5 from 6 votes
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
Best Napoleon Cake Ever!
Prep Time
2 hrs
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
3 hrs
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
Servings: 30
Calories: 301 kcal
Quick Puff Pastry
  • 400 g butter cold
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 ml water cold
  • 6 cups all purpose flour 650 g
  • 3 tbsp vodka /cognac (omit if not using alcohol)
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
Egg Yolk Custard
Make Puff Pastry or use store-bought puff pastry (see bottom of the recipe card for details)
  1. Mix cold water, 1 tablespoon vinegar & 3 tablespoons vodka in a cup.
  2. In a separate cup whisk together eggs and salt. Combine mixtures of two cups and stir to combine.
  3. Add flour to the cup of your food processor. Now add cold, cubed butter and pulse or process until the crumbs are pea size. Alternatively, pour the flour onto the cutting board, then add cold butter and using a knife keep cutting and mixing the mixture until the pieces are pea size.
  4. Add the egg mixture and continue processing until the dough starts sticking to itself a bit, but is not formed yet.
  5. 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 knead it for a couple of seconds until a dough forms.
  6. Shape the dough into a log and then cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, place on a plate, cover with plastic and refrigerate for about an hour.
Work on the Napoleon Cake Filling
  1. Combine egg yolks & sugar in a bowl and whisk them together, adding 1/4 cup of milk to make it easier.

  2. Add the flour and whisk again, forming a very uniform, clump-free batter. Add another 1/4 cup 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, continuously (!!) stirring and keeping the bottom of the pot from scorching. Once boiling, cook for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add butter, allow to melt and stir to form a smooth custard. Alternatively, you can beat the butter into the cooled to room temperature custard. 

  8. 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 puff pastry cake layers
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Set the rack in the middle.
  2. On a back of a jelly roll baking sheet, roll out 1 dough ball, until about 11-12 inches in size, by dusting the surface with flour as needed.
  3. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until lightly golden.
  4. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  5. Once the cake layers have cooled, place a 10-inch plate 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.
  6. Crumble the cake scraps.
Assemble the Napoleon Cake
  1. Place a dab of frosting on a serving platter.
  2. Place first cake layer and press to adhere.
  3. Surround the cake layer by a cake ring. The rest of the cake will be built inside the ring.
  4. Place about 4 large spoons of frosting and smooth it around. Repeat with the rest of the frosting and cake.
  5. Cover the cake and keep at room temperature for 12 hours+12 hours in the fridge, or in the fridge for at least 48 hours before continuing.
  6. Run a knife between the cake and the ring. Remove the ring.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.