As a fan of apple cakes, when I saw a few recipes for one with an intriguing name – “Invisible cake” – it immediately got my attention.
As I started digging into it, I’ve learned that the cake originated in France, and is also quite popular in Japan.
The cake contains a large amount of thinly sliced apples, mixed with a small amount of thin batter. Once sliced, the apple slices are more noticeable than the batter – hence the “invisible” term.
The custard-like batter is quite similar to that of Clafoutis, another fruity French dessert, with the difference that here the amount of fruit is larger.
Even though the basic recipe is quite similar in most versions, there were still a few small differences in the amounts of sugar, flour and eggs used. In most, sliced almonds were used as a topping, while in others, they were omitted. Some called for round pans, while others for a loaf pan.
After checking a few recipes, I came up with the recipe below. I favored the versions using a loaf pan, with sliced almonds on top, but I still wanted to add a bit more flavor to the batter. I did that by adding a bit of almond extract, which enhanced the almond flavor, and a bit of maple syrup, which added another level of sweetness and a wonderful aroma.
Another change I’ve made, was using two types of apples (one sweeter and the other more acidic), rather than just one type. This gave the cake a more interesting flavor and texture.
This unique and tasty cake is perfect for serving as a light dessert. I find it doesn’t need any additions, but you can choose to serve it with caramel sauce, as done in many recipes. Other good options are serving it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream, on the side. Try it and enjoy.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Baking time: 50 minutes
Chilling time: 2 hours (optional)
7 medium crisp apples (I used two types. See photo)
¾ cup milk, slightly warm
1 tsp vanilla
A few drops of good quality almond extract
2 Tbs maple syrup
2 L eggs, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbs butter, melted and cooled a bit
¼ cup sliced almonds
- Preheat the oven to 345F (175C). Line a 10” (25cm) loaf pan with baking paper.
- Peel the apples, cut into quarters, remove the core, and slice thin. (Do that as close to preparing as possible, to avoid discoloration.)
- In a medium bowl, mix the milk with the vanilla, almond extract and maple syrup. Add the eggs and whisk well. Add the sugar and whisk to dissolve.
- Add the flour, baking powder and salt, and mix well. Add the melted butter and mix again, to a smooth thin batter.
- Pour the batter over the sliced apples, and mix well with a spatula, making sure that all the slices are coated.
- Transfer the mixture into the lined pan (I had no patience to meticulously arrange the slices, as some recipes require, so it’s up to you!), and scatter the almonds on top.
- Bake for 50 minutes, until the cake is set and the almonds are golden.
- Let cool to room temperature in the pan. The cake can be served at this point, but will cut better after a couple of hours in the fridge.