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.
How did Napoleon Cake get its name?
There are many recipes for Napoleon cake in the web but I am going to present you my version.
It is not very clear why the cake is called Napoleon but there are several theories for its name. Some of them are related to the famous French emperor but another one supposes that it comes from the Italian city Naples. In any case, it is believed that it must have been invented in France. For some reason within the years it became a favourite Russian cake.
How to make Napoleon Cake
The easiest way to make it is just with puff pastry and vanilla pastry cream. There are also recipes with homemade cake layers but considering that for busy people (like you and me) every minute is precious, the puff pastry is just fine. You need to bake the layers separately and when they cool completely you assemble them with the frosting. It is as easy as it sounds.
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).
Easy Napoleon Cake
- 800 g puff pastry
- 1 l whole milk
- 1 cup sugar, 200 g
- 1 pack vanilla pudding mix, 60 g/2,1 oz
- 2 tbs flour, 40 g
- 70 g butter
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 200° (400 degrees F) Line a large baking tin 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 for about 20 minutes, or 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 for decoration.
- 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 ½ 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 ¼ 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.
- Pudding powder mix: it is similar to instant pudding but is prepared through cooking in milk. Can be found also as custard powder.
- The quantity of the flour depends on the quantity of the pudding mix – both together they have to be ⅞ cup (100 g) for 4 cups (1 l) milk. Therefore you can change the proportions.