Russian Napoleon Cake (Napolyeon Tort) Recipe

Russian Napoleon Cake recipe

The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 

  • Total: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Cake must chill before serving: 6 hrs
  • Yield: 1 Napoleon cake (9 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
760 Calories
41g Fat
81g Carbs
17g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 Napoleon cake (9 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 760
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 41g 53%
Saturated Fat 23g 115%
Cholesterol 200mg 67%
Sodium 557mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 81g 29%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 17g
Calcium 278mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This Russian Napoleon cake recipe is a national dessert. It's made with up to 16 layers of crispy pastry filled with a custard cream and is just a little different in every household. This recipe yields a 10-layer cake to save a little time and avoid the potential pitfalls of a taller confection.

It's a bit time-consuming to make, but the rewards of a soul-satisfying dessert are so worth it. You will be left with seven egg whites, so try using some of them in a meringue torte.

Ingredients

  • For the Pastry Layers
  • 2 ounces/4 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 large egg whites (room temperature, stiffly beaten)
  • 1 cup sour cream (room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon vodka
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • For the Custard Filling
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 10 large egg yolks (room temperature)
  • 1 large egg white (room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces/16 tablespoons unsalted butter

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this Napoleon cake is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Pastry Layers

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for pastry
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  2. In a large bowl, beat together 2 ounces butter and 1 tablespoon sugar together until creamy.

    Beat butter
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  3. Fold in 2 stiffly beaten egg whites, sour cream, vodka, and salt.

    Fold in egg whites
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  4. Gently fold in the flour, a spoonful at a time, until the dough is soft and pliable. You might not need all of it.

    Gently fold in flour
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  5. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 to 2 hours to make it easier to roll out.

    Dough in bowl
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  6. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 375 F and butter a baking sheet pan and dust with flour.

    Tray
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  7. Divide the pastry dough into 10 pieces. Roll out each portion of dough directly on the prepared baking sheet into a very thin 8-inch circle.

    Divide pastry dough
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  8. Bake each circle of pastry until golden brown, about 6 to 10 minutes. If dough blisters as it cooks, pierce them with a fork.

    Bake
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  9. As each layer is cooked, remove from the sheet pan and set aside to cool on a wire rack. Repeat until all dough pieces have been baked.

    Bake
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 

Make the Custard Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for custard
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  2. Pour the milk into a large saucepan and heat, but do not boil.

    Pour into pot
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the egg yolks, 1 egg white, and 2 1/2 cups sugar until creamy.

    Beat egg yolks
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  4. Add 6 tablespoons flour and mix well.

    Add flour
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  5. Pour this mixture into the warm (but not scalding hot) saucepan of milk, stirring initially with a whisk until smooth and then with a wooden spoon, constantly over low heat until thick and creamy.

    Pot full of custard
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  6. Add the vanilla and 8 ounces butter and stir until smooth.

    Add butter
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel  
  7. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Stir frequently as the mixture cools.

Assemble the Torte

  1. Place one layer of the cooked dough in the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan and cover evenly with a layer of cooled custard filling.

    Assemble
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  2. Continue to build up the cake in this way, layering the custard on top of the pastry, finishing with the 9th pastry layer.

    Build up cake
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  3. Crumble the 10th and final pastry, layer over the top of the torte. Refrigerate for 5 to 6 hours.

    Crumble pastry
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  4. When ready to serve, run a butter knife around the edges of the cake, remove the springform ring, and, using a cake lifter or two spatulas, carefully transfer to a serving platter.

    Run butter knife around cake
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  5. Use an electric knife to get nice, clean cuts and serve.

    Russian Napoleon cake
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  6. Enjoy!

    Cake slice
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel