Paleo Napoleon Cake

I made this cake for the first time as the trial run for the pastry layers and the cream, based on lemon coconut curd recipe.  It was the small cake, and I was truly surprised how good it turned out. This time I wanted to make a proper size cake, suitable for Christmas, or any other special occasion table, the cake that had the looks, the taste and texture to satisfy any dessert lovers, including foodies without any limitations to their diet. In my opinion, this cake has all this attributes. As any Napoleon cake, it demands planning and time in making many pastry layers, dairy and sugar free cream has to be prepared the day before, or at least 10 hours before cake assemble, and the cake has to spend the night refrigerated to fully settle the texture.


Having said that, pastry dough preparation has no hidden difficulties, while cream preparation demands attention only once, when temperatures have to be carefully monitored, during cooking lemon curd with chia seeds.


I have tried 2 different fat sources, raw organic coconut oil and pure lard. Both pastries had identical texture and did not exhibit any differences when rolled. I personally like the taste of the pastry made with lard a touch more, it did not have any coconut flavour to it. But the difference was barely noticeable. I also used slightly different mix of ingredients on a trial basis, and introduced organic golden flax flour as an ingredient in one version of the dough. It was an excellent dough, very easy to work with.



620g, 10 pastry layers, 23 cm in diameter, 60+ g each to roll

  • 200g almond meal
  • 80g coconut flour
  • 100g lard/coconut oil
  • 40g chia seeds, ground and sifted
  • 2 large eggs
  • pure apple puree (I used SPC), approximately 100g, add puree to eggs to make total weight 200g

alternative pastry recipe with reduced almond meal quantity and no chia seeds

  • 140g almond meal
  • 100g coconut flour
  • 60g golden flax flour
  • 100g lard/coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • pure apple puree (I used SPC), approximately 100g, add puree to eggs to make total weight 200g

cream – lemon coconut cream curd with chia

  • 500ml coconut cream (I used 500g package ALDI pure coconut cream 24% fat, with natural gums)
  • 520g organic honey
  • zest of 2 lemon (I used my own lemons, fresh from the tree)
  • 200ml lemon juice
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 egg yolks (yolks + eggs weight was 300g)
  • 60g white chia seeds
  • 4 gold grade gelatine leaves



Step by step photos presented below were for the very similar dough preparation with some extra dry ingredients added for the dough to be rolled and bended. On the left – dough preparation based on lard as fat ingredient, with wet ingredients having only eggs, instead of apple puree and egg mix. On the right – dough preparation with coconut oil as fat, with apple puree and egg mix as wet ingredients. Photos show 1/2 portion of dough preparation.

  • grind and sift chia seeds
  • mix ground chia seeds with almond meal, put aside
  • mix eggs with apple puree to 200g weight
  • place coconut flour into a wide bowl
  • work lard (or softened coconut oil) into coconut flour
  • add wet ingredients – egg and apple puree mix
  • combine wet ingredients with coconut flour and fat mixture together, the process is best done with a whisk
  • add the mixture of almond meal and ground chia seeds
  • combine all ingredients and shape the dough into a ball
  • divide the dough into 10 pieces, equal in weight
  • wrap each piece individually and refrigerate
  • roll each piece of the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper (it is easier to do when the dough is cold)
  • be prepared to use a lot of baking paper (you can reuse some)
  • first flatten the dough on a piece of baking paper with your fingertips
  • cover the dough with the second piece of baking paper
  • using rolling-pin to roll the dough from the centre to the edge
  • for the even thickness roll the dough on the benchtop using long, one piece rolling-pin
  • turn the dough clockwise after every roll
  • you can peel the top sheet of paper at any stage of the rolling, and place it again on top
  • peel the top sheet of baking paper
  • use any plate, or removable bottom of the baking pan, to cut 22-23 cm circle, leave rolled dough  on the baking paper
  • bake rolled pastry on the same bottom sheet of baking paper in preheated to 140C fan forced oven for 20min, watch the pastry after 15min to avoid burning (it is better to bake at lower temperatures for a longer time, than to risk burning the thin layer of the pastry)
  • 3 layers can be baked simultaneously and there are no restrictions to open oven’s door
  • collect all dough cut-offs and crumble them into quite fine mixture

Baked pastry layers can be stored in air-tight container for several days without changes in its texture. They are dry and very thin, use care when moving them.


  • combine eggs and egg yolks with honey and beat the mixture on high for 8 min
  • reduce the speed of your mixer, add coconut cream
  • mix on medium speed to combine
  • add lemon juice, mix for 30 sec (lemon juice incorporation can be done with a whisk)
  • pour the mixture into a sauce pan
  • add lemon zest

now you have to concentrate fully on cream preparation

  • weigh chia seeds and have them close
  • place gelatine leaves in cold water, let them soak
  • start heating cream on low heat, constantly stirring with a whisk or a spoon
  • if using thermometer, the temperature can’t go over 80C, even better to stay around 70C
  • when the mixture warms up and only starts to thicken a little, add chia seeds (if chia seeds are added at the beginning, they will sink and gather at the bottom of the pan
  • to cook chia seeds and to get the most of their thickening effect, I take the pan from the heat once or twice, let it rest for 3-5min and start cooking again
  • let cooked lemon curd rest for 10 min
  • squeeze water from gelatine leaves
  • add gelatine to the cream
  • stir gelatine until it dissolves in cream
  • let the cream cool down to room temperature, stirring occasionally to spread chia seeds evenly, they tend to sink to the bottom
  • pour the cream into a glass container, preferably with a lock-up lid
  • refrigerate cream overnight, it will set


  • transfer set cream (1/2 portion shown in container) to a bowl
  • whisk cream to loosen it up


  • cream is ready to be used

to assemble the cake

  • line working surface with baking paper, I often use 2 sheets, it helps to be flexible and to move the cake if needed
  • to assemble the cake use approximately 2-3 serving spoons of cream between pastry layers
  • use palette knife to spread the cream evenly, baked pastry will not be completely flat, be gentle, do not press  cream or pastry down
  • use extra cream for the top layer, reserve cream for the edges of the cake
  • use palette knife or spatula to take excess of cream from the sides
  • it is better to clean baking sheet from extra cream before using crumbs
  • use crumbs generously on the top and on the sides of the cake
  • palette knives or some painter’s tools can be very helpful in that
  • I also used lightly roasted chopped hazelnuts to decorate the top of the cake


This cake was made as a present and was carefully transported with all the precautions I could think off.


The texture of pastry layers, even being so thin, does not absorb all the moisture of the cream. So the layered structure of Napoleon cake is left intact for several days, probably thanks to the mixture of dry ingredients used for the dough. It is a proper festive cake, with intense flavours and pleasant texture, when you can taste the pastry and cream in every bite.


Considering that I don’t like coconut flavour and honey, as a sweetener in baked products, and classic Napoleon is my favourite cake, it is a big surprise for me to be eager to bake this cake for my own consumption. However, I have to recover after this very hot Christmas and New year. I had to wear woollen socks yesterday. The drop from 43.4C to 16.5C was a bit too much to handle. But that’s our beautiful Melbourne in all its glory.

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