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Best Napoleon Cake Ever!

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

A slice of Napoleon cake on a plate topped with berries and a mint leaf.

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, for which I am grateful, thank you, Inna! This Napoleon cake comes out soft, moist and delicious! No more buying puff pastry for this cake, because you can easily make it yourself at home.

The Secret to Moist Napoleon Cake

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.

Being too impatient and cutting into the Napoleon cake too early is why all those other Napoleon recipes that I 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 spoil if your room is too hot). I think allowing it to sit for 48 hours might’ve been even better.

Napoleon cake on a plate with a slice on a plate.

Custard for Napoleon Cake

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 effect on the taste of Napoleon 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 website had the ‘embed’ feature, so I included it in my post for you to see right here.

The sweetness of the Cream

In addition to that, I made some changes to the amount of sugar included in the cream for the Napoleon. 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.

I hope you like this Napoleon just as much as my family does!

Do keep in mind that this is not the French version of the Napoleon where the layers are kept crisp. This is the Russian Napoleon version where the layers are intentionally allowed to become very soft. Give this cake a try and let me know what you think in the comment section below!

Try these other Napolean Cakes:

Best Napoleon Cake Ever!

The Best Napoleon Cake is made with thin puff pastry layers, then sandwiched with rich and buttery custard. This Napoleon dessert is one of my family's favorite!-2
4.98 from 46 votes
This Napoleon cake comes out soft, moist and delicious! No more buying puff pastry for this cake, because you can now make it yourself at home.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Russian, Ukrainian
Keyword: custard dessert, napoleon cake, napoleon dessert, puff pastry cake
Calories: 301 kcal
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 30 servings


Quick Puff Pastry Ingredients (see the footnotes for using store-bought puff pastry instead)

  • cup water cold or iced (⅔ cup = 5.5 oz)
  • tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp vodka /cognac (omit if not using alcohol)
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour (5 cups = 23 oz)
  • 3 ½ sticks cold or frozen butter cold (14 oz = 3.5 sticks)

Egg Yolk Custard Ingredients

Optional (to top the cake)

  • 2-3 cups berries (blueberries, raspberries or any other kind of berries)


Make Puff Pastry or use store-bought puff pastry (see bottom of the recipe card for details)

  1. Measure out all of the ingredients for the puff pastry and get your tools and utensils ready.

  2. Wet Ingredients:

    Mix 2/3 cup cold water, 1 Tbsp vinegar & 3 Tbsp vodka (replace with water if not using) in a cup.

    In a separate cup whisk together 2 eggs and a 1/8 tsp salt. Combine mixtures of two cups and stir to combine.

  3. Dry Ingredients:

    By food processor: Add 5 cups flour to the cup of your food processor. Now add 3 ½ sticks cold, cubed butter, and pulse or process until the crumbs are pea-size.

    By hand: Alternatively, pour the flour onto the cutting board, then add cold, cubed butter, and using a long, sharp knife keep cutting and mixing the mixture until the pieces are pea-size.

  4. Add wet to dry: Add the liquid ingredients and continue pulsing or mixing until the dough starts sticking to itself a bit, but is not formed yet.

  5. Form into a dough: Pour the content of the food processor bowl onto a work surface and start gathering and pressing 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.

  6. Shape & Divide: Shape the dough into a log and then cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover, and refrigerate for about an hour to allow the liquid to hydrate the flour. This will also make it easier to roll the dough out later.

Make the Egg Yolk Custard

  1. Eggs & Sugar: In a 6 qt pot whisk together 7 egg yolks & 1 ½ - 2 ¼ cups sugar adding about ¼ cup of milk to make it easier to mix into a smooth mixture.

    Flour & Milk: Add the [/adjustable]⅔cups flour and whisk again, forming a very uniform, clump-free batter. Add another ¼ cup[/adjustable] of milk to make it easier.

  2. Heat the remaining milk in a saucepot or a microwave. If heating on a stovetop, make sure to heat over medium-low heat and stir continously to prevent scorching.

