembling the cake. Warm cake layers will speed up absorption).  Sprinkle couple tablespoons of shredded scraps on top of the cake.

"Love this recipe. It's even better then the Napoleon cakes I tried in Paris! Seriously.” - WIth a review like this, you know this cake is good! by LettheBakingBeginBlog.com

Run a knife between the cake and the ring. Remove the ring. 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. Serve chilled.
"Love this recipe. It's even better then the Napoleon cakes I tried in Paris! Seriously.” - WIth a review like this, you know this cake is good! by LettheBakingBeginBlog.com

The King of Napoleons

5.0 from 3 reviews
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Russian
Serves: 8-10 people

Ingredients

Quick Puff Pastry

  • 400 g. butter, cold
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 ml water, cold
  • 6 cups sifted all purpose flour (650 g) or 4½ cups un-sifted all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp vodka/cognac
  • 1 tbsp vinegar (9%)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Egg Yolk Custard

Custard

  • 7 egg yolks
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1½ - 2¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (sifted)
  • 150-200 g butter (I added 400)

Instructions

Make Quick Puff Pastry

  1. Whisk together eggs and salt, stir in cold water, 1 tablespoon vinegar & 3 tablespoons vodka.
  2. Add flour to the cup of your food processor. Add cold, cubed butter and pulse or process until the crumbs are pea size.
  3. Add the egg mixture into the flour mixture and continue processing until the dough starts sticking to itself a bit, but is not formed yet.
  4. 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. Do not work with it too much, not to melt the butter with the warmth of your hands.
  5. Shape the dough into a log and then cut it into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Work on the custard

  1. Combine egg yolks & sugar in a bowl and whisk them together, adding 50 milliliters of milk to make it easier.
  2. Add the flour and whisk again, forming very uniform, clump free batter. Add another 50 milliliters of milk to make it easier.
  3. Heat the remaining milk in a pot until boiling, all the while stirring to keep the bottom from scorching.
  4. Transfer the the egg & flour mixture into a larger pot (about 3 quarts).
  5. Tamper the egg yolk mixture by slowly pouring the hot milk in, all the while mixing.
  6. Pour the mixture back into the pot and bring it to boil over medium heat, continuously (!!) stirring and keeping the bottom of the pot from scorching. Once boiling, cook for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add vanilla extract & stir. Add butter, allow to melt and stir to for a smooth custard.
  8. If your custard had clumps, run it through a fine sieve or pulse it with an immersion blender (handheld) until smooth.
  9. 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.

Bake the cake layers

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Set the rack in the middle.
  2. On a back of a jelly roll or a 12 inch baking sheet, roll out ½ of 1 dough ball, until about 12.5 inches in size, by dusting the surface with flour as needed.
  3. Prick with a fork all over, to prevent uneven rising. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until lightly golden. Repeat with the rest of the dough, to achieve 8 layers.
  4. As soon as the cake layer is baked and out of the oven, place a 11 inch plate or lid 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.
  5. Crumble the cake scraps. Set aside.

Assembly

  1. Place a dab of frosting on a serving platter. Place first cake layer and press to adhere.
  2. Surround the cake layer by a cake ring & secure with a ribbon or a cake strip. The rest of the cake will be built inside the ring.
  3. Place about 6 large spoons of frosting and smooth it around. Repeat with the rest of the frosting and cake. (This can be done as you bake the cake. The cake layers can be just slightly cooled when you start assembling the cake. Warm cake layers will speed up absorption). Sprinkle couple tablespoons of shredded scraps on top of the cake.
  4. Run a knife between the cake and the ring. Remove the ring. 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. Serve chilled.

Bon Appetit & Happy Pinning

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"Love this recipe. It's even better then the Napoleon cakes I tried in Paris! Seriously.” - WIth a review like this, you know this cake is good! by LettheBakingBeginBlog.com

 

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Comments

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  • Polina

    Good job! Tough cake to make and u did an amazing job.

