Gâteau Invisible Is The French Cake That Hides Apple Slices In Every Bite

As far as apple desserts go, gâteau invisible aux pommes is one of the more visually impressive ones. Comprised of two elements, apples and custard, the cake may look exquisitely difficult to make but is actually fairly easy to pull together. The appearance of the invisible apple cake is intentionally deceiving, looking like a solid block of yellow custard, but on closer inspection contains multiple layers of thinly sliced apples. In fact, this gâteau really isn't a cake at all, having a fluffy texture similar to a bread pudding or layered crepe stack. 

As indicated by its French name, this treat hails from the patisseries of France. It shares a number of creamy characteristics with another fruity French dessert, the clafoutis. In both cases, fruit (be it apples or cherries) is suspended in a custardy batter, but invisible apple cake has a much higher fruit-to-batter ratio than clafoutis. Interestingly enough, this cake has proven to be a sensation in Japan, where it can be found in almost every bakery you come by. So, what sets this dessert apart from other apple delicacies? 

A cake of custard and apples

One of the key features of invisible apple cake is the meticulous layers of apples. This is accomplished either by uniform, thin cuts made by using a mandoline slicer, but bakers need to be sure not to slice too thinly or the apples will become mushy during the baking (somewhere between 1/8th and 1/16th inch thick). The next element is the custardy batter, which often consists of eggs, milk, and just a bit of flour. This mix is easy to flavor with numerous spices, from plain vanilla to a seasonal pumpkin pie spice. Once both the apples and batter have been prepped, bakers must do a bit of architectural shingling with the apples followed by a diligent pouring of batter. Normally baked in a rectangular loaf pan, the cake can be topped off with a bit of slivered almonds or other nuts. 

Though this stunning hidden apple dessert can be served plain, a bit of caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream would be welcome. Even without these accouterments, the invisible apple cake is sure to be the most elegant dish of the season.