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Russian Napoleon Cake – Puff Pastry Cake

Russian Napoleon Cake is the ultimate Napoleon Cake and a cousin of the traditional Napoleon Recipe, it is made of crispy layers of puff pastry, sandwiched together with creamy and buttery custard.

Check out my collection of other PUFF PASTRY DESSERT RECIPES.

A slice of the ultimate Russian napoleon cake recipe on a plate.

What is Napoleon Cake?

Napoleon Cake is a traditional French dessert (Mille-feuille) that consists of several, flaky and crispy layers of Puff Puff Pastry filled with thick layers of pastry cream, with the top layer being covered in powdered sugar glaze with swirls of chocolate sugar glaze.

Are there different types of Napoleon Cake?

Yes, there are two general types of Napoleons. One is the French Napoleon cake which I described above. The second is the Russian Napoleon Cake.

The Russian Napoleon cake is different in the fact that it typically has a lot more cake layers (could be as much as 15) of puff pastry, that is rolled super thin. The thin layers are then sandwiched with a moderate amount of pastry cream. This allows the puff pastry to soften and become very moist and tender, as shown below.

Napoleon cake made with puff pastry sheets and a sweet custard cream.

It might sound like it defeats the purpose of using the puff pastry in the first place because the glory of the puff pastry is being able to see each and individual layer within the puff pastry. Nevertheless, once you try the Russian Napoleon cake version, you might see why we Slavics go crazy for this cake!

Which type is this Napoleon Cake Recipe? 

This cake uses the technique of the Russian Napoleon cake (many thin puff pastry layers + moderate amount of pastry cream in between), but I recommend not waiting for 24 to 48 hours until the layers are completely softened.

This will give you the absolute pleasure of experiencing different textures in each bite – crispy, flaky puff pastry and super creamy pastry cream. You can wait until the cake becomes soft and tender, but you don’t have to. Try this recipe and decide for yourself which one you prefer.

Can this Napoleon Cake be made ahead of time?

If you prefer the crispy version, you can bake the layers and make the pastry cream the night before and assemble it within 3 hours of eating for the best results.
If you prefer the soft and tender version, you can make the fully assembled cake as much as 48 hours in advance. Just keep the cake covered so it doesn’t dry out and absorb the fridge odors.


I have done an Instagram Poll recently and have found that 78% of everyone who participated in the poll, prefer this Napoleon Cake while it’s still crispy and flaky.

I decided to update my original Napoleon Cake 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!

Russian Napoleon cake in a cake platter next to a slice of cake on a plate.


Best Napoleon Cake Ever!

Scroll to the bottom for a recipe card with precise ingredient amounts and instructions.

Quick Puff Pastry (makes eight 11″ round cake layers)

  • Butter, cold
  • Eggs
  • Water, cold
  • All-purpose flour
  • Vodka/cognac (omit, if can not use)
  • White vinegar
  • Pinch of Salt

Egg Yolk Custard

  • Egg yolks
  • Sugar
  • Milk
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour (sifted)
  • Butter

How to make  Napoleon Cake: 

How to Make Quick Puff Pastry

  • In a large cup, whisk together eggs and salt, stir in cold water, 2 tablespoons vinegar & 3 tablespoons vodka
  • Add flour to the cup of your food processor. Next, add the cold, cubed butter and pulse or process until the crumbs are pea size
  • Now, 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.How to make homemade crispy puff pastry cake batter.
  • Pour the content of the food processor bowl onto a 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.How to prepare the puff pastry dough and cover with parchment paper.

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 a very uniform, lump-free batter. Add another 50 milliliters of milk to make it easier.Preparing the sweet custard cream for this Napoleon cake.
  • 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).
  • Temper 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 form 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 in color. Repeat with the rest of the dough, to make 8 layers.
  • As soon as the cake layer is baked and out of the oven, place an 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.How to prepare and bake the homemade puff pastry sheets.
  • Crumble the cake scraps. Set aside.


