Cake bake-off winners – Napoleon No 10.

March 15th, 2013Katrina K

Irina is my compatriot. Originally from Kohtla-Yarve, a town in the Eastern part of Estonia that has a very high percentage of ethnic Russians, she came to the UK 14 years ago at the time when many of … ‘us’ were looking for new places to live, new ways to live.

Irina Gurjajeva - our Napoleon winner.

Irina Gurjajeva – our Napoleon winner.

Ira used to be a professional ice-skating trainer – oh, the glory of Soviet days. Now she is retired and bakes for pleasure for all the willing friends and family.

Irina’s ‘Caramel-Walnut Napoleon’ won the competition with such aplomb! Many commented how delicate, flaky and sitinctive the cake was. There’s actually caramel in this Napoleon but I think it’s the combination of condensed milk and walnuts that create this caramel-y flavour, with a refreshing hint of bitterness.

I also think she partly won people over because of the exquisite decorations of sugar flowers Ira created for her Napoleon.
‘ I just saw once some unusual sugar decorations in a magazine. I hardly spoke any English at the time, but I was so interested that I got to translating the instructions for making these flowers with a dictionary! Slowly, slowly I learnt how to make sugar flowers myself. I love creating sugar decorations!’

Irina Gujajeva’s Caramel and Walnut Napoleon.

Caramel-Walnut Napoleon.

Caramel-Walnut Napoleon.

For pasty:

2 cups of flour

200 gr of margarine or butter, room temperature

1 cup of cold water

1 egg, whisked

1 tsp of lemon juice

Pinch of salt

For cream:

1 can of condensed milk

100 gr of soft butter

200 gr of ground walnuts

How to make:

–          Pour flour onto your table. Add margarine or butter and cut it up with a knife to mix with the flour. You create a crumble of the sort (note from Russian Revels: another way of doing this would be to put flour in a large bowl, add softened cubes of butter and with your finger tips crumble the mixture until it resemble large breadcrumbs).

–          Make a little well in the mixture, pour cold water. Add the egg, lemon juice and salt. Mix all carefully but thoroughly.

–          Divide the dough into 5-6 parts, cover with clingfilm and chill in a fridge for 30 mins.

–          In the meantime mix condensed milk and butter in a large bowl.

–          Heat the oven to 200 C.

–          Now take a ball or two of dough, on a lightly floured surface roll them out to about 2 mm width. Cut out a circle to a diameter of approx 23 cms.

–          Bake for about five minutes until lovely golden colour.

–          Take the circles out the oven once baked, and cool on a rack.

How to assemble:

–          Place one circle on a plate. Spread with the cream liberally. Sprinkle with walnuts.

–          Repeat for the remaining circles. Before putting the cream on on the last one, push the pastry down a bit with both palms. Then spread the cream and finish with lots of walnuts.

–          Important to leave the cake overnight in a fridge to get all the flavours mingling.


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