  3. Temper eggs: Temper the egg yolk mixture by slowly pouring the hot milk in, all the while mixing. Adding the hot milk gradually will prevent the eggs from curdling and separating.

    Cook: Now set over medium heat and cook for 2-3 minutes past coming to a boil, whisking constantly to prevent scorching. Add 1 Tbsp of vanilla extract and stir to incorporate.

  4. Add butter: Add [/adjustable]1 ¾ sticks butter, allow to melt and stir the custard into a smooth mixture. Alternatively, you can beat the butter into the cooled to room temperature custard. [/adjustable]

  5. Cool custard: Allow the custard to cool by pouring it into a jelly roll baking sheet, covering it with plastic wrap so it touches the custard, which will prevent a film from forming. Do not refrigerate, just bring to room temperature.

Bake the puff pastry cake layers

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

  2. How to roll the puff pastry cake layers:

    Place a damp kitchen towel on the table, then put an upside-down jelly roll baking pan on top. The kitchen towel will help prevent to prevent the baking sheet from moving as you roll.

    Roll out 1 dough ball into a 11-12 inch circle, dusting the top surface with flour as needed. Pierce with a fork about every 1 inch - this will prevent large bubbles from forming as it bakes.

    Alternatively, you can lightly wet your rolling surface, then place a piece of foil larger than 12 inches and smooth it out to adhere to the table. Now roll the dough on top of it. The foil won't move, giving you a steady rolling surface. Working this way, you can pre-roll all the cake layers, nonstop while some of them are baking.

  3. Bake: Bake each puff pastry cake layer for 5-7 minutes or until lightly golden. Then, remove from the oven and place a 10-inch plate or lid on top and cut around it with a sharp knife collecting all scraps to a bowl. Allow to cool. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

  4. Crumble all the cake scraps.

Assemble the Napoleon Cake

  1. Place a dab of frosting on a serving platter, top with the first cake layer and press to adhere.

  2. Optional: To keep the cake edges perfectly straight fasten a 10-inch cake ring or an adjustable cake ring around the first cake layer. The rest of the cake will be assembled inside this ring. If you do not have one, just omit this step and assemble free-hand.

  3. Reserve and refrigerate about 1 cup of custard for covering the sides, later.

    Now, spread about 4 large spoonfuls of Napoleon Custard into an even layer. Repeat with the rest of the custard and cake, finishing with a layer of custard on top.

  4. Sprinkle the top with some of the crumbled up cake scraps to keep the custard from drying out. Leave the cake at room temperature for 12 hours, then refrigerate for another 12 hours. Or just refrigerate the cake for 48 hours before continuing with the next step.

  5. Unmold the cake by running a thin knife between the cake and the ring. Remove the ring.

  6. Take the reserved custard and smooth over the sides of the cake. Set the cake on a cake stand, over a baking sheet. Take a handful of cake scraps and press them against the sides of the cake, allowing the rest to fall into the baking sheet. Continue going around the cake sides in the above-described manner. Sprinkle the leftover puff pastry cake crumbs over the top of the cake. Top with berries and sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

  7. Serve chilled.

Recipe Notes

Replacement for Homemade Puff pastry

Use 2 boxes of storebought frozen Pepperidge Farm puff pastry in place of homemade puff pastry if desired.

For this, roll out each thawed puff pastry sheet on a floured surface to a 20"x14" rectangle and poke it with a fork every 1 inch, then bake for about 8 minutes at 400F or until uniformly golden in color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Trim the edges of the cake with a sharp knife to make all layers the same size.
Now cut 4 baked cake layers into two equal halves, giving you 8 cake layers.
Layer the 8 baked puff pastry cake layers with about 1 cup of prepared custard, then use the rest to cover the top and sides of the Napoleon cake.

Nutrition Facts
Best Napoleon Cake Ever!
Amount Per Serving
Calories 301 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Cholesterol 104mg35%
Sodium 180mg8%
Potassium 109mg3%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 655IU13%
Calcium 71mg7%
Iron 1.5mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Marina | Let the Baking Begin

Welcome to Let the Baking Begin! I'm Marina and my love and passion for eating only the most delicious foods drive me to share that love here on Let the Baking Begin (since 2009). With over 20 years of experience in the kitchen, you know the recipes are tested and retested until perfect. I'm so happy to have you here. Enjoy! Read more...

