An easy, no-bake Napoleon Cake with the same great flavors of a classic napoleon cake. The layers soften under custard cream making it irresistibly soft! | natashaskitchen.com

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There is no baking required for this napoleon cake! It’s so easy and you’ll be surprised by the “cake” layers. It has all the same great flavors of a classic napoleon cake but it’s really easy to prepare.

This cake is beautiful served plain with the crumb coat but the ring of berries is strikingly beautiful and so easy to create – you’ll want to use it on all of your cakes! The layers soften under the custard cream as it rests overnight making it super simple to slice and giving it the look and taste of a classic napoleon cake.

P.S. If you don’t have a springform mold, by all means, assemble this as a 3 layer cake in a 9×13 glass casserole dish. It will still look really pretty because you can see the layers through the dish and you can even crumb coat the top before you refrigerate so it’s even easier :).

An easy, no-bake Napoleon Cake with the same great flavors of a classic napoleon cake. The layers soften under custard cream making it irresistibly soft! | natashaskitchen.com

Ingredients for No-Bake Napoleon Cake:

800-900 grams Palmier or “elephant ear” cookies (we buy the 2 lb box from Costco)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 whole eggs + 3 yolks (from large eggs)
1/3 cup corn starch
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
3 cups milk (2% or whole milk)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
Berries to Decorate the top

What You Will Need:

9″ springform pan (or a 9×13 glass casserole dish)
Cake platter

An easy, no-bake Napoleon Cake with the same great flavors of a classic napoleon cake. The layers soften under custard cream making it irresistibly soft! | natashaskitchen.com

How to Make No-Bake Napoleon Cake:

1. In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar, 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks and thoroughly whisk together 1 minute. Add 1/3 cup corn starch and whisk until smooth. Whisk in 1/2 cup condensed milk. Add 3 cups milk while whisking. Once milk is incorporate, place over medium heat and continue whisking frequently until thickened and it just starts to boil (8 to 10 min)*. Remove from heat right away.

*Tips for success: Stir custard often on the stove, and whisk constantly towards the end so it doesn’t get lumpy. As soon as you feel it starting to thicken, watch it closely since the boil can be hidden by the milk foam at the top.

An easy, no-bake Napoleon Cake with the same great flavors of a classic napoleon cake. The layers soften under custard cream making it irresistibly soft! | natashaskitchen.com

2. Whisk in 1 Tbsp vanilla extract then add pieces of butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Cover the surface with plastic wrap so a film does not form and let stand at room temperature for one hour until just barely warm.

Four photos of a pot with batter for a No-Bake Napoleon Cake

3. While custard cools, prep cookies and cut in half if they are large so you can fit more in the pan. To slice, stack a few cookies and saw carefully with a serrated knife. For the crumb coat, place 3-4 cookies in a large ziploc bag, seal and crush with a rolling pin.

Two No-Bake Napoleon Cake on a cutting board, one is cut in half Two photos of Palmier cookies in a plastic bag, in one bag the cookies are crushed

4. Remove the base of a 9″ springform pan and place the tightened ring over the center of a cake platter. Spread 4 heaping Tablespoons of custard into the center, holding the ring steady. Arrange as many cookies as you can fit in a single layer into the bottom of the pan**. Cover with 5 heaping Tablespoons of custard and spread evenly with a spatula. Repeat with remaining cookies and custard until you have 4 layers of cookies. Spread remaining frosting over the top, sealing any gaps. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

**Add broken pieces of cookie to fill any large gaps.

An easy, no-bake Napoleon Cake with the same great flavors of a classic napoleon cake. The layers soften under custard cream making it irresistibly soft! | natashaskitchen.com

5. Once you take the cake out of the refrigerator, run a thin spatula or knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan. Sprinkle crushed cookies over the top and sides, gently patting to get a good crumb coating. Arrange berries over the top in a ring and serve.

