Food,  Ukraine

The Napoleon cake – my imperial treat :)

I’ve noticed baking isn’t a big thing in India, and I have to admit I do feel a bit nostalgic when I think of the big, spacious gas oven in may parents’ apartment in Ukraine. Actually, every Ukrainian household has that sort of oven. Otherwise, how would you spoil your family with cakes, pies, pizzas, casseroles, roasted meat, baked potatoes and so on? 🙂

Here in India I tried to do my best with our tiny electric oven, and these are some of the results:

Apple pie
Apple pie
Banana bread
Banana bread
Chocolate brownies
Chocolate brownies
One more apple pie
One more apple pie

But a huge increase of our electric bills quickly put an end to my baking experiments. That’s why I was so glad to find a recipe of the Napoleon cake which doesn’t require baking. This cake is my very favorite one – it has a taste of my childhood. Rarely any occasion in our family was celebrated without a Napoleon cake. I remember how my brother an me used to wait impatiently to taste the icing or to steal one of the crispy layers. And no, I don’t know what a French military leader had to do with the desert 🙂 Also I’m not sure why this cake was so extremely popular in our country. Perhaps, the reason is that all the ingredients were easily available, and it was a great consideration in Soviet Union when the products were not so diverse.

Anyway, I’ve already made my Napoleon cake in India many times, and without any false humility I can assure you it was a great success. It’s nutritious, tasty and easy to make. When you eat a piece of this cake, you really feel like you’ve eaten something, unlike most of the cakes they sell in local shops – attractive and beautifully presented, they actually spongy and fluffy, with very little real substance inside.

So how one would make the Napoleon cake?

These are the ingredients you’ll need:

(for the dough)

3 cups of wheat flour

1 cup of sugar

3 tablespoons of butter

3 eggs

2/3 teaspoon of baking soda

a bit of salt

(for the icing)

1 liter of milk

3 eggs

2 table spoons of wheat flour

1 cup of sugar

   *1 cup = 250 ml

Ok, let’s start with the dough. Beat the eggs with sugar, add soft butter, salt, baking soda and 2.5 cups of sugar (you’ll need the remaining 0.5 cups for rolling the layers). Mix all the ingredients until your batter is smooth and put it aside for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the icing, Put your  milk on the fire and beat the eggs with sugar. When the milk starts to boil, slowly pour the eggs and sugar in,  stirring the milk all the time. Add two tablespoons of flour and keep stirring. Wait until the mixture thicken and let it cool. When I made this cake for the first time, I followed the recipe and added 250g of butter to the icing, but my family said it was not necessary – the cake turned out to be too heavy. So, we’ll skip the butter.

Then, divide your dough into 10-14 pieces. Roll them into circles and fry on a frying pan. Put plenty of icing on every layer and even more on the top. You can decorate your cake with grated chocolate, nuts, biscuit crumbs and what not. Put it aside for 2-3 hours to let it soften by absorbing the icing, and that’s it 🙂 Bon appetit 🙂

My Napoleon :)
My Napoleon 🙂

And this photo is from the net – just to let you know what it’s like inside.

A piece

So, if my recipe inspires you, don’t hesitate to try it out 🙂 I’ll be very glad to see (or to hear of) your culinary experiments.

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