  • Place a dab of frosting on a serving platter.  Place first cake layer and press to adhere.
  • Surround the cake layer with 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 a couple of tablespoons of shredded scraps on top of the cake.Prepare and assembling the puff pastry cake layers and layers of custard cream.
  • 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 skin from forming on the custard. Serve chilled.Trimming the edges of the cake and lining them with leftover puff pastry cake crumbs.Scroll to the bottom for the recipe card

Try these other Napolean Cake Recipes:


The King of Napoleons

4.92 from 68 votes

The ultimate Russian Napoleon cake layers of thin puff pastry sheets and a creamy custard filling. 

Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Russian
Keyword: napoleon cake, napoleons
Calories: 483 kcal
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 24 servings (24 servings = 11 inch round cake)


Quick Puff Pastry

  • 1 3/4 cups unsalted butter cold or frozen, cubed
  • 2 eggs
  • cups water cold
  • 6 cups sifted all-purpose flour (6 cups sifted flour = 650 g)
  • 3 tbsp vodka/cognac (replace with water if can not use)
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • tsp kosher salt

Egg Yolk Custard


Make Quick Puff Pastry

  1. Wet ingredients: In a large cup whisk together 2 eggs, ⅛ tsp salt and stir in ⅔ cups cold water, then add 2 tablespoon vinegar & 3 tablespoons of vodka. Set aside.

  2. Combine flour & butter: Add 6 cups flour and 1 ¾ cups of cold cubed butter to the cup of food processor. Then keep pulsing the mixture until the the mixture is the size of peas.

  3. Add the egg mixture into the flour-butter mixture and continue pulsing until the dough starts sticking to itself, forming a dough, but is not formed yet.

  4. Form a dough: Turn out the contents 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. Knead it several times, but as soon as the dough comes together stop kneading/working it. The butter needs to stay in small chunks within the dough or the puff pastry will not have puffy layers.

  5. Divide & refrigerate: Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, flatten it into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours (or up to several days if making ahead of time).

    This will allow the flour to fully absorb the liquids and the butter to harden again.

Make the Egg Yolk Custard

  1. Egg yolk mixture: In a 6 qt pot whisk together 7 egg yolks and 2 cups of sugar adding a little bit of milk as needed to help with mixing. Next, whisk in 2/3 cups flour until you have a uniform, lump-free batter adding bits of milk as needed to help with mixing.

  2. Hot milk: In a saucepot heat the remaining milk over medium heat whisking continuously to keep the bottom from scorching. Alternatively you can microwave the milk until it is boiling.

  3. Temper the egg yolk mixture by slowly pouring the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, all the while mixing.

  4. Thicken the custard: Now bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking continuously (!!) preventing the bottom of the pot from scorching. Once boiling, cook for 2-3 minutes or until the custard is thickened and the taste of flour desipates.

  5. Flavor it: Add 1 tbsp of vanilla extract and 1 ¾ cups of butter and whisk until completely melted.

  6. Make it smooth: If your custard had clumps, run it through a fine sieve to remove clumps.

  7. Allow the custard to cool by pouring it into a rimmed baking sheet and covering it with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap should touch the surface of the custard, to keep a skin from forming.

    Tip: If making ahead of time, refrigerate covered for up to 3 days.

Bake the puff pastry cake layers

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

  2. Prep the baking sheet: Turn a 12" x 16" baking sheet over (or use a flat cookie sheet, right side up) and set it on a damp kitchen towel to prevent it from moving as you'll roll your cake layers on top of it.

  3. Roll the cake layers: Remove 1 dough ball from the fridge at a time and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 12 ½" circle on top of the upside down baking sheet dusting the surface with flour as needed. The cake layers will be very thin.

    Prick with a fork every 1-2 inches, to prevent uneven rising. Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until lightly golden.

    TIP: Start a timer every time a cake layer goes in the oven to prevent it from burning. The cake layers bake fast and it is easy to forget and burn them.

  4. Trim: As soon as the cake layer is baked and out of the oven, place an 11-inch stensil (dinner plate, large lid, etc.) on top of the cake layer and use a very sharp knife or a pizza cutter to cut around it. Collect the scraps into a separate bowl and be careful to keep the round cake layers from cracking. Use a flat cookie sheet, a cake transfer

    Repeat steps 3 & 4 with the rest of the dough, to achieve 8 layers total.

