5 from 8 votes
The King of Napoleons
Prep Time
1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
2 hrs 30 mins

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

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Russian
Keyword: napoleon cake, napoleons
Servings: 24 servings
Calories: 483 kcal
Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin!
Quick Puff Pastry
  • 400 g. butter cold
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 ml water cold
  • 6 cups sifted all-purpose flour 650 g or 4 1/2 cups un-sifted all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp vodka/cognac (omit, if can not use)
  • 1 tbsp vinegar 9%
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Egg Yolk Custard
Make Quick Puff Pastry
  1. Whisk together 2 eggs and salt, stir in 150 ml cold water, 2 tablespoon vinegar & 3 tablespoons vodka.

  2. Add 6 cups flour to the cup of your food processor. Add 400 grams of cold, cubed butter and pulse or process until the crumbs are pea-size.

  3. Add the egg mixture into the flour mixture and continue processing until the dough starts sticking to itself a bit, but is not formed yet.
  4. Pour the content of the food processor bowl onto work surface and start gathering and sticking the dough together with your hands, trying to work it as little as possible. Form a ball and kneed it for a couple of seconds until a dough forms. Do not work with it too much, not to melt the butter with the warmth of your hands.
  5. Shape the dough into a log and then cut it into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Work on the custard
  1. Combine 7 egg yolks & sugar in a bowl and whisk them together, adding 50 milliliters of milk to make it easier.

  2. Add the flour and whisk again, forming a very uniform, lump-free batter. Add another 50 milliliters of milk to make it easier.

  3. Heat the remaining milk in a pot until boiling, all the while stirring to keep the bottom from scorching.
  4. Transfer the egg & flour mixture into a larger pot (about 3 quarts).

  5. Tamper the egg yolk mixture by slowly pouring the hot milk in, all the while mixing.
  6. Pour the mixture back into the pot and bring it to boil over medium heat, continuously (!!) stirring and keeping the bottom of the pot from scorching. Once boiling, cook for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add 1 tbsp vanilla extract & stir. Add butter, allow to melt and stir to form a smooth custard.

  8. If your custard had clumps, run it through a fine sieve or pulse it with an immersion blender (handheld) until smooth.
  9. Allow the custard to cool by pouring it into a jelly roll baking sheet and covering it with plastic wrap (plastic wrap should touch the custard, to keep the skin from forming). Do not refrigerate, just bring to room temperature.
Bake the cake layers
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Set the rack in the middle.

  2. 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.

  3. Prick with a fork all over, to prevent uneven rising. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until lightly golden. Repeat with the rest of the dough, to achieve 8 layers.
  4. As soon as the cake layer is baked and out of the oven, place 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.

  5. Crumble the cake scraps. Set aside.
  1. Place a dab of frosting on a serving platter. Place first cake layer and press to adhere.
  2. Surround the cake layer by a cake ring & secure with a ribbon or a cake strip. The rest of the cake will be built inside the ring.
  3. Place about 6 large spoons of frosting and smooth it around. Repeat with the rest of the lump-free and cake. (This can be done as you bake the cake. The cake layers can be just slightly cooled when you start assembling the cake. Warm cake layers will speed up absorption). Sprinkle couple tablespoons of shredded scraps on top of the cake.
  4. Run a knife between the cake and the ring. Remove the ring. Take some crumbled scraps into the palm of your hand and press them against the sides of the cake, all around. Sprinkle the rest of the cake crumbs on top of the cake. The cake scraps are not only for decoration, but also to keep a skin from forming on the custard. Serve chilled.
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.