This cake is very simple, easy to prepare but also quite tasty. I would recommend it to everyone who is not very experienced in the kitchen but wants to make a nice homemade dessert (and even to impress someone with it).
There are many recipes for this cake in Internet so I am going to present now my version.
I didn’t really understand why it is called Napoleon. It appears mostly as a Russian cake. The easiest way to make it is just with puff pastry and vanilla cream. There are also recipes with homemade cake layers but considering that for me now every minute is precious, the puff pastry is just fine.
I was very happy that such a simple cake turned out to be so delicious. Even my better half appreciated it (and he is totally not into sweets).
800 g puff pastry
1 l whole milk
200 g sugar
1 pack (60 g) vanilla pudding
2 tbs (40 g) flour*
70 g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Note: the quantity of the flour depends on the pudding quantity – both together have to be 100 g for 1 l milk.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a large pan with parchment paper.
Defrost the puff pastry (follow the instructions on the package) and cut it in equal rectangular or round layers (I cut mine in 2 round layers using the bottom of the spring form pan).
Bake the pastry layers until golden brown. Let them cool and then cut each one in half horizontally. Bake also the leftover pieces of the pastry: they will be used as cake topping.
Combine 800 ml milk with the sugar and bring them to boil. In the meantime combine 200 ml milk with the eggs, pudding, flour and vanilla extract. Add 5-6 spoons of the hot milk to the cool mixture to equalize a bit the temperatures and stir. When the milk starts boiling lower the heat. Slowly pour the mixture into the simmering milk and keep stirring until the cream gets thick (5-10 minutes). Set aside and cover with cling film placing it against the surface so it won’t form a crust. Let cool for 1/2 hour before assembling the cake.
Place one of the halved puff pastry layers into a serving plate and spread some of the cream on top. Repeat the same process for the rest of the layers: if you have 4 layers, spread 1/4 part of the cream over each one; if the layers are more, adjust the cream quantities accordingly. Spread the last part of the cream over the last layer and all around the cake.
Break the baked leftover pastry pieces into crumbs and place them all over the cake so they cover the cream completely. Allow the cake to cool in the fridge for at least 8 hours before serving it.