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  • julie

    hi. the video recipe in Russian says to PREHEAT on 220-230C (428-446F) but in the comment section it says bake 400F. which one is it?

    Thank you.

    · Reply
    • My oven at the time ran hot, so 400F was the temp I baked it at. Now it runs cold and I bake it at 430F. Puff pastry needs to be baked in a hot oven, otherwise the layers don’t separate well and the puff pastry won’t be crispy. So, I guess the answer is depends on your oven, but anywhere between 400F – 440F is good.

      · Reply
  • julie

    can the custard cream be made the day before and refrigerated and used the next day?

    · Reply
  • Darya

    Hello! I plan to make this but don’t want to use frozen puff pastry, but rather plan to make it with the recipe that you provided for the layers 🙂 I want to make a sheet cake, though – is it going to be possible to make a sheet cake by using the recipe that you provided for the cake layers? If so, how would I go about shaping the layer (since with a round cake, we use a 9 inch springform bottom or a round cake pan), what would you recommend using when trying to get perfect rectangles for the sheet cake? 🙂 also, would I have to adjust the measurements do you think? (Doubling them or something along those lines?) Please let me know when you get a chance. Thank you!

    · Reply
  • moarenla longchar

    Hi Marina
    I wanted to know can we skip Vodka or can you please suggest a replacement for vodka or its a must in this cake to use.
    Thank you.

    · Reply
  • Marina

    Hi Marina,
    Any idea if this cake will freeze well after assembly? I’m one of those crazy people that bakes cakes and brings them camping with her

    · Reply
  • Olga Frenkel

    When do we add vanilla extract? It isn’t in the recipe

    · Reply
    • Hi Olga, you add it into the cutstard while it’s cooking or right after you remove it off the stove and before you add butter.

      · Reply
  • Cherilynne Utton

    You need a proof-reader.

    · Reply
  • Ch

    Can I use sticks of margarine in the puff pastry?
    Can I use margarine and soymilk in the custard?

    · Reply
  • Anna

    Hello, I searched In google for “best Napoleon recipe”. This is the site that came up first. I had all ingredients and started baking the cake, but to my surprise in this ones recipe you forgot to indicate “poke with fork” I had few layers turn out crazy. But I fixed that really quickly, knowing something isn’t right. Your other Napoleon recipes indicate that, and I thank you for that. Your a wonderful baker:) God bless you with all you do, your a lot of help to me especially with my horrible baking skills. appreciate it

    · Reply
  • Maria

    In my family recipe we always beat the butter with half the sugar, and then we add the cooled custard, one cup at a time, to the butter/sugar mixture. I hope that helps.

    · Reply
  • Oksana

    Hi. So I just couldn’t help but notice that you said the next time you will add butter to the cream while it’s still hot.. have you done this already? I feel like it’s a big no no because you should never combine butter with hot cream in a custard. I think you did everything right the first time except, the way I do it it whip the butter first and add the cream in 2-3 sections.. maybe try that next time? and I hope this helps someone! ❤️

    · Reply
    • Hi Oksana, thank you so much for your comment and suggestion!

      Yes, I have done it and it worked great! If you want the custard to be nice and fluffy and hold shape, then you should definitely never add butter to the hot custard because of course it will make the custard runnier. Unless, of course that is why you’re adding it while hot 😉 Which, was the exactly the case. I wanted my Napoleon to be super soft, and one way to do that is to make the custard runnier, this will allow for better absorption of the custard.

      In Russian recipes of the custards for the napoleons, typically the butter is not whipped prior to adding the custard, or at least that’s what the recipes in my mom’s recipe books say. But the proper Mousseline Cream (which is what this method of custard is called) does require whipping of the butter, like you suggested.

      If you would like to see what the cake looked like with the butter melted into the custard, check this recipe I posted with step by step instructions – King of Napoleons.