    · Reply
    • Thanks Polina! for me this cake is not very tough, but definitely time consuming, you know 3 hours of my undivided attention))

      · Reply
  • This is the best cake ever! I have been looking for this recipe half of my life. We have a local Lithuanian bakery that makes Napoleon’s. My husband usually gets me one for my birthday every year. While they are delicious they are not cheap $29.00. Now I can enjoy my cake and make it too. Thank You so much.

    · Reply
  • Larissa

    Hi, what does the vodka do in the recipe and can I leave it out? Thanks! Larissa

    · Reply
    • Vera

      Larissa it makes the flour not to develop gluten in the dough and keeps the layers flaky

      · Reply
      • Oh thanks for this answer! I had no idea why it was needed lol

        · Reply
  • roxie moreland

    Tried to follow you but it says your page is not available? Thought you would like to know and get it fixed.

    · Reply
    • Thanks for the heads up. Just fixed it, should work now.

      · Reply
  • Marina

    Do you put the cake in the fridge right away?

    · Reply
    • Nope, I leave it out for about 3-4 hours… then I put it in the fridge.

      · Reply
  • Rachel

    Can I use store bought puff pastry?? And if I make ur puff pastry can i freeze it once baked? Thanks!

    · Reply
    • I just made it with store bought pastry two days ago 🙂 So yes, you can use storebought pastry. It is better to freeze the dough itself instead of the baked one. It will keep at room temperature for a couple of days baked, although if you really wanted to you could definitely freeze the baked puff pastry sheets as well.

      · Reply
      • Estera

        How many packages of store bought pilly pastry would I need to use?
        Thanks

        · Reply
        • About 3. Just roll the pastry sheets to at least 12×18 inches each time. The cake will be smaller in height (once it settles), but larger in size. Or you could cut the 12×18 in half and stack them.

          · Reply
  • Best “Napoleon” Cake Ever! | Cook & Taste

    […] See full instructions on: letthebakingbeginblog.com […]

    · Reply
  • Angie

    this looks amazing! what amount is 400grams butter..since I don’t have scale handing (how much of the butter bar) also can I use margarine.. thanks truly, Angie

    · Reply
    • Hi Angie, each stick butter is 115 grams. So it’s about 3 1/2 (three and a half) sticks butter. I am not sure how margarine would effect the texture so I can’t say for sure.

      · Reply
  • Huda

    Can you please tell me a non-alcoholic substitute for Vodka? No one in my family intakes alcohol and I wish to make it for my sister’s birthday today. And I have store bought puff pastry. Can I use that one? But it’s very thick.

    · Reply
    • You can totally omit vodka, but if you’re worried about the alcohol flavor in the cake I can tell you that is not why this recipe includes vodka. Vodka is to help keep the dough layered when it’s baked and all if it’s alcohol content is evaporated as it bakes.

      If you have store bought puff pastry you can definitely use that instead. Just thaw in on a counter, then use rolling pin and a sprinkling of flour to roll it out very thin. Then just bake it until slightly golden.
      Hope this helps

      · Reply
  • FatimA

    Hey can you plz give a non alcoholic substitute for vodka?

    · Reply
    • You can just omit it altogether :). It’s not there for flavor but for texture, as the alcohol evaporates while baking.

      · Reply
  • Tina

    Marina this cake is unbelievable! You made my husband very happy today. Napoleon has been his favourite cake since he was a boy and he said that this is the best version of it that he’s ever eaten. Thank you!!

    · Reply
  • Ivy

    This loOks a lot like my favorite pastry from Venezuela, called mil ojas. Do you know that pastry and if so, is this the same thing?

    · Reply
  • A Napoleon Cake Can not get better than this. by LettheBakingBeginBlog.com recipe - FoodFoni

    […] the recipe here – Via: […]

    · Reply
  • Ganaa

    Hi, Can I substitute 9% vinegar with 5% one?

    · Reply
  • Nancy Burkett

    The first time I made this cake, I sent my husband to the store to get some puff pastry….he brought back phillo dough, so I used that. I layered 4 sheets of phillo to make one layer of crust, and it was scrumptious. The last time I made it I used the puff pastry. I have to say that they were both
    delicious, but I prefer the phillo dough. It soaks up the custard beautifully!