  5. Crumble the cake scraps into finer crumbs. Set aside. This will be used to cover the outside of the cake.


  1. Divide the frositng into 8 equal pieces by "cutting" it with spatula or spoon. As the frosting cools it will be thickened like a jelly so it will be easy to divide.

    Now put a small dab of frosting on your serving plate and top it with the first cake layer. Press gently to adhere.

  2. Surround the cake layer by a cake ring & secure it with a ribbon or a cake strip.

    The cake will be layered inside the ring. The cake ring is optional, but it does help to keep the edges tidy.

  3. Layer the cake: Add 1/8th of custard to the cake layer inside the cake ring and spread it evenly.

    Now repeat with the remaining cake layers and custard, finishing with half of the remaining custard on top.

    Sprinkle some of the cake crumbs on top of the cake to cover the top surface completely. The remainder of the crumbs will be used for the sides of the cake, later.

    The cake crumbs are used to prevent a film from forming on the custard.

  4. Remove the ring: Run a thin knife on the inside of the cake ring to losen the cake from the ring. Remove the ring.

  5. Cover the sides with the remainder of the custard in an even layer. Press the remaining cake crumbs against the sides of the cake, covering the sides completely. If there are any remaining crumbs, sprinkle them on top.

    Tap the serving plate with the cake several times allowing any lose crumbs to fall to the sides of the plate. Now clean up the edges of the cake plate and refrigerate the cake until ready to eat.

  6. See notes for serving suggestions.

Recipe Notes

Serving Suggestion: 

  1. Crispy version: The cake can be served right away after assembly, in which case you'll be able to experience the thin, brittle and crispy layers of cake that alternate with creamy custard. The cake will stay crispy for about 1-2 hours after assembly.
  2. Tender & soft: Otherwise, it can be refrigerated for 24-48 hours and then served. This version will delight you with a soft and tender cake that you can easily slice through with a spoon. Make sure to bring the cake to room temperature before serving. If you serve it cold the cake might seem like it doesn't have enough custard. 

If you cut into the cake anytime between the time of option 1 or option 2, the cake layers will be a bit gummy and hard to slice through with a fork/spoon. So, either serve it right after assembly or wait until the cake layers have had the time to absorb the cream and become tender.

Nutrition Facts
The King of Napoleons
Amount Per Serving
Calories 483 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 14g88%
Cholesterol 126mg42%
Sodium 199mg9%
Potassium 136mg4%
Carbohydrates 62g21%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 34g38%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 767IU15%
Calcium 89mg9%
Iron 2mg11%
* 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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  • JanaH

    Can you freeze this cake? And if yes, how will the texture be once thawed?

    · Reply
  • DCX

    This was the 2nd time using this recipe and it does not falter. The only other time I’ve ever had this cake was from a cake shop that shut down after covid. I was searching for recipes because it is absolutely worth the time to taste them again. However, this recipe was outstanding and definitely holds up against the others, I had never had actual custard before this and it was amazing. I do consider this a difficult cake to make but, worth every minute it took to make it. I’d say to use a ziploc bag to put it in while you let the custard cool, that way you can use it to carefully pour it on the cake itself but everything else was clear and made sense. Highly recommend this cake, especially if your new to making it.

    · Reply
  • Shoes

    SEVEN (7!) sticks of butter and 2 cups of sugar!! SO SO SO unhealthy. But SO SO SO TASTY!! Why God WHYYYYYY???

    · Reply
  • Tetiana

    It’s not russian!!!

    · Reply
    • Olga

      it’s Russian national desert, deal with it

      · Reply
  • Fredrick Gendall

    This is the same recipe that has been handed down to me from my Russian great grandmother from the late 40s , Excellent it’s been a winner in our family for ages , please try the Russian Napoleon you will fall in love with this dessert. Fredrick Gendall from Simi Valley Ca.

    · Reply
  • Tammy

    This pastry/cake is AMAZING, I let it sit for 48 hours, it was PERFECT. I did add some toasted coconut to the pastry crumbs on the outside just as a bit of a twist and it was so delicious that I am making it again this Sunday to serve Tuesday for a co-worker’s last day celebration.

