By   April 16, 2015

Napoleon (54 of 58)

Napoleon Cake is a popular Russian-French cake that’s made out of Puff Pastry Dough and Buttery Custard Cream Filling. This cake is so delicious, and appears, so easy to make. The hardest part about it is waiting for the cake to be ready, since it has to be refrigerated overnight. Time consuming recipe, yet so worth it at the end. This cake is definitely a special occasion cake.

I’ve been searching forever for an easy Napoleon Cake Recipe. I was always terrified of an idea of making a puff pastry dough from scratch. Well, not so scary after all, this recipe is super easy and fool-proof.

This is such a long post, but don’t let it scare you, I was just trying to capture each and every step, so the whole process would seem as easy as it really is.  Puff pastry dough that’s used for Napoleon is very versatile. It could be used for Turnovers, Croissants, Apple Roulade, and many other sweet or savory recipes.

Ingredients for Puff Pastry Dough:

  • 3 cups +1/2 cup flour
  • 2 sticks butter (frozen)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • water (not pictured)

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Start by grating frozen butter. Mix it with flour. Be sure not to blend it. Keep tossing butter and flour with your hands as you keep adding more butter. You have to do it pretty fast, so the butter doesn’t start melting.

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Mix egg with vinegar, and add just enough cold water to get to 1 cup level.

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Add wet mixture to the butter/flour mixture, and with hook attachment quickly mix until the dough comes together in one piece.

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Cut the dough in 2, wrap it in a plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Again, this dough could be used in different sweet or savory recipes that require puff pastry dough.

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Meanwhile, let’s prepare Custard Cream Filling.

Ingredients for Custard Cream Filling:

(For this cake you will need to double these ingredients)

  • 3 eggs
  • 1cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1  package vanilla sugar or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounce package Cool Whip (optional, not pictured)

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I first made one batch of cream, but then realized that it wasn’t enough, as the cake is pretty big, so I made more. Be sure to double all the ingredients for the custard filling.

Bring milk and sugar to boil over high heat. In a separate container, whip eggs with flour until smooth.

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Add half of hot milk to egg/flour mixture little bit a time. Mix well.

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Combine egg mixture with the rest of the milk, reduce heat, bring to light simmer, stirring all the time. The cream will start to thicken.

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Strain the cream to make sure its lump-free. Cover, and let completely cool.

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After the dough has been chilled, form each half into a circle, and divide it into 8 equal pieces.

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Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out each piece of dough, using a plate or pot cover to cut out a perfect circle. Don’t discard the scraps, you can use them as crumbs for decorating your cake. I have 10 inch circles-layers here.

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Spray or brush your baking pan with some water. Poke little holes in you dough.

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With the help of your rolling pin, carefully transfer the dough onto a baking pan. Bake 8 minutes until golden.

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Start rolling out next layer, while first one is baking. Repeat with the rest of your dough. You should get 16 layers, plus 2 more layers I got out of scraps which I’m going to use for decorating the cake.

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Assembling Napoleon

On high speed, whip butter until fluffy and white, about 1 minute

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Reduce the speed, and start adding custard cream 1/3 at a time. You can also add some Cool Whip. It will make this buttery custard cream a little more airy, and lighter.

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Generously spread  the filling over all 16 layers.

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The cake will seem very tall at first. Before you get to the sides, let the cake settle for couple of hours or overnight,  then spread the remaining cream over the sides of the cake.

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Make crumbs out of left over layers, and cover the cake with crumbs.

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Please don’t judge my carving skills. I’m a first-timer here 🙂

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  1. Angelina

    Looks VERY appetizing! God job! And I like your twist on decoration 🙂

  2. Fae's Twist & Tango

    Oh my goodness, Sweet Vera! Excellent! Beautiful post, well explained and a cake to die for. I am definitely going to try this and will report back to you. Gorgeous cake, wonderful presentation! Yum! 🙂

    1. Post author

      Thanks Fae! This cake is just so good. I tried to take the mystery out of this recipe as much as I could, and was very pleased with results, because it really is easy and fool-proof. I’d be very happy to hear back from you when you make this cake, I’m sure you’ll love it.

  3. yen

    Hi, your Napoleon looks so beautiful! I am trying to make this Gorgeous cake. I just wonder in your instruction (Baking Napoleon Layers: Item 1) you said devide dough into 8 portions, then you said “You should get 16 layers, plus 2 more layers I got out of scraps which I’m going to use for decorating the cake.” (Baking Napoleon Layers: Item 5), so with the amount of dough in recipe, how many layers are there? and what is the size of each one? thank you.

    1. Post author

      Hi. So in section “How to make Puff Pastry Dough” Step 4: Cut the dough in 2, wrap it in a plastic wrap, and refrigerate… So in “Baking Napoleon Layers” Step 1: …form each half into a circle, and divide it into 8 equal pieces. So, you end up with 16 layers, plus 2 that you get by rolling out the scraps. Each layer is 10 inches in diameter. Hope it helps. And if you have any more questions, feel free to ask 🙂

  4. Ri

    Hi, Vera. How many grams is your stick if butter? Mine usually 113 grams, but yours looks two times smaller.

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