    · Reply
  • […] here to find the […]

    · Reply
  • Olesya

    Is Cognac the name of the vodka that you use for this recipe? Can you tell me what percentage is the alcohol? Thank you

    · Reply
    • No cognac is different than vodka, but their alcohol concentration is about the same, so you can use either one in the recipe. Both are about 40% alcohol.

      · Reply
      • Olesya

        I have a bottle that says: 40% alc./vol. (80 proof). Would I use half of the amount for this cake? (1.5 tbsp instead of 3 tbsp?)
        Thank you so much for your help! I will be attempting to make this for the first time, hope it turns out good!
        I love your recipes and your website, thank you for all your hard work. I truly appreciate it.

        · Reply
        • 40% alc is exactly what you need, so just use exactly the amount it says in the recipe.
          Thank you so much dear! Really appreciate your kind words!

          · Reply
  • […] saw a Neapolitan cake on Let the Baking Begin and we decided that we absolutely had to make it, but instead of making it as is, we […]

    · Reply
  • marina

    For crispy cake would I put in the fridge for 3 hrs or leave it out?

    · Reply
  • Ernestine

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”checkbox and now
    each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment.
    Is thewre any way you can remove people from that service?
    Thank you!

    · Reply
    • Well that’s annoying. I’m sorry it’s happening 🙁 In the email that you’re referring to, at the bottom there should be an “unsubscribe button”, once you click it you can unsubscribe yourself from the posts or blogs you don’t wish to receive notifications from.

      · Reply
  • MARIANA

    This cake looks fabulous!!!I really want to make it next week for new years, but how many cups of water would it be? and if i ommit the alcohol it will still be ok? thank you! 🙂

    · Reply
  • […] Heavenly Apple Cake. CITRUS & TOASTED FENNEL CAKE WITH CRANBERRIES — SK. Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze recipe on Food52.com. The King of Napoleons – Let the Baking Begin! Let the Baking Begin! […]

    · Reply
  • zena

    it’s great.

    · Reply
  • SL

    I am so excited…. I have not made the recipe yet, but it looks just like the most AMAZING cake they make in Egypt called “Millfay” They make it to order, and just as you describe, it is crispy and delicious. They also put sliced fruit on top – pineapple and peach are particularly delicious. Like many others, I have a question about the alcohol substitute. Being Muslim, we do not use it at all – even if the alcohol bakes out – so is there anything else that will have the same effect of keeping the dough tender? Thank you!!!

    · Reply
    • Hi SL, thank you so much!

      You can just omit the alcohol altogether and not worry about it, there’s not really a substitute, but it will be ok:) If you want the layers to be crispy, serve it within about 2-3 hours, for most crispiness.

      · Reply
      • SL

        Thank you! I just noticed on another post (from another recipe) that you said your daughter has been having health issues. I hope that she is doing better and we wish you and your family all the best.

        · Reply
  • Thank you so much! It meant the world to my dad to be able to enjoy a true Napoleon torte again. My grandmother used to make it every year for his birthday (it’s his favorite) but she has been getting older and unable to handle how labor intensive it is. It had been years since he’s enjoyed a piece. Let me tell you, this recipe almost brought him to tears. He says it was just like how he remembered it, and that it was amazing. I used an amount of sugar somewhere in the middle range and I used some extra butter in the custard than it suggests. I also used a spring form pan to create the layers in since it’s all I had. I chilled it for a short time after layering and then carefully removed the pan side and crumbed the rest. Everyone loved it and it really made my dad’s birthday special, will probably continue on the yearly birthday cake tradition!

    · Reply
  • Victoria

    Hi Marina!

    I made this Napoleon cake this weekend and it oh so reminded me of the Napoleon that my Babushka used to make when I was a kid! Just scrumptious!

    I did use a store bought puffed pastry but the result was still wonderful:)

    Thank you very much for sharing your incredible recipes. 🙂

    · Reply
  • Angelika

    Hi. How can i make this cake Dairy Free. No butter and no milk. What can I substitute it with to me it as delicious as dairy version.?

    · Reply
  • Lidia

    Was a very good video and good cake I love it so much

    · Reply

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