    · Reply
  • Rebeca

    Could I use cornstarch instead of flour for the custard I don’t like the flour taste on it. my taste buds are really sensitive

    · Reply
    • I know cornstarch can be used for custards but I can’t tell you the proportions to replace one with the other.

      Also, if you can taste the flour in a custard, most likely the custard wasn’t cooked long enough.

      · Reply
      • Mary

        I know this is probably a tad bit too late to respond (10 months), but for future reference, you would use half the amount of cornstarch in place of flour, i.e., instead of 2/3 cup flour, use 1/3 cup flour instead.

        · Reply
  • Sharyn

    can I use store-bought puff pastry?

    · Reply
  • Xzzz

    Proportions are simply off in this recipe. Tried to follow every step and got a condensed milk instead of cream or custard, and the pastry was thin. Judging by the comments, I’m not the only one with these problems. Wasted a lot of time and money.
    Well, this was a lesson for me. Do not try to make cream without the actual cream. Do not follow recipes that do not clearly explain proportions.

    · Reply
    • HI Xzzz,
      I’m sorry you had a disappointing experience. This is not an easy cake to whip up and it sounds like you’ve either missed a step or measured ingredients wrong. I’m not sure though what went wrong from your comment. If you’d like to clarify, maybe I can help you figure it out.
      The cream isn’t thick, nor is it supposed to be. The layers are supposed to be super thin as per recipe.

      I do wonder if you never made it to the bottom of the page where the actual recipe with precise ingredient amounts and instructions are written.

      · Reply
      • A German/Russian/Canadian Girl

        Just wondering if there’s too much butter in the pastry cream in this recipe? 1 3/4C of butter is a lot of butter for a custard. I compared it to other recipes and those call for a lot less. Are you sure that the custard requires the exact same amount as the puff pastry?

        I haven’t made it yet, but thought I’d check the comments to see if that was an error.

        · Reply
        • Hi!
          Nope, the recipe is good as written. Just made 5 batches of it for my cousin’s wedding a couple of weeks ago and it was as good as it should be.

          · Reply
  • Hi Marina–

    I appreciate how your site adjusts quantities for larger and smaller portions, but not all the information adjusts. The unsifted flour quantity and salt don’t change when going to larger or smaller servings. Using 114g for sifted and 135g for unsifted, I got a total of 7.6 cups of unsifted flour for 36 servings. Also, there is a question of the salt…because you ask for a “pinch of salt,” am I to conclude that you want salted butter? How much salt do you recommend for unsalted butter?

    For the custard, how much, by weight, should there be? 1 cup of sifted flour is less than 1 cup of flour, sifted…114g vs. 135g.

    I made a small “test cake” for my Niece and her fiancé, and they loved the result. I am looking forward to making this recipe as their wedding cake.

    · Reply
  • Barb

    Ingredients say 1 tablespoon vinegar instructions say 2 tablespoons vinegar

    So which is it ????

    · Reply
    • Hi Barb, it’s 1 tablespoon of the 9% vinegar or 2 tablespoons of the regular white vinegar.
      I corrected the recipe to reflect this. Thanks for catching that!

      · Reply
  • Jillian

    This was delicious! For the custard I did 300 g of butter but I think 200 g would’ve been fine. I used a spring pan (~10 inches) and it worked just fine.
    This is a very heavy cake. If I were to make it again I’d half the recipe and make a shorter cake (4 layers instead of 8) but that’s just a preference. I made it within 30 minutes of eating and haven’t tried it leftover yet but I’m sure it’ll still be great!

    · Reply
  • Inga

    Wonderful recipe! I made it twice and both times it came out perfect.

    Thank you Marina.

    · Reply
  • Dimi

    Hey Marina,

    Do you think using whiskey instead of cognac would give the same effect? It looks so good! I’m trying it tonight for my husbands birthday tomorrow!

    · Reply
  • Marina,

    I have a dessert auction this Sunday I need to make something fabulous for and this looks ahhhmazing! Wondering however if I could use store bought puff pastry? I typically bake everything from scratch but low on time this time! If so, how would you recommend baking the sheet/layers? Should I roll them flatter? I would cut them into circle shape but don’t know about the rest! Thank you!

