How to make it

  • Pastry:
  • -------
  • Mix eggs, soft butter and sour cream together till they blend well.
  • Add salt.
  • In a table spoon, dissolve baking soda in vinegar - you will see "bubbles". When bubbling stops, add soda+vinegar to your mixture. Stir well.
  • Start adding flour, cup-by-cup, make soft smooth dough. Don't knead it too much, just enough to make it smooth and "un-sticky".
  • Split dough into 16 pieces, form little balls.
  • Cover the dough with plastic, and put in the fridge to chill.
  • While it's chilling, prepare cream.
  • Custard Cream:
  • --------------
  • Pour 1 1/2 quarts of milk into thick bottom pot and bring it to boil. Don't use aluminum pots - it will burn !
  • While the milk is warming up, prepare the cream mix:
  • Separate egg yolks and stir them very well with sugar and a pinch of salt - until mix turns very light yellow.
  • Add flour, mix well.
  • Add 1 cup cold milk, mix very well. Avoid lumps.
  • When your milk starts to boil, reduce the heat immediately to low.
  • Pour the cream mixture into boiling milk very slowly, using a whisk to stir the cream.
  • Bring the mixture to boil again, constantly stirring it. When it starts boiling, you will see it become thicker. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes, don't forget to stir at all times.
  • Remove from the stove, add lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg, and vodka (rum, brandy, or liquor).
  • When you are able to touch the pot, add butter and mix it in as it melts. Set aside.
  • Now back to pastry:
  • -------------------
  • Preheat oven to 420 degrees F.
  • Turn off the phone, so no one can distract you for 1 hour.
  • a. Get 1 piece of dough from the fridge, roll it into a very thin crust on well floured surface - as thin as you can, forming a round or a square crust.
  • b. Roll the crust onto rolling pin, and unroll it onto UNGREASED baking sheet.
  • c .Pierce crust with the fork all over.
  • d. Bake in the oven for 2 minutes or until lightly golden. Don't over bake. It is better when it is not dark.
  • e. Remove the crust from the oven and put aside.
  • Repeat steps a-e for all the rest of the dough.
  • Never leave the kitchen while the crust is in the oven - check it all the time - it bakes very quickly.
  • Bake the last crust a little longer than others, letting it turn brown.
  • Put one crust on the cake dish.
  • Pour a ladle full of cream onto it.
  • Use skimmer to spread the cream evenly on the crust. Repeat for all crusts, except for the brown one.
  • Crush the brown crust on the board, using the rolling pin - just roll it over the crust several times - it will make great fine crumbs.
  • Pour the crumbs over the top layer of the cake.
  • Let the cake soak for 2-3 hours. Cut out the uneven edges, forming your favorite cake shape - square or round, or oval. You get to eat all of the cut-offs... mmmm...
  • *Hint: making round-shaped cake produces more cut-offs, which means, more for you!

Reviews & Comments 19

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  • foodi 8 years ago
    Custard was too runny. 1 quart of milk would have been enough, or an adjustment to the flour or cornstarch may have helped. Like at least two more tablespoons. Taste was good, but method could have been better. Was disappointed with my first results.
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    " It was excellent "
    lishalinski ate it and said...
    This is a truly delicious recipe, sophisticated and delicate. However don't kid yourself this takes 90 mins to make. If you've never made it before allow 3-4 hours. A lot of the time is spent waiting for the custard to cool, no mention of this in the timings.. Wheh she said s very full tbsp of flour go with as heaped as you can get it, or ir will be too runny.
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  • johncaleb 10 years ago
    I'm a college guy from Ohio and I made this cake for our exchange student from Kyrgyzstan, because she said it was her favorite, and it turned out amazing! It definitely looked daunting at first, but if you take your time (I took 4 hours, mostly because I used a baking stone instead of cookie sheets, which doubled my baking time) you can most certainly make this. Everyone loved it and my grandmother said it was the most wonderful thing she's ever tasted! As I said, I used a baking stone, which made all of the layers perfectly light brown and didn't burn the bottoms. I soaked our cake overnight because our exchange student said they always did that back home, and it turned out well. It wasn't soggy at all, but if you want a little more crunch, probably only soak for 3 hours. The predominate taste was lemon zest, because of the whole lemon, so if you're not a huge lemon fan, maybe only zest half of the lemon. I don't love or hate lemon, but I really liked the flavor. So, if a college guy from Ohio with basic kitchen smarts can make this, anyone can! Enjoy.

