cake Desserts

Napoleon Cake

Napoleon cake is a perfectly moist and deliciously creamy dessert made of crunchy puff pastry and silky pastry cream that can be a great fit for any occasion. This recipe will show you how to make Napoleon cake that is flaky, elegant, and overflowing with homemade goodness.

What is Napoleon cake? Is it the same thing as a Napoleon dessert?

Originating in Russia, the Napoleon cake is composed of many layers of puff pastry with a whipped pastry cream filling and encrusted with more pastry crumbs. After assembling, the cake is chilled overnight to allow the pastry layers to soften and absorb some of the cream, similar to the classic American icebox cake. The Napoleon cake takes inspiration from the French mille-feuille or Napoleon dessert, which is also traditionally made with layers of puff pastry and pastry cream, but it isn’t the same dessert. While a Napoleon dessert has just a few thicker layers of pastry and cream, the Napoleon cake traditionally has at least 8 very thin layers of pastry spread with cream—and sometimes as many as 12! It’s more similar to a crepe cake than it is to a traditional Napoleon dessert.

What is the filling for Napoleon cake?

Traditionally, Napoleon cake is filled with pastry cream: a cornstarch-thickened custard that’s cooked on the stovetop until it becomes thick and pudding-like. We’ve stuck pretty close to the classic in this recipe, with the addition of whipped cream, which we fold into the chilled pastry cream to lighten it up. The result is a light, creamy, luscious filling, perfect for sandwiching between those puff pastry layers.



  • 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

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