    · Reply
    • Hi Juli,
      No need to cut it into a circle shape. Keep the pastry sheets rectangle, just roll them out super, super thin and bake.
      For this amount of cream, I would use about 6 sheets of puff pastry rolled out super, super thin.

      · Reply
  • Suz

    Hi Marina. Just wanted to say that I have not had the courage yet to tackle your beautiful cake, but I have made just the custard part a number of times. I use it with other desserts or fruit and it is delicious. It is my favourite custard or pastry cream recipe. Hopefully one day I will get to make the entire thing. Thank you so much.

    · Reply
  • Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long?

    · Reply
    • Hi Vanessa,

      If you want it soft, it can keep just fine for up to 3 days with perfect flavor. After that, it won’t go bad for up to a week probably, but the cake will start to dry out.

      · Reply
  • This looks so good! Is it good served with anything else, like fruit or by itself?

    · Reply
  • Tammie Gabriel

    Major fail. Followed the recipe to a T and custard was so thin and runny I had to throw it away
    I was so excited to make this for Easter dessert and left me disappointed and disheartened.

    · Reply
    • Hi Tammie,

      If your custard came out thinner than shown in the video, I’d say you used the wrong ingredients or wrong amounts 🙂

      · Reply
  • Ed janus

    I was so excited to try this recipie! My family loves Napoleon and my husband makes excellent Napoleon, but it takes time, long time… however this was nothing like real thing, very disappointed. It was edible but not something we would make it again. So I guess no shortcuts!

    · Reply
    • Hi Ed,
      I’m sorry the recipe didn’t come out the way you wanted it. I wonder if you could describe what the “real thing” tastes like? This recipe is what we grew up eating back home, but if there’s a recipe that’s even better than this one I would love to try that one too. Do you have a recipe for your favorite Napoleon?

      Thanks for your comment and feedback!

      · Reply
  • Real deal

    Thank you- great recepie and video! Hower, considering optional recepie,since this cake is born in Russia in an event of a victory of Admiral Kutuzov over Napoleon in 1812.
    This layered dough is right, but the filling ( cream) should be without a smallest taste of flour- it’s not the taste of an original Napoleon’ This recepie is very common, but for A real Russian Napoleon -This particular cream : feels thick, heavy and chewy.
    A real Napoleon should be very light, crispy, melting in your mouth with a taste of a sophisticated luxury! So, add no flour please- the cream should be melting in your mouth without aftertaste of flour on your teeth.
    Try to use 2 cans of organic condensed milk- sweetened, 400 g of the best unsalted butter and 10 g of vanilla sugar powder. You can add squizzed lemon juice. Beat it in the mixer until white color. Cover every layer , as it was explained on this wonderful presentation!
    Bone appetite!

    · Reply
  • Tammy

    Your instruction was excellent! This was so tasty, and makes me want to visit France!

    · Reply
  • Evgeniia

    Hi, the cake looks very much Russian style:) I would like to cook it but a bit confused about the measurements in cups… What is the volume of a cup you are using?

    · Reply
    • Cups are a standard of measure here in the US. So the volume of a cup is 8 oz or 237ml. You can probably google any other specific measurements.

      · Reply
  • Juliet

    Hi, this recipe looks amazing! I’m going to attempt it, but just moved to Ecuador and no longer have my kitchen gadgets. Without a food processor would you suggest just cutting in the butter? Many thanks!

    · Reply
    • Hi Juliet, you can just use a knife to keep cutting the butter into the flour until it gets to about the size of peas. Good luck Juliet!

      · Reply
  • Mary Ann

    Directions all of a sudden change from standard to metric, very upsetting.

    · Reply
  • Susan Raider

    I made this cake today. I had a few issues. I forgot to prick some of the puff pastries before baking. As soon as I pulled them out in their puffed glory, I pressed them down gently with another sheet tray. Worked like a charm. I used the 400 g of butter that you used, so maybe I should have slightly increased the flour, I think. It did not set up as desired. I put it in the fridge, and it did set a bit. I used rectangles instead of rounds. I layered the pretty runny custard with the lovely pastry, crumbed the sides and put a layer of custard and berries on top. Then I wrapped the sides tightly in foil and refrigerated it for about 3 hours. It came out beautiful, and everyone loved it. I wish I could add photos to show you. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

    · Reply
    • Hi Susan,
      About the flour, do not increase the flour. The cream is supposed to be thinner like it was. If anything just let the cream cool to room temperature, or refrigerate it after you make it to make it thicker. Otherwise do not change anything, unless you would like a different texture or flavor of the cake.

