Meringue Napoleon cake is the perfect dessert for your next special party or celebration. This decadent, Eastern European cake will make your guests drool!
Meringue Napoleon Cake consists of three components: flaky layers, meringue and dulce de leche cream. There’s also the added crunchiness from toasted walnuts. Despite its extravagant look, it’s actually not that difficult to make. All it requires is a bit of time and patience. Other than that, you will look like an expert pastry chef to your friends and family!
Napoleon Cake 101
Napoleon Cake is a beloved dessert in Russia. Often served during New Years, this treat is an every once-and-awhile dessert. But, where did it come from? The Napoleon cake as we know it today was inspired by the French cake “mille-feuille”. The first version of this cake was created in 1912 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the defeat of Napoleon and his troops.
How to Prepare Napoleon Cake from Scratch
Making Napoleon cake requires a little technique and patience to individually bake all 8 of the delicate cake layers.
- Make the Dough: First, place the flour, butter and margarine into a large bowl. Mix everything together, until the mixture resembles small crumbles. Next, mix in the sour cream, baking soda and egg yolks.
- Make the Meringue: Next, whip the egg whites and sugar together until thick.
- Divide the Dough: Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, roll each piece out with a rolling pin, and slice it into a circle with a stencil. Pop it onto a baking sheet, spread meringue on top and sprinkle it with nuts.
- Bake the Cake Layers: Next, bake each cake layer at 350°F for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Make the Cake Cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cold heavy whipping cream until you get soft peaks. In a separate bowl, whip the room temperature butter with the dulce de leche. Next. fold the heavy whipping cream into the dulce de leche mixture.
- Assemble the Cake: Next, apply a small amount of cream onto your serving plate. Place a cake layer down and frost it with more cake cream. Stack another cake layer on and repeat the process. Frost the outside of the cake and enjoy!
4 Tips for Making a Perfect Napoleon Cake
Making Napoleon Meringue Cake may seem like a challenge, but trust me, if you follow all the steps you will be sitting pretty (and your cake will be too!).
- Use room temperature butter. Using room temperature butter is the way to go. It is the easiest to incorporate and makes for the most even of baking for your cake layers.
- Prep a cake layer while one is baking. While you have a cake layerbaking, roll out the next and get it prepped. It will save you time when baking several layers for this cake.
- Allow the cake layers to cool completely. Before you attempt to frost or stack your layers, make sure that they are completely cooled. This will prevent sticking and melting, which can ruin all the hard work you have done to make this delicate cake!
- Make cake layers in advance. If you want to save some time, feel free to make your cake layers in advance. Make sure to store them in an airtight container in the fridge. They will last 2-3 days before you need to assemble and frost them.
Storing Napoleon Cake
Keep Napoleon Cake refrigerated for up to 2-3 days before serving. Make sure its sealed it an airtight container (preferably a cake container) so it doesn’t absorb the smells and flavors of other foods in your refrigerator.
Hot Tip: Only allow the cake to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. This will allow the cream to soften. If you allow it to sit out any longer, it will melt and become flimsy.
What is Napoleon cake made of?
Napoleon cake is made of flaky cake layers, cake cream and toasted nuts. However, there are many different variations to this cake and they come in all sizes, shapes, and flavors.
Is Napoleon cake Russian or French?
Napoleon cake originated in Russia and has been around for a really long time. Despite it being created in Russia, the baking style is very similar to cakes you’d find in Italy or France.
What is the difference between Mille-Feuille and Napoleon?
Mille-feuille and Napoleon cake have many similarities, but also a few stark differences. The main difference between the two desserts is that a Napoleon is made with thin, crispy cake layers while traditional mille-feuille is made with layers of puff pastry.
Can you freeze Napoleon Cake?
It’s not a good idea to freeze Napoleon cake, as it doesn’t tend to thaw very well. The cake layers lose their crispiness and the cream tends to fall flat. It’s best to eat this cake fresh and within a couple of days!
More Cake Recipes to Try
- Napoleon Log Cake Recipe – Simple, 4 ingredient cake
- Dulce De Leche Cake Roll – Caramely sponge cake roll
- Golden Key Cake – Hazelnut and dulce de leche cream cake
- Drunken Cherry Cake – Vodka-soaked cherry cake
Meringue Napoleon Cake Layers
Meringue Napoleon Cake Cream
- 28 oz Dulce de Leche
- 1 lb room temperature butter
- 2 cup toasted walnuts crushed
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream very cold
Napoleon Cake Layers
- Place the flour, butter and margarine into a large bowl. Using your hands or a butter cutter, mix everything together, until the mixture resembles small crumbles.
- Mix in the sour cream, baking soda and egg yolks. Mix until the dough is just combined, being extra careful not to over mix.
- Whip the egg whites together with the sugar until the texture turns thick.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.
- Roll the pieces into thin layers. Using a plate or lid of a pot as a stencil, slice the dough into circles. Apply 1/4-inch of meringue on top of each cake layer and sprinkle it with nuts.
- Bake each cake layer at 350°F for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Cream for Napoleon
- For the cream, whip the cold heavy whipping cream until you get soft peaks.
- Using a separate dish, whip the room temperature butter together with dulce de leche.
- Using a spatula, fold in the heavy whipping cream into the dulce de leche mixture.
Finalizing Napoleopn Cake
- To form the cake, apply small amount of cream to the plate and put the first cake layer down. Apply the cake cream in between each layer.
- Once finished with the last layer, place the meringue on the inside.
- Using your fingers, slightly press on the cake. Apply the rest of the cream to the outside. Enjoy!