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King of Napoleons goes Rectangular!

Piece of cake topped with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, mint, and powdered sugar on a white decorative plate with a cup.

Hello my dear readers! Just dropping a post to make your Napoleon baking a little quicker. No new recipe, just a little tip that lets you cut baking time of the King of Napoleons cake in half.

Full cake topped with raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, mint, and powdered sugar on a wooden cutting board.

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate rolling dough. Be it for a cake, pastries, or vareniki, I don’t discriminate. Hate it all the same. So I always look for shortcuts when it comes to that.
Piece of cake topped with raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, mint, and powdered sugar on a white decorative plate with a cup of tea.

Making the cake rectangular is more efficient when it comes to baking, but also it makes it easier to cut it into smaller squares if you’re feeding a large crowd.
Also, this time instead of the simple crushed up cake layers to top the cake, I used berries & mint leaves. Fruits are a classic when it comes to custard & puff pastry so that was a no brainer, but next time I will add 1/2 cup more sugar to the custard, to compensate for the natural tartness of the berries.

Cake topped with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, mint, and powdered sugar on a wooden cutting board.

Try some these other DESSERTS:


King of Napoleons goes Rectangular!

5 from 3 votes

A classic Russian cake made with crispy pastry layers filled with a creamy custard buttercream.

Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Keyword: napoleon cake
Servings: 7 .5 x 11 Cake


  • Follow Instructions Here but make changes as follows in the instructions below.


Roll & Bake

  1. The trick is in making your cake rectangular instead of round. If you don’t care about the shape, just follow the instructions for making the King of Napoleons cake, but instead of rolling out 8 round layers, split your dough in 4 pieces, then roll each one on floured working surfaced to a 13x19 size. This will be slightly larger than the baking sheet, but the cake shrinks while baking, so it will be OK. Bake on an inverted (upside down) 12x18 baking sheet. Bake as directed for 5-7 minutes or until slightly golden. Trim the sides of each cake layer with a knife or a pizza cutter to about 17x11. Reserve the scraps. They will be used for decorating later.

To layer:

  1. Reserve 1 1/2 cup frosting, set aside.
  2. Use the remaining custard to layer the 4 sheets of cake, topping the top layer with custard as well. Use a ruler and cut the cake in half. Stack one half on top of the other half. Spread the reserved custard all over the cake.
  3. Crush the cake scraps that we reserved earlier and press them against the sides of your cake, then sprinkle some on top.


  1. Top the cake with berries of choice & mint leaves. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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Check the original recipe for a round Napoleon HERE:

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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  • Anna

    Hi Marina!
    Thank you so much for your suggestion for the ganache. Great idea.

    Marina. Have you ever made a napoleon alternating the layers with the custard filling and the Dulce de Leche Mousseline Creme? If, so how was it? If not what do you

    · Reply
    • Hi Anna,
      I haven’t tried that, but it sounds like a good idea. I’m not sure if it wouldn’t be too rich though, because the mousseline cream does have a little bit more butter than the regular custard. Let me know how you like it if you do try it 🙂

      · Reply
  • Anna

    Hi Marina
    I’ve been making Napoleon for many years, it’s a firm family favourite.
    Since I discovered your blog, I’ve been using your recipe for the pastry…it’s the best.
    Thank you. I have always made my napoleon rectangular sometimes with custard layers but mostly alternating layer of Dulce de Leche Mousseline Creme and Apricot lekvar. Don’t know if you’re ever tried it but, it’s a wonderful combination.

    Now I need your help. I’m going to be making a napoleon for my neighbour to serve to her guests the day after her sons wedding at the end of September. Keeping in mind that it will already be Autumn, can you suggest how I might decorate it. I want to make it a little special, so I don’t just want to use the crushed pastry crumbs. Thanks Marina.

    · Reply
    • Hi Anna,
      Thank you so much for sharing your feedback! Makes me so happy!

      As to the decorating, you could trim the sides for even borders, then cover the whole cake in a thin layer of lightly sweetened whipped cream, then cover the top, allowing some of the chocolate ganache to drizzle down the sides. Then use the same whipped cream to pipe decorative border on top of the glossy chocolate ganache.

      · Reply
  • DrDJ

    We always used to get my sister a Napoleon for her birthday at a lovely bistro in town, which unfortunately shut down some time ago. I have been looking for a good but not impossibly difficult Napoleon recipe, and eventually discovered I was looking for a Russian, not French, Napoleon recipe. This one sounded promising, especially the easy puff pastry (I hate buying pre-made versions of most things), so I gave it a try, to rave reviews.