      · Reply
  • Carolyn

    I’m confused about something. You said to use a 10 inch plate and cut off the edges for crumbs. Then you said to use a 9 inch ring to hold the layers during assembly. How are 10 inch cake rounds going to fit into a 9 inch ring? Thank you very much!

    · Reply
    • Tip

      I went through the recipe to see where I mentioned the 9 inch cake ring and can not find it.

      But still if you have a 9 inch springform (like THIS), I think once you open it, it would fit a 10 inch cake inside. Does this make sence?

      Or you would use an adjustable cake ring like THIS.

      · Reply
  • Kamila

    Did you measure flour in cups or grams please?
    I used grams and liquids in cups as in recipe but my dough was not crumbling but wet and sticky.
    After I have checked online that 6c of all pourpose flour equals 720g (not 650g as stated in your recipe). Quite big difference! Could you please confirm how much flour should be in grams please. I want to try again but with right amounts to have good outcome.
    Would appreciate quick replay. Thanks

    · Reply
    • Hi Kamila,
      I measured it in grams and then used a cup to measure it in cups to give you both measurements. 70 (1/2 a cup, about) grams difference that you mentioned in your comment really isn’t enough to make your dough go from sticky to crumbly, is even if there was a mistake.

      Was your butter really cold? If your butter is not cold and you add the ingredients it might not be crumbly.
      Also, just to clarify, when you combine the ingredients they are crumbly, but after the dough had the chance to sit in the fridge it softens up. Also, you can’t overwork the dough when you’re mixing everything, otherwise the warmth from your hands will melt the butter and also make the dough soft.

      Did you try baking the dough to see if it would be flaky?

      · Reply
      • Kamila

        Yes butter was cold – straight from frigde. Butter came out bit runny.I did bake it into a cake anyway. Came out ok but there was not even similar to puff pastry. Not flaky either. Made it in the evening and kept in fridge over night- next day morning was soft like a regular cake – could go easily with the fork. But again no puff pastry effect at all.
        Also noticed some cups measurements smaller or bigger. How much water or milk will your cup hold in ml please. Maybe I put too much liquid.

        · Reply
        • Hi Kamila,
          So in US when a measurement is listed as a cup, it means that a dedicated, measuring cup should be used, not a drinking cup. A measuring cup is about 226 mls and not 250 as one might think. So I do think you just used too much liquid in your dough and that is why it came out the way it did 🙁

          · Reply
  • Marcel

    My Russian wife Oxana challenged me to bake a Napoleon Cake. Since I am French I used Cognac and almost finished. She said she preferres Charlotte Cream and took over the finishing of the cake. I surrender to the Red Army On this project, but I love my comrade in the Kitchen!

    · Reply
  • Monica

    Amazing .. I feel like I’m still dreaming that I m making this cake yesterday . Everyone like it . Thank you so much for a good and work recipe. I very like it . I cut down the sugar and milk for Custard and in the end it’s enough for 12 layer of pastry . I’m very happy and keep learn something new now . Thank you again .

    · Reply
  • Jacki

    Hi Marina,

    I don’t have 9% vinegar so I am going to follow your suggestion to use 2 tablespoons of 5%. My question is should I reduce the vodka by a tablespoon to keep the liquid measurement the same?

    Thank you,

    · Reply
  • Daniel

    I was wondering where I could find a cake ring for assembling the cake? I could see in the images that the custard was runny, so a cake ring of some sort is surely necessary. Is there anything that I could use as a replacement? Thanks!

    · Reply
    • Hi Danik,
      Yes the custard is pretty runny and it is best to assemble it in the cake ring if you want super neat edges, but because you put a pretty thin layer of custard between the layers it is very possible to do assemble the cake without a ring (with just a little bit of drippage down the sides).

      But if you do want the same cake ring that I have, here’s the link to the one I got on Amazon – cake ring. This cake ring is expandable which I find very convenient.

      If not, you can use this springform which is 9 inches round – Nordic Ware Leakproof Spring Pan

      Hope this helps!


