Gluten Free Napoleon Cake

Another anniversary, another Napoleon cake, only this time with Well and Good Gluten Free Plain Flour as one of the main dry ingredients. For many years I used OrgraN Plain Flour for this recipe, but with the changes in its ingredient list, I had to overcome the side effect of the reaction between flour mix and some type of milk used, that resulted in dramatic softening of the dough to the point when it was impossible to roll it. As a safety measure I always use ultra-heated milk for Napoleon pastry preparation. I have discovered a long time ago that some recipes and flavour combinations do not need to be enriched or improved. They are glorious in their original simplicity, and Napoleon cake is a true testament to that, with its delicate and tender sweet vanilla flavour. More details of pastry and cream preparation, with step by step photos, can be found here.

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Ingredients:

Pastry

  • 150 g fine rice flour, I use McKenzie’s brand with its coarse texture
  • 270 g Well and Good Gluten Free Plain Flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 80 g sugar (70 g sugar and 10 g vanilla sugar)
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 190-200 ml full cream cold milk (I prefer now to use ultra heated milk, depending on the texture of the rice flour, 190ml for the coarse and 200ml for more fine rice flour)

Pastry cream

  • contents of 2 vanilla pods
  • 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks
  • 50 g corn flour
  • 1 l full cream milk
  • 150 g sugar

Separately butter cream

  • 250 g butter
  • 40 g sugar (icing sugar is even better)

There were slight changes to the original recipe: no salt in the pastry recipe, changes to 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks instead of 3 large eggs in pastry cream, and increase in butter quantity from 200g to 250g, to accommodate all pastry cream incorporation into butter cream.

Preparation: 

see here

Special notes for this recipe:

  1. Well and Good Plain Flour was an excellent replacement for Orgran Plain flour. I can only recommend add 190ml of cold milk to the mix of the dry ingredients with incorporated butter and add the last 10ml, if the dough is too hard and dry.
  2. Cut the dough in 10 pieces, equal in weight (83-86 grams) and use it without resting in the fridge.
  3. Have extra plain flour mix at hand to apply to the dough before rolling and to dust baking paper.
  4. Prepare 10 sheets of baking paper, roll flatten discs of the dough each on separate sheet of baking paper, turn the dough twice from side to side when rolling.
  5. Use 21cm plate to cut the shape of the rolled dough, leave all pastry on baking paper, separate extra dough cuttings immediately after baking, and use them to make crumbs to cover the cake
  6. Bake rolled dough on the same sheet of baking paper, in fan forced ovens, preheated to 170C, 3 trays can be baked simultaneously.
  7. The most difficult part is to avoid the mixed cream to split, use soft butter and room temperature pastry cream to mix them together, add pastry cream in small portions and beat the mixture well to fully combine before adding the next portion.

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I used crushed pistachio nuts to decorate the cake.

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After the assembly the cake has to rest in the fridge overnight, the cake cuts easily with a sharp knife.

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The cake tasted even better the next day, having spent 30 hours in the fridge. Pastry layers were a touch hard to be still distinctly felt in the bite and allowing to thoroughly enjoy rich vanilla cream that determined the main flavour of the cake.

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My husband enjoyed his piece (pieces, to be honest) with coffee, while I had my cake with a cup of strong tea, Melbourne breakfast mix from the Tea shop.

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Napoleon cake is a very special cake for our family, I have previously baked it for Christmas and occasionally birthdays, but lately it moved to our wedding anniversary. It takes time and effort to make, but I enjoy it immensely, and like to make a special day for making it, taking my time with every step. This year I went so far as to even chop cold butter with a bit of a flour mix by hand. I find all this preparation very therapeutic, it is a pure joy for me. But it is silly me. If you want something fast, easy and delicious, there are plenty of other delicious choices as well.

I was truly surprised to be able to create Napoleon recipe – grain, starches, dairy and sugar free using Well and Good coconut flour. The predominant taste was somewhat different, with a presence of intense lemon flavour, but it was still Napoleon cake with its famous texture – thin dry pastry layers that do not go soft and soggy even when thick cream layer is applied.

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7 thoughts on “Gluten Free Napoleon Cake

    1. Thank you! It is divine, no wonder I use any excuse to bake it, next on my list to make it with only buckwheat flour. I made the pastry itself in savoury version before gluten free buckwheat disappeared. Now when it is back I have to try it.

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