    Both the pastry and cream are delicious on their own and even better together, although extremely rich (the version we had previously had more of a whipped-cream than custard filling). I made the rectangular version and spread a full layer of raspberry preserves (sweetened with fruit juice, not sugar, so still fairly tart) on one layer of the pastry so that when it was cut and stacked, there were two layers of raspberry filling, and that definitely added more dimension to the flavour. All in all a great success and I would definitely make it again, although I would also like to find a version with the lighter, whipped-cream type filling to try. I do really love this custard though and can see using it not only in Napoleons but also to serve with fruit or fill tarts.

    · Reply
    • Thank you for such a detailed and thorough review! I’m glad you were able to make this recipe your own with the addition of raspberry filing, that’s such a great idea!

      · Reply
    • Thank you for such a detailed and thorough review! I’m glad you were able to make this recipe your own with the addition of raspberry filling, that’s such a great idea!

      · Reply
  • snowflakeslorr

    I made this!!!!. it was such a hit..although time consuming, it was worth every bit of effort. thank you so much for the step by step instructions..and for including the video in the first one you made (the best Napoleon cake ever). it was very helpful. I posted a pic on Instagram and tagged ‘letthebakingbegin’

    · Reply
  • Hala

    Hi, I can’t find 9% vinegar. If I use 5%, will I need to change its quantity? If so, how much of it should I use?

    · Reply
  • marina

    For crispy cake, do you leave on the counter or in the fridge and cut into it within 3 hrs?

    · Reply
  • Marlene

    Can I sub puff pastry rolled very thin? I have quite a bit in my freezer to use up. Is there a non-dairy substitute for the milk in the custard that doesn’t affect the taste? I’d like to make his for a group than includes a few who are lactose intolerant. Thanks.

    · Reply
    • Yes, that should be fine. Just make sure to roll it thin and either cut it within 3 hours of layering or give it a full day or two before eating. If you cut it within 3 hours, the layers will be crispy. If you wait longer then they will start soaking up the cream and the layers will be neither crispy or soaked through, so do give it a day or two for it to completely soften the layers.
      Unfortunately I have no idea what you could use instead of milk, not to change the flavor of the cream…

      · Reply
      • Bea

        coconut milk is a great sub for milk or cream!!

        · Reply
  • Jennifer Marranci

    I made this yesterday and was a bit nervous about the puff pastry as I have no food processor and dont drink so I couldnt justify buying a bottle of vodka. I have to say I cant imagine it being any better than it is having been mixed by hand with only the vinegar to keep the dough light. What a great recipe and the custard is yummy.! This has gone on my list of dazzler desserts. I cant wait to try it with fresh strawberries. Thank you for sharing your recipe with us!!

    · Reply
    • Wow! That’s so great! I am so happy you found this recipe to be as awesome as I think it is 😀
      By the way, I don’t drink either and I bought a little tiny bottle of vodka just for this recipe 🙂 you can also use the vodka to make your own vanilla extract. Just add a split vanilla bean to the vodka and let it infuse for a couple of months 🙂

      · Reply
  • themondaybox

    This Napolean Cake is absolutely gorgeous! Beautiful enough for any celebration! I imagine saying, “Wow!” when I taste it ,just like I said “Wow!” when I saw it! 🙂

    · Reply
    • Thanks so much! it’s definitely one of only a couple favorites that our family has!

      · Reply
  • foodlikecake

    That looks so good!

    · Reply
  • Natasha Kravchuk

    Girl this looks incredible! You sure know how to decorate a cake! Now all you have to do is invite me over for tea 😉

    · Reply
    • Why thank you dear 😀 Yes, just give me a buzz when you’re in town 😉

      · Reply
      • Natasha (@NatashasKitchen)

        You know I’ve never been in Oregon for any length of time; just driving through, but it’s on my list! I really want to see Canon beach. Have you been there?

        · Reply
        • Oh yes I have 🙂 Canon beach is beautiful with a very long tidal line… If you ever make it to the oregon coast, take the time to drive down highway 101 – it goes along the coastal line and you will be able to catch all kinds of beautiful ocean beaches, with different views… Try to catch it at sunset… you will be mezmerised!

          · Reply

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