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Best Napoleon Cake Recipe

Crisp puff pastry layered with vanilla cream makes this the perfect spring dessert!

Winni Wanderer | Best Napoleon Cake Recipe
Best Napoleon Cake Recipe


Pastry Cream Filling

·         8 large egg yolks (112 g.) 

·         1/2 c. (56 g.) cornstarch

·         1/2 tsp. kosher salt 

·         1 c. (198 g.) granulated sugar, divided

·         4 c. (946 mL) whole milk

·         4 tbsp. (1/2 stick; 57 g.) butter, room temperature

·         4 tsp. vanilla extract

·         2 c. (473 mL) heavy cream

Puff Pastry Layers

·         2 (1-lb.) boxes puff pastry, thawed

·         All-purpose flour, for rolling


Mixed fresh berries, for serving


Pastry Cream Filling

1. In a large heatproof bowl, whisk egg yolks, cornstarch, salt, and 1/2 cup (99 g.) granulated sugar.

2. In a medium pot over medium heat, heat milk and remaining 1/2 cup (98 g.) granulated sugar, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and milk is steaming. Whisking constantly, pour half of hot sugar milk into egg mixture. Pour milk-egg mixture into pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until pastry cream boils and thickens to a pudding-like consistency, 1 to 2 minutes. Cook, stirring, 1 minute more, then remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. 

3. Pour hot pastry cream onto a rimmed baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto pastry cream. Refrigerate until cold.

4. In a large bowl, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Transfer cold pastry cream to another large bowl and stir until smooth. Stir one-quarter of whipped cream into pastry cream until combined. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate pastry cream filling until ready to assemble.

5. Make Ahead: Pastry cream (without whipped cream folded in) can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Puff Pastry Layers

1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove 1 sheet of puff pastry from refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll out to a 13"-by-13" square. Cut square into 2 rectangles, transfer to prepared baking sheet, and prick all over with a fork. 

2. Bake, rotating sheet and flipping pastry halfway through, until deeply browned and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

3. Repeat with remaining 3 sheets of puff pastry for a total of 8 pastry rectangles.


1. Stack 7 puff pastry rectangles on top of one another; set remaining 1 rectangle aside. Using a serrated knife, trim edges so rectangles are a uniform shape; reserve crumbs.

2. Arrange 1 puff pastry rectangle on a platter. Spread 1 cup pastry cream filling over puff pastry rectangle; top with a second rectangle and spread with 1 cup filling. Repeat layering with 5 remaining rectangles and 5 cups filling. Cover sides of cake with remaining filling. 

3. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate cake at least 4 hours or, preferably, up to overnight.

4. Before serving, crush reserved puff pastry rectangle to fine crumbs, add to reserved crumbs, then press into sides and top of cake. Top with berries.


Source: “Best Napoleon Cake Recipe”. Recipe. N.p. 22 July 2022. Web. 15 Mar. 2024.

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