An easy, no-bake Napoleon Cake with the same great flavors of a classic napoleon cake. The layers soften under custard cream making it irresistibly soft! | natashaskitchen.com

An easy, no-bake Napoleon Cake with the same great flavors of a classic napoleon cake. The layers soften under custard cream making it irresistibly soft! | natashaskitchen.com

 

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

No-Bake Napoleon Cake Recipe

4.87 from 66 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
An easy, no-bake Napoleon Cake with the same great flavors of a classic napoleon cake. The layers soften overnight under the custard cream making it irresistibly soft!
Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 9 -inch cake

For the Napoleon Cake:

  • 800-900 grams Palmier or "elephant ear" cookies, we buy the 2 lb box from Costco
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 whole eggs + 3 yolks, from large eggs
  • 1/3 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups milk, 2% or whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 stick, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • Berries to Decorate the top

What You Will Need:

  • 9 " springform pan, or a 9x13 glass casserole dish
  • Cake platter

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar, 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks and thoroughly whisk together 1 minute. Add 1/3 cup corn starch and whisk until smooth. Whisk in 1/2 cup condensed milk. Add 3 cups milk while whisking. Once milk is incorporate, place over medium heat and continue whisking frequently until thickened and just starts to boil (8 to 10 min)*. Remove from heat right away.
  • Whisk in 1 Tbsp vanilla then add butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Cover custard surface with plastic wrap so a film does not form and let stand at room temperature for one hour until just barely warm.
  • While custard cools, prep cookies and cut in half if large to fit more in the pan. To slice, stack cookies and saw carefully with serrated knife. For the crumb coat, place 3-4 cookies in a large ziploc bag, seal and crush with rolling pin.
  • Remove the base of a 9" springform pan and place the tightened ring over the center of a cake platter. Spread 4 heaping Tablespoons of custard into the center, holding the ring steady. Arrange as many cookies as you can fit in a single layer into the bottom of pan**. Cover with 5 heaping Tablespoons custard and spread evenly with spatula. Repeat with remaining cookies and custard until you have 4 layers of cookies. Spread remaining frosting over the top, sealing any gaps. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • Once you take the cake out of the refrigerator, run a thin spatula around the edge to loosen it from the pan. Sprinkle crushed cookies over top and sides, gently patting to adhere crumbs. Arrange berries over the top and serve.

Notes

*Tips for success: Stir custard often on the stove, and whisk constantly towards the end so it doesn't get lumpy. As soon as you feel it starting to thicken, watch it closely since the boil can be hidden by the milk foam at the top.
**Add broken pieces of cookie to fill any large gaps.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: No-Bake Napoleon Cake
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $$

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

A close up of a slice of No-Bake Napoleon cake on a plate with a fork

I hope you love this simple and yummy no-bake napoleon cake!

Q: What is your favorite no-bake dessert?

An easy, no-bake Napoleon Cake with the same great flavors of a classic napoleon cake. The layers soften under custard cream making it irresistibly soft! | natashaskitchen.com

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Lana
    February 23, 2024

    Hi, can I use flour instead of corn starch? Will it be the same amount?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 23, 2024

      Hi Lana, it does work with flour – I’ve tested it, but the corn starch gives the custard a smoother consistency/texture. You can kind of tell that there’s flour in it if you use it – it has more of a pasty flavor to it which I didn’t think was as good. I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • Dana Brazdziunas
    April 5, 2023

    Love this idea- it is brilliant . I found a recipe for no cook pastry cream that works well here. Beat 1 quart heavy cream with one 3 oz vanilla instant pudding mix box, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 Tsp vanilla extract til the consistency of pastry cream.Quick and easy! A family favorite!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 5, 2023

      Thank you for sharing, Dana! 🙂

      Reply

  • Deanna
    December 8, 2022

    Hey Natasha,
    I want to make this for my fiance’s birthday later this month.
    For the butter, is it 1 and a half sticks of unsalted butter? Or just half a stick of unsalted butter?thanks!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 8, 2022

      Hi Deanna! It’s unsalted butter. 🙂

      Reply

    • Laura
      December 15, 2022

      Deanna, it’s half a cup of butter which is one stick. Hope that helps

      Reply

  • Mahrukh
    November 20, 2022

    Hi Natasha,
    I love your recipes and would love to try this one. Is there a way to substitute the eggs with some other ingredient for people who are allergic?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 20, 2022

      I honestly haven’t tested any substitution for eggs to advise. Sorry I wish I could help you more, if you do an experiment though, we’d love to know how it goes!