      · Reply
      • Daniel

        Thank you for the quick response!

        I looked into the cake ring you used, and already ordered it (hehe me and my impulse decisions…) I plan to make this cake this Wednesday for my cousin’s birthday, wish me luck!

        · Reply
  • Lena

    Hi Marina,
    I want to make this cake for Easter. I wanted to see if its enough cream for store bought pastry dough. I am thinking a 4 layer pullsburry puff pastry dough. Please let me know.
    Thanks a lot

    · Reply
    • I am not sure how big the Pillsbury package of the puff pastry is hats why I can’t tell you much about that. But if you were to use he Peppridge farm one, then I would do at least 3 packages or 7 layers. Also, make sure to roll them to a bigger than 18×12 baking sheet, so that they’re super thin, and stretching them beyond the sheet will allow it to shrink back to approximately the size of the sheet. After you bake the layers, go ahead and cut each layer in two, this way you should have 12 layered cake.

      · Reply
      • Lena

        Thank you for responding so quickly. Appreciate the tips.
        Have a blessed Easter. May God richly bless your family.
        P.S. I admire you for all that you do. You are trully the best

        · Reply
  • joan

    I made this for my boyfriends birthday party. I doubled the ingredients and it was amazing. 4 layer sheet. I added on each layer crumbled yellow cake mix then I sprayed each layer with Dark rum. I topped it off with the crumb and sprayed it all over including the strawberries! Great and delicious light and adjustable in every way.

    · Reply
  • Irina

    Where do I put the vanilla extract?

    · Reply
  • roz

    Can I do the pastry and leave it in the fridge 24 hours before I continue?

    · Reply
  • Karen

    Hello Marina;
    I finally got around to making this cake but was unable to achieve a certain thickness with the cream. Instead of mixing it by hand, I used my Vitamix and even as it’s hottest temperature, then after cooling, it never thickened like the video. What do you think went wrong?
    Thanks in advance!

    · Reply
    • Hi Karen,
      The only thing that I can think of is if you didn’t cook the cream enough to where it thickened enough. With flour, you need to cook it for a couple minutes past boiling for it to thicken.

      Another thing – is I think because you used the Vitamix and not an actual mixer it might have broken up all the bonds that were made by the cooking process and therefor the cream thinned instead of thickened.
      If you do try this again, do not use the blender, but use the mixer instead.

      In the end though, if you’re assembling the cake in the cake ring the thickness of the cream does not matter much, because once it sits assembled for a day or two, the layers absorb the cream and therefor thicken it.

      · Reply
      • Karen

        Hi Marina;

        Thank you for getting back to me so soon. I kept the Vitamix on until past it’s boiling temperature so that I could cook the flour, but perhaps a good old fashion pot will do the trick. I didn’t see the video until after the fact. It’s very helpful. I will try again. I’ve had the liquid custard and the layers assembled in the fridge for the past 24 hours but the layers have not yet absorbed the custard yet, and the custard also hasn’t thickened. I will try again. Thank you so much though, and although it’s not perfect the first time, it still tastes amazing…I just need to make it look right!

        · Reply
        • Hi Karen,
          Yeah, I don’t think its a good idea to use the blender for custards since the cooking the old-fashioned way is needed for the bonds to form and for the custard to thicken.
          Try it this way next time and it should all work 😉

          · Reply
  • Irene

    The Napoleon looks wonderful and is sitting and soaking. You have the best recipe I have ever tried. I have my mother’s version but the ratio of cream to layers never worked out. I dreaded rolling out the dough due to arthritis soI bought a pasta maker….it’s a lifesaver 🙂 Then I decided to practice making noodles so I used the extra dough. Well then I had to cook the noodles and the result was pure heaven. All the noodles needed was a pinch of salt. Thank you so much for the wonderful tip of using the pasta maker. I will try making varenky next.

    · Reply
    • Pasta roller trully is a God-sent in recipes like this. I have no arthritis or anything else that physically makes me unable to roll it, but I still hate the process lol.
      Thanks for using my recipes and sharing your feedback!