    Also, I forgot to give this any stars and now I can't, but I'd give this recipe 5 stars!!
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  • Icecreamsoda111 10 years ago
    Is it okay if it sits for more than 2-3 hrs? Ideally, how long should it soak for? Thanks, looking forward to making this!
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    " It was good "
    eroars ate it and said...
    I thought it was a tough recipe to make, very labor intensive...but totally worth the effort. My Russian and Ukraine friends said it tasted like it was from the mother land :) However, I think my western palate would have liked it a bit more sweet.
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    " It was excellent "
    Makuna ate it and said...
    AMAZONGLY DELICIOUS!!! 5 Stars :)))
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    " It was excellent "
    Makuna ate it and said...
    I just made it. I really appreciate you recipy. It is amazingly delicious!!!
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  • MamaLana 10 years ago
    This sounds very much like my Mom's recipe, tho she used a fresh vanilla bean to flavor the cream. Nor long ago I discovered that it's easier to roll and bake the pastry sheets on lengths of parchment paper. Much easier! A great Russian classic. (Jonesy5334: Two sticks of butter is half a pound. Each cube is a quarter of a pound, or 1/2 cup.)
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  • jonesy5334 10 years ago
    What weight is 2 sticks of butter?? I really want to make this cake but want to get it right.
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  • pumkinliu 10 years ago
    I just finished making the cake, but my dough were in different sizes. I could not make them to be the same size so there were some too big. The cream was runny. this was my first time making a custard cream, so I might have done it wrong.
    I will try and post a picture tomorrow after cutting the cake. looking forward to it!
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    " It was excellent "
    felis ate it and said...
    My mother has been making this cake throughout my childhood, but somehow I never wrote down the recipe and now she is not well enough to remember all the exact measurements. Thank you for posting this recipe. It would be great if you had a list of ingredients by weight, instead of volume, since correct measurements are vital in baking.
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    " It was excellent "
    jett2whit ate it and said...
    Wow - this sounds dynamite!
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  • dandelion 12 years ago
    thank you for sharing your family heritage with us all.
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  • momage3 12 years ago
    I made this cake for my mother's birthday. I thought it was going to be a nightmare but I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't. It came out very good. I didn't add the alcohol, next time I will try it. Thanks for the recipe!
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  • beldujour 12 years ago
    My husband and I have eaten Napoleons practically daily every time we've been in Odessa. I can't wait to make this for him!
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    " It was excellent "
    juels ate it and said...
    I love this version! Never tried adding alcohol to my cream, the pastry part sounds awesome too. Next time the girls are over for the tea party, I know what I'm serving! Вкуснятина!
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  • recipesrule 13 years ago
    This looks so good. My mom makes a similar cake and also calls it Napoleon Torte. Hers only has about 8 layers and she covers the whole thing with whipped cream and cuts it into a star( from the round shape). She made 20 of them for our wedding as the dessert. Hers also doesn't have alcohol in it. Will give this a try. Thanks for the post!
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    " It was excellent "
    olga ate it and said...
    Wonderful recipe! It turned out fantastic, just like I remembered it.
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  • annieamie 13 years ago
    Now this sounds like a challenging recipe. I can't wait to try this.
    **Do you think that the flavor will be fine without the addition of alcohol?
    Thanks for another great recipe!
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  • maryelizlawson 13 years ago
    This does sounds wonderful and I WILL be giving it a try. Thanks!
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