      Reply

  • Marimar
    April 14, 2022

    Hi Natasha, my cake is in the fridge. It looks delicious and easy to make. I have 2 questions:
    1- In the instructions it does not say that the plastic should be glued to the custard cream, because whenever you make a type of pastry cream, that is how it is refrigerated? or else form a layer
    2- In the original napoleon the filling is very different from this one, is there any specific reason?
    Thanks again for wonderful recipes.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 15, 2022

      Hi Marimar, I have that in the instructions above in step 2: “Cover custard surface with plastic wrap so a film does not form and let stand at room temperature for one hour until just barely warm.” Also, this is just a completely different recipe than the original.

      Reply

      • Marimar
        April 16, 2022

        Natasha, thanks for answering. The taste is amazing, my family loved it. My question is when you put the assembled cake in the refrigerator the covering plastic, should it touch the pastry cream? When I made the cream I did see to put the plastic on the cream.

        PS: Your recipes never fail

        Reply

  • Edith
    December 22, 2021

    Hello Natasha , Just one quick question can I use unsweetened condensed milk???

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 22, 2021

      Hi Edith, I wish I could help here, but I haven’t tried that substitution. If you test this successfully, I would love to hear the details.

      Reply

  • Anna Grinshpun
    December 20, 2021

    Dear Natasha, is it OK to substitute the cooked cream with ready store purchased vanilla pudding?
    Thank you, Anna.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 21, 2021

      Hi Anna, I haven’t tried that so I’m not sure how it would affect the overall consistency of the cream.

      Reply

  • Julia
    December 18, 2021

    Hi Natasha! I’d love to make this for New Years but my husband is gluten-free and I can’t find any gluten-free elephant ears. Do you think it would work with another pastry, like gluten-free lady fingers?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 18, 2021

      Hi Julia, I haven’t tested this with a gluten-free substitution. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe.

      Reply

  • Ninon B Moore
    September 22, 2021

    Natasha, please. is there an easier version for the custard ?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 23, 2021

      Hi Ninon, this is the only one that I have for the custard. I hope you can try it.

      Reply

  • Quinn
    February 28, 2021

    Hi Natasha! I haven’t made this Napoleon cake yet but it looks amazing. I am hoping that you can help me discover a recipe for a cake that I would love to bake for my boyfriend, he’s from Belarus and we both live in the US now. This is his favorite cake: https://porechskie-torty.by/model;jsessionid=abcSWEDwogC3M9eV1XvDw?idModel=456

    Thanks for any help you can give me!! I love your recipes, we cook “Natasha’s food” all the time at our house:)

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 28, 2021

      Hi Quinn, thanks for your comments and suggestion. I’ll check out this cake that you suggested.

      Reply

  • Lana
    December 26, 2020

    Made this cake for Christmas. The first time I burned custard, big fail. Likely, I had extra ingredients and the second time custard and cake came out great. This is my tips: 1. Keep mixing the custard until it thickened, it may take longer to thickened but won’t get burnt. It took me about 13-15 minutes to get it to the right consistency on medium-low heat. Don’t make it too thick! 2. Keep the cake at a room temperature for a few hours before refrigerated, and take it out of the fridge at least an hour before serving. 3. Keep it in the fridge at least 24 hrs before serving. #2,3 ensures soft layers.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 26, 2020

      Thank you for sharing that with us, Lana! Yes, you have to watch that custard closely. It doesn’t take much to burn.

      Reply

  • Estera
    August 31, 2020

    My Mom made this cake. It is amazing! Great flavor and she said it was so easy to make. I can’t wait to make it for wow my in-laws.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 31, 2020

      Thanks for your great feedback! That sounds like an awesome plan, I’m sure you’ll leave a great impression. Good luck!

      Reply

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