There are few stories of why this cake was named “Napoleon”.
Here’s my version: In 1912, the Russians were celebrating the victory of France and Napoleon Bonaparte. To celebrate, the cooks agreed to make a treat that looked like a triangle, which represented the hat that Napoleon was wearing. As time passed, this tiny treat became popular and grew into a cake. You can find many different recipes for this cake. There are many versions of this cake which typically includes condensed milk filling, chocolate filling, custard filling, with berries and etc.
My version is simple with a little twist with Dulce de Leche filling.
2 sticks salted butter -softened at room temperature
3 cups flour
3/4 cup ice cold water
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. white vinegar
2 cans of condensed milk- cooked or store bought Dulce de Leche
3 sticks butter softened at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
In a mixer bowl combine soft butter, cold water and flour.
In a separate little bowl mix baking soda and vinegar (This will carbonate the soda so that you won’t taste it) and stir into the batter mixture. With the dough hook on your mixer mix all the ingredients until you have smooth dough. Don’t knead it too much, just enough to make it smooth.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Take wax paper and cut 12 inch long sheets. You will need at least 9 of these;
Prepare clean, open kitchen surface. Have a little bit of flour to dust.
Next, take one circle of dough, place it at the center of the wax paper, sprinkle some flour and roll into a thin flat circle. You will need to have about9 inchcircle, square or a rectangle (depending on what shape you want your finished cake to be). Next using a large circle plate that has9 inch, place on the rolled dough upside down, so the edge of the bowl in touching the dough. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough around the edges of the bowl. Lift the bowl and you should have a perfect circle. Combine all the extra dough from the edges into one ball and roll another circle. This one will be for the crumbs.
You can roll all the circles of dough and then bake, or can bake as you go, one at a time.
For baking, place a baking sheet on the middle rack in the oven.
Take the wax paper with the rolled and cut dough on it and place it on the baking sheet.
Be careful, these layers are thin so they bake quickly, about 5 minutes.
The night before you planning to make the cake, remove the label from the cans of sweetened condensed milk. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into the canning jars. Put the lids on the jars and screw on the ring tops until they are tight. Place the jars in the slow cooker and fill with hot tap water so that there is an inch of water over the top of the jars. Set the crock pot on low and cook the jars in water for 6-8 hours. Go to sleep. Wake up. Turn of crock pot, and carefully remove hot jars from crock pot and let the jars COOL until they are room temperature.
Or you can use store-bought (see link) Dulce de Leche.
Mix the butter and cooked condensed milk together, beat until it creamy. Add heavy cream and beat until combined.
Assembling the cake:
Take the least perfect circle, crumble it and set aside (you will need the crumbs to sprinkle the top and sides of the cake)
Get one circle, spread generously with filling about 4 tablespoons, put another circle and so on, finishing with cream. Apply more cream onto the sides.
Sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with the crumbs you set aside earlier, and leave the cake in room temperature for about 2-3 hours, then refrigerate for overnight.
***Napoleon cake is the best on second or third day, as all the layers will ‘soak up’ the cream.
Serve with hot tea or coffee.