Russian Napoleon Cake (Napolyeon Tort) Recipe

Delicious homemade honey cake on stand
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  • 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Yield: 1 Napoleon cake (9 servings)
Ratings (7)

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.

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

What You'll Need

  • For the Pastry Layers:
  • 2 ounces/4 tablespoons butter (unsalted, 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 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • For the Custard Filling:
  • 6 cups milk (whole)
  • 10 large egg yolks (room temperature)
  • 1 large egg white (room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces/16 tablespoons butter (unsalted)

How to Make It

Make the Pastry Dough

  1. In a large bowl, beat together 2 ounces butter and 1 tablespoon sugar together until creamy.
  2. Fold in 2 stiffly beaten egg whites, sour cream, vodka, and salt.
  3. Gently fold in the flour, a spoonful at a time, until the dough is soft and pliable. You might not need all of it.
  4. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 to 2 hours to make it easier to roll out.

Bake the Pastry Layers

  1. Heat the oven to 375 F. Butter a baking sheet pan and dust with flour. Divide the pastry dough into 16 pieces. Roll out each portion of dough directly on the prepared baking sheet into a very thin 8-inch circle (if you can get two circles of dough on one sheet all the better).
  1. Bake each circle of pastry until golden brown, about 6 to 10 minutes. If dough blisters as it cooks, pierce them with a fork.
  2. 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.

Make the Custard Filling

  1. Pour the milk into a large saucepan and heat, but do not boil.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the egg yolks, 1 egg white and 2 1/2 cups sugar until creamy. Add 6 tablespoons flour and mix well.
  3. Pour this mixture into the warm (but not scalding hot because you will cook the eggs) saucepan of milk, stirring initially with a whisk until smooth and then with a wooden spoon, constantly, over low heat until thick and creamy. Add the vanilla and 8 ounces butter and stir until smooth.
  4. 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. Continue to build up the cake in this way, layering the custard on top of the pastry, finishing with the 15th pastry layer.
  2. Crumble the 16th and final pastry layer over the top of the torte. Refrigerate for 5 to 6 hours.
  3. 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. Use an electric knife to get nice, clean cuts and serve.