Napoleon’s hat

Napoleon’s hat

Scandinavian Baking
Columbus Leth

This marzipan-filled cake can be dated back to 1856. Denmark had sided with Napoleon in the early 19th century, which cost us dearly: the English bombed Copenhagen and stole our large naval fleet. One of the consequences of that was that Norway won its independence.

This cake relies on good-quality marzipan, which means it should contain 60 per cent almonds. If you can’t get a good-quality marzipan, make your own; it’s very easy.


Quantity Ingredient

For the pastry

Quantity Ingredient
200g plain flour, plus more to dust
50g icing sugar
100g chilled butter, chopped
1/2 egg, lightly beaten

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
100g caster sugar
1 egg white, plus ½ egg white more, to glaze
250g Home-made marzipan, coarsely grated, (60% almonds)

For the decoration

Quantity Ingredient
150g tempered chocolate, see note


  1. Start by making the pastry. Sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Rub the butter in with your fingers until the mixture resembles crumbs. Add the egg and stir until it comes into a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. For the filling, beat the sugar with the whole egg white until the sugar dissolves, making sure the mixture does not get too warm. Mix with the marzipan to make a smooth paste. Form it into 18 small balls, each the size of a walnut.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface and cut it out with a 6–7cm cookie cutter. Take the leftover dough and roll out again, until you have 18 pieces. Place them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Place the marzipan balls in the middle of each. Brush with the egg white to glaze and press the pastry up around the marzipan at three equally spaced points, so it looks a bit like Napoleon’s famous hat (see image). Now brush egg white on the other, unglazed side as well. Bake for 10–12 minutes.
  4. Cool on a wire rack and, when cold, dip the flat bases in tempered chocolate – or spread it on with a spatula if you find that easier – and leave to set on a piece of baking parchment, chocolate sides up.


  • Tempered chocolate

    Why temper chocolate? It’s simple: if you heat chocolate without controlling the crystals in the cocoa butter through tempering, you risk it losing its shine and having stripes when it dries. If you want a shiny finish with a nice snap, you have to temper the chocolate! This is the easy way to do it, though you will need a sugar thermometer.

    Chop best dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa solids) finely, take two-thirds of it and place in a heatproof bowl fitted over a pan of very gently simmering water. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water and that the water does not get too hot. When the chocolate has melted and reached 50°C, add the remaining chopped chocolate and mix until all the chocolate has melted. Heat very gently until the melted chocolate reaches a temperature of about 31°C. Now the chocolate is tempered and ready to be used.
cream buns
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again