      With all the butter in the dough I can just imagine what those noodles were like! genius idea!

      · Reply
  • anne

    hey. I was just wondering about the vodka, can you replace with rum or any other kind of alcohol

    · Reply
  • Katherine

    Thanks so much for this incredible recipe! I used 5% vinegar as that’s what I had on hand. I also brushed each layer with vanilla syrup to help soften the layers. Then I added a dark chocolate ganache topping with a white contrast design to mimic a Napoleon pastry I had before…. The results were stunning and yummy… It became a new family favorite!

    · Reply
  • Ian

    Hi I wanted to make this for my friends birthday party on Monday, i’m planing to bake it on Saturday ,I had a couple of questions ,i did read through the reviews and wasn’t clear on a few things
    1)would the refrigeration time be enough? Saturday night Sunday and Monday during the day?
    2)1 tbsp of vinegar(9%) i saw that you said that you double the regular vinegar ,i havent seent 9% vinegar so should i be using 2 tbsp of regular distilled vinegar?
    3) for the 11/2-21/4 cups of sugar called for in the recipe, i saw a comment where you said you used 1.5 granulated sugar and you added 1.5 powdered sugar then went on to say that you use 21/4 what im confused about is should i be using 1.5 regular sugar and then add1.5 powdered sugar a total of 3 cups? or how much granulated sugar and how much powdered sugar i should yous for best result?
    4)instead of using a crumb top can i use a icing topping like a traditional mille-feuille or wid it be to sweet?

    · Reply
    • Hi Ian,
      thank you for your questions. I will respond to them in the same order as you wrote the questions.
      1. Yes, that should be plenty of time. You can leave the cake at room temperature overnight, and then place int he refrigerator until ready to serve.
      2. yes, use 2 tablespoons of vinegar instead of 1- 9%.
      3. So, the original recipe called for 1.5 cups granulated sugar. For me this was not sweet enough so I added 1.5 cups of powdered sugar. Powdered sugar is lighter than granulated sugar, so if you’re replacing the powdered sugar with the granulated sugar, you would add 3/4 cups sugar instead of 1.5 cups powdered sugar. so if you wanted to follow the way I did it, you can just put 2 1/4 sugar and that’s it.
      4. The icing is usually added to french style napoleons. That’s when the layers are thick and crunchy. This way the top layer would be perfectly flat and smooth (since the cake layer is hard). With the Russian style napoleon, the layers get soaked with the cream, and therefor are very soft. If you were to put the icing on the top layer, it will not be perfectly smooth and therefor compromise the traditional neat design of the icing. You can try it, but it probably will not be as perfect as you hope.

      · Reply
      • Galina

        Hi! Thank you for your recipe!
        I’m going to try it tomorrow.
        Could you please tell me other ingredients in g and ml? As it is a bit confusing in cups. Because if I use “cups to grams weight converter” 1 cup of flour is 140g. (You use about 100g per cup).
        So, 6cups of milk – ml? (Converter suggests = 1,35l)
        1cup of custard sugar – g? (Converter suggests = 200g)
        Is it right?
        Thank you in advance!

        · Reply
        • As to the milk and sugar, you’re correct.
          For the flour, use the grams indicated in my recipe. For the custard when it says 1 cup, use 100 grams.

          · Reply
  • Julia

    Hi Marina. For the buttercream, I found, that if you whip butter really well before adding custard, at least 5 minutes, it doesn’t separate. Also you can save separated buttercream by whipping it in stand mixer on the highest speed for 5 to 10 minutes (and may be add some more butter).

    · Reply
  • yen

    Hi, I love this cake and so luck to visit your site. Can I ask the effect of vodka and vinegar here? thanks!

    · Reply
  • Alla

    Hi Marina,
    This cake looks amazing and apparently my Mothers favorite, so I am going to attempt to make this tomorrow but wondering what type of butter is best. Sweetened or unsweetened. Awaiting your reply. Thanks, Alla

    · Reply
    • Hi Alla,
      I am assuming you’re asking if the butter should be salted or unsalted, and not sweetened or unsweetened? Whenever the recipe calls for anything but unsalted butter it usually specifies so. For this recipe you want to use unsalted butter.