      If you have social media accounts you can upload it to Facebook or Instagram and tag me, I would love to see your pictures!

      Thank you for your detailed feedback!

      · Reply
  • Ally

    I just made this last night and it was so good, thank you Marina! Must say though it was a so sweet and rich I couldn’t eat too much! I’m finding ways to make it lighter for next time. I used the 2.25 grams of sugar but I think next time I will use 1.5 grams. Also I used 400 grams of butter. I see you say you used 400 grams of butter but it calls for 150-200 grams? What does the butter do for the custard? If I use the original 150-200 grams instead how will it affect the custard? Thanks so much looking forward to trying this again!

    · Reply
    • Hi Ally,
      In making the little changes in the recipe, I was trying to replicate the Napoleon cake as I know it and as I grew up eating. You can most definitely adjust it for your taste with less sugar and butter.

      The butter makes the custard smoother and more creamy, it also makes it less “floury” so to say. If you add only 150-200 grams of butter I would reduce the flour by about 4 tablespoons, as the butter melts and makes the custard thinner. If you put less butter, you will need to make he custard thinner to begin with.

      Hope this helps! Thanks for your questions and the star rating!

      · Reply
      • Ally

        Thanks so much Marina for your response! That helps a lot. I will try again soon with these changes. I also waited 24 hours after making and it tasted so much better than when I ate it 4 hours after making. Even the sweetness was tempered down which was great for me!

        Just another question. What is the difference in dough and cream between your Russian Napoleon and the French Napoleon (Mille Feuille)? I know there are a different amount of layers between the two and the French one has a chocolate sauce on top but is there an actual difference in the dough and cream? Wondering if I can adapt your recipe to try the French one since your recipe is so good

        · Reply
  • Wan Nita Ferial

    The cake looks yummy.. But what can substitute for vodka? Can I put orange juice instead?

    · Reply
    • Just omit the vodka altogether. It doesn’t add flavor, it helps with separating the layers within the puff pastry. There’s nothing you can substitute the vodka with, unfortunately.

      · Reply
  • Phyllis

    Looks wonderful

    · Reply
  • Raquel vandenbout

    Kind of Made this cake this afternoon, I think I overcooked my custard because it never set. I was dying to eat this. Hopefully it will thicken overnight. I had no idea the cake would take this long. Hope it’s worth it.

    · Reply
    • Hi Raquel,
      Could you clarify by what you mean when you say “set”? did it not thicken at all? If you have added the eggs and the flour then the only way it would not thicken is if you did not cook it long enough. The custard needs to cook for a couple minutes past the boiling point. Hope it all worked out!

      · Reply
  • Rina

    I’m so excited to try this recipe! Was going over it though, and noticed that 2T vinegar was listed in the ingredients for the puff pastry, but in the directions, you indicated only 1T. Can’t seem to find the other tablespoon of vinegar in the instructions. Which is correct, one or two tablespoons? Planning to make it tom 🙂

    · Reply
    • Hi Rina,
      It’s 2 Tbsp, I just corrected it.

      In the original it was 1 tbsp of 9% vinegar, but in the states we don’t have a 9%, only 4.5%, so I edited it so that the recipe would contain proper amount of acidity.

      I’m excited for you to try this recipe! Let me know how you like it once you make it!

      · Reply
  • mylene


    Do I really need to put the custard mixture into a jelly roll sheet ? Or any container will do? Does it need to be covered by plastic?

    · Reply
    • Hi Mylene,
      No you do not need to put it into a jelly roll pan. I do that to speed up the cooling process. You can just leave it in the pot to cool. Do make sure to press the plastic film against the custard to prevent the skin from forming.

      · Reply
  • Lidia

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

    · 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • zena

    it’s great.

    · Reply

    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
  • 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
  • marina

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

    · 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
  • 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
  • Ganaa

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

    · 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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?

        · 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Leona M

    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
  • 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

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