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Invisible Apple Cake (Gâteau Invisible)

Creamy, custardy, and lightly sweetened, this French invisible apple cake is great as a snack or a dessert! It features a generous amount of apple, which results in a simple yet delicious recipe.

Invisible Apple Cake (Gâteau Invisible) Top View

Invisible apple cake, or gâteau invisible, is a simple French dessert that features generous layers of thinly sliced apple in a custard base. This quick and easy recipe results in a creamy baked apple custard cake with tender apple slices. The cake is lightly sweetened and full of apple flavor!

This cake is called “invisible apple cake” because the apple slices are so thin that they melt into the custard batter while baking and almost become invisible. The large ratio of apples to the cake batter and ultra-thin apple slices also helps create the custardy layers and makes this relatively healthy!

Unlike many apple recipes, gâteau invisible does not call for warming fall spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice. This change allows the apple flavor to be pure and shine through.

(An interesting fact) This apple custard cake recently became very popular in Japan even though the recipe originated from France.

Recipe Notes and Tips

  1. This cake heavily relies on apples, so you may want to choose a type of apple that is sweeter (such as Red Delicious or Fuji apples). 
  2. Mix the butter and milk first. This step prevents the hot melted butter from cooking the eggs. If your butter is already cooled, you can skip this step.
  3. Use a mandolin for the thinnest, most uniform apple pieces possible. 
  4. Add the apple slices to the egg mixture as you slice to prevent them from oxidizing. This step will help the apple slices to be more invisible. 
Invisible Apple Cake (Gâteau Invisible) Square
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5 from 1 vote

Invisible Apple Cake (Gâteau Invisible)

Creamy, custardy, and lightly sweetened, this French invisible apple cake is great as a snack or a dessert! It features a generous amount of apple, which results in a simple yet delicious recipe.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: French, Japanese
Keyword: apple custard cake, creamy baked apple custard cake, custard apple cake, gateau invisible, invisible apple cake
Servings: 8 slices
Calories: 183kcal

Ingredients

  • 6 large apples peeled (~2 lbs), Note 1
  • 3 large eggs
  • 50 g sugar 1/4 cup
  • 28 g unsalted butter melted (2 tbsp)
  • 105 mL milk ~7 tbsp
  • 90 g all-purpose flour 3/4 cup
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  • Grease a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan. Line it with a 9-inch tall parchment paper rectangle that is at least 12 inches wide. (The extra paper hanging over the pan’s edges will make removing the cake easier.) Also, lightly grease the parchment.
  • In a medium or large bowl, beat the eggs and the sugar together until the mixture becomes light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Mix the hot melted butter with the cold milk to cool it down. Add the butter and milk mixture and baking powder to the beaten eggs and mix to combine. Note 2
  • Add the flour to the bowl and mix everything. A very loose or runny batter should form. Set the bowl aside.
  • Peel the apples, slice them into quarters, and remove the cores. Use a mandolin to make thin apple slices, or cut the apples very thinly by hand. Add the apple slices to the batter as you slice to prevent them from oxidizing and turning brown. Note 3 & 4
  • Mix the apple slices thoroughly with the batter to coat each one. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  • (Optional) Reserve 40 to 50 of the prettier apple slices. Add the remaining apple and batter to the pan. Starting from one of the short ends, take an apple slice and slightly overlap it on top of the previous one to create a shingled pattern.
  • Use a spatula to gently press down on the cake to remove any air bubble in-between the slices and make the layers more even. You also gently tap the pan on the counter.
  • Bake the cake in a 375 F oven for 55-65 minutes, or until set.
  • Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool in the pan for at least 15-20 minutes before removing it. Loosen the edges of the cake from the pan. Pull the handles of the parchment paper to remove the cake.
  • You can serve the cake warm or cold. Optionally add a sprinkle of powdered sugar, whipped cream, or ice cream with the cake.

Notes

  1. This cake heavily relies on apples, so you may want to choose a type of apple that is sweeter (such as Red Delicious or Fuji apples).
  2. Mix the butter and milk first. This step prevents the hot melted butter from cooking the eggs. If your butter is already cooled, you can skip this step.
  3. Use a mandolin for the thinnest, most uniform apple pieces possible.
  4. This step will help the apple slices to be more invisible.

How to Make Invisible Apple Cake

Begin by greasing a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan. Line it with a 9-inch tall parchment paper rectangle that is at least 12 inches wide. (The extra paper hanging over the pan’s edges will make removing the cake easier.) Also, lightly grease the parchment.

Lined Cake Pan

In a medium or large bowl, beat the eggs and the sugar together until the mixture becomes light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 

Eggs and Sugar
Beaten Eggs

Mix the hot melted butter with the cold milk to cool it down. Add the butter and milk mixture and baking powder to the beaten eggs and mix to combine.  Add the flour to the bowl and mix everything. A very loose or runny batter should form. Set the bowl aside.

Invisible Apple Cake Batter Finished

Peel the apples, slice them into quarters, and remove the cores. Use a mandolin to make thin apple slices, or cut the apples very thinly by hand. Add the apple slices to the batter as you slice to prevent them from oxidizing and turning brown. Mix the apple slices thoroughly with the batter to coat each one. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

Invisible Apple Cake Batter with Apple Slices

(Optional) Reserve 40 to 50 of the prettier apple slices. Add the remaining apple and batter to the pan. Starting from one of the short ends, take an apple slice and slightly overlap it on top of the previous one to create a shingled pattern.

Apple Slices Arranged

Use a spatula to gently press down on the cake to remove any air bubble in-between the slices and make the layers more even. You also gently tap the pan on the counter. Bake the cake in a 375 F oven for 55-65 minutes, or until set.

Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool in the pan for at least 15-20 minutes before removing it. Loosen the edges of the cake from the pan. Pull the handles of the parchment paper to remove the cake. 

Invisible Apple Cake (Gâteau Invisible) Slice

You can serve the cake warm or cold. Optionally add a sprinkle of powdered sugar, whipped cream, or ice cream with the cake.

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This cake is really healthy and tastes great!
    It is such a nice change from the usual apple desserts with fall spices.