      · Reply
  • How amazing! is this cake? Love this recipe but it seems like so much work! I always look for authentic Napoleon cake when I’m in Russin part of New York City but they seem to always make it with Margarine (and ruin it)!
    I’ve tried making it with puff pastry but you need quite a bit of it – which becomes expensive.
    I may actually give this go since it’s my mom’s birthday (and she loves it)

    Happy Medley

    · Reply
    • Hi Anna!
      Any made puff pastry is usually made with Margarine and therefor sometimes leaves a film residue on the roof of the mouth when you eat the napoleon, yes I know… very delicious (Not!) lol. But this quick version of the puff pastry isn’t as hard to make as it looks and butter makes everything better, including this Napoleon cake))

      · Reply
  • Love this recipe! My Russian friend once brought me a slice of this cake and oh my I was in cake heaven! It is so decadent and delicious!
    I work for a foodtech company called Chicory and would love to invite you to become a recipe partner with us. Are you interested?

    · Reply
    • Thank you! Yes Napoleon is one of the best Russian desserts!

      Sure, you can email me about it to letthebakingbeginblog @

      · Reply
      • I sent you an email! Looking forward to your response, Marina

        · Reply
  • Hella

    Hi, do you use all purpose flour for the custard, too? Here in Germany we use starch for creams ans so on.

    · Reply
    • Hi Hella,
      Yes for this recipe you use all purpose flour. Other recipes use corn starch but this one does not 🙂

      · Reply
  • AlIna

    Thank you, Marina for the amazing recipe! It was my first attempt at Napoleon and it turned out just like my mama used to make ;). Your video instructions were a life saver! 😉 Made my boyfriend very happy man on his birthday!

    · Reply
    • Thats great Alina! The video instructions are courtesy of the original creator of the recipe not me, but they’re definitely very helpful! Thanks for your feedback 😀

      · Reply
  • Yelena

    My cream is a little runny, how would I fix that? Or it shouldn’t be a big problem??

    · Reply
  • Yelena

    What hold I do if the custard is a little runny?? Will it be okay or a problem??

    · Reply
    • the custard is supposed to be runny. That’s what makes the cake moist and that is why I was assembling the cake in the cake ring on the pictures 🙂

      · Reply
  • Bonnie

    It was my first time making Napoleon cake and glad I decided on this recipe, it turned out great. I would increase the custard next time though as didn’t have much left on the last couple of layers.

    · Reply
    • That’s great Bonnie! Increasing the custard amount sounds like a good idea if you like a lot of custard in your cake.

      · Reply
  • Julie

    Marina, how much cream do i put on each sheet ? Every time i made Napoleon it came out dry. Even being in the fridge for 2 days ! I even tried sinking the sheets with cream last time. Still no luck 🙁

    · Reply
    • Hmm… I am not sure what’s going on. Are you following the recipe and make your own puff pastry or do you use store bought? if you’re following the recipe but it still is too dry for your taste, try increasing the custard amount by 1/3 or 1/2. That might make it more moist for you. Also, what do you mean “sinking the sheets with cream”?

      · Reply
  • Rachel

    Can I make pastry cream oadvance?

    · Reply
    • I wouldn’t do it more than 2 days in advance.

      · Reply
  • The only thing I would do different is drizzle with a chocolate glaze (Like a real Napoleon) and use pre-made puff pastry.

    · Reply
    • I like how you think 🙂

      · Reply
    • Jane

      I like how one assumes that only one’s version of Napoleon is a real Napoleon! I have been baking Napoleon for the last 45 years back in Odessa and here in USA, like my mother before me. Never saw chocolate glaze drizzled on it. This recipe very similar to mine; I use half butter, half sour cream, backing soda and lemon juice and lemon zest for layers. Basic “zavarnoy krem”.

      · Reply
  • Nadia

    Where do you buy a 9% vinegar?

    · Reply
    • nadia

      can you tell me where you bought your vinegar for the cake please? Thanks

      · Reply
  • Jeanne

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

    · Reply
    • 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 🙂

      · Reply
  • Aaron

    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.

    · Reply
    • The vanilla is stirred into the custard when it is done cooking 🙂 I”ll go and add that to the recipe 🙂

      · Reply
  • Crystal

    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!

    · Reply
    • 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.

      · Reply
  • Robert Noeth

    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,

    · Reply
    • 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 🙂

      · Reply
  • luda

    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.

    · Reply
    • 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!

      · Reply
  • Aurelia

    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.

    · Reply
    • 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))

      · Reply
  • Alina

    Thanks for this recipe. It turned out perfect. Just like the old style Napoleon cake I remember in Ukraine!

    · Reply
    • “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 🙂

      · Reply
  • mia

    davno hochy spech napoleon, y vas ochen interesnii retseptik, bydem probovat 😉

    · Reply
    • Спасибо Миа! Дайте знать как все прошло 🙂

      · Reply
  • Angela

    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

    · Reply
    • Hi Angela,
      This recipe makes 12 cake layers and they all fit within a 10 inch round cake ring (3 inches tall).

      · Reply
  • Rick Kurtzuba

    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.

    · Reply
    • Hi Rick,
      You can’t be too sure until you try this one 😉

      · Reply
    • Debora

      Rick, the Lithuanian Cake from Omaha has an apricot filling. Though very delicious, it is a bit different then the one I grew up on, which was made by a woman who lived 2 blocks away from the Lithuanian Bakery. I don’t think the bakery existed back in the 50’s and early 60’s, though I don’t know where we bought our sourdough rye from.
      Marina, I am thinking of making this the next time with a pasta maker and rolling the dough through the lasagna setting, then making the cake rectangular. This will be much easier and more efficient to feed the 60+ relatives that are in my family.

      · Reply
      • larisa

        Debora can you please let me know how you went making the rectangular version. I also want to make a large one for a large family Occassion

        · Reply
      • Ha! What a coincidence that someone even know the Lithuanian Bakery from Omaha and was able to respond to that comment! Can’t believe I didn’t see you comment until now.
        I bet by now you have tried using the pasta maker and have figured that this dough really can be rolled using the pasta maker and square is just fine for this cake.
        Thanks for your comment!

        · Reply
  • Yana

    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!).

    · Reply
    • 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?

      · Reply
  • Sasha

    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.

    · Reply
    • 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!

      · Reply
      • Alina

        Love your sassy response to this one. Lol!

        · Reply
        • Why thank you Alina)))

          · Reply
      • Nastia

        I fillowd Marina’s recipe and the cake turned out amazing! It was my first time making Napoleon and I used 6 cups flour. Everyone was impressed.

        · Reply
  • Amaliya

    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?

    · Reply
    • 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.

      · Reply
  • Daniel

    What is the difference between 5% acidity and 9%?
    Thank You!

    · Reply
    • I am not sure how it affects the dough, but the basic answer would be, 9% is more sour than the 5%.

      · Reply
  • Aleksandra Markovich


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

    · Reply
    • I hope you don’t!)) You need just a pinch of salt.

      · Reply
  • 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 🙂

    · Reply
    • Oxana Amenyah

      My husband would never forgive me if I use his vodka, still it’s worth a try. I’ll be happy if my cake would look at least 50% like yours. 🙂

      · Reply
      • 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!

        · Reply
  • lina

    Can I make it without vodka? Great recipe

    · Reply
    • 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

      · Reply
  • snezhana

    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.

    · Reply
    • I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe! Did the cake with the store-bought dough get very soft? Or did you have to peel the layers to eat it?

      · Reply
  • Oksana

    What’s the difference in baking would a 9% acidity vinegar have vs a 5% acidity vinegar? Thanks!

    · Reply
  • Julia |

    This looks amazing! I’ve been wanting to make Napoleon forever but never seem to have time: it seems very time consuming. Now I am inspired! Pinned!

    · Reply
    • It’s definitely not an everyday project, but a good occasion can make one want to make special things 😀

      · Reply

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