I almost titled this Japanese Invisible Apple Cake. But in my research I realized, it’s not actually Japanese, it’s French! It’s traditionally called “Gateau Invisible”, which translates directly to Invisible Cake. It gets its name from having so many finely sliced apples packed into the batter, that miraculously all disappear from sight once baked. During backing, they mesh with the batter to form a solid loaf. When ready to slice, you can see the apples, layered so tightly together it resembles a crepe cake almost. Meanwhile, the cake part very closely resembles a crepe in flavor and texture. It’s almost custard like, which is ideal with apples. And it’s absolutely delicious.
I thought it was Japanese though because it’s taking Japan by storm. The Japanese love this cake. It can be found in most bakeries in Japan and I sifted through (pun intended) many Japanese blogs before settling on this recipe.
I’d baked this years and years ago, when I saw a Tasty (Japanese) video pop up on Facebook. It showed a 1-minute quick demonstration for making invisible cake. This was during the time that those quick cooking/baking videos, showing only hands and ingredients, first came out. I was hooked. It was October and I was swimming in apples so I baked it right away.
The recipe came with a caramel sauce that I didn’t want to make. It was back when caramel still scared me. If it scares you, here’s a really easy caramel recipe that takes any fear and difficulty out of the process No-Churn Chocolate & Caramel Ice Cream — just follow the caramel sauce steps. Anyways, Fabien LOVED this cake. Now I know why, since it’s French! And because of this, it’s not too sweet, and really lets the apples shine. I however, thought it was missing something. And attributed it to the caramel that I didn’t make.
Fast-forward to present day. Now it’s May and I am oddly swimming in apples. Well, maybe not so oddly, I went to Costco. And when you come back from Costco, you’re pretty much swimming in everything! So I revisited this cake, it’s popularity still overwhelming. This time, I wanted to pack more flavor into it, without having to mask it with extra sugar, aka the caramel sauce. And so, vanilla, salt, and brandy took this cake from “it’s okay” to “OMG, now I understand the draw!!” You’ll love it. And you may love even more than it just needs a whisk to create–no creaming of butter here. In fact, there’s only 1 tablespoon of butter (that happens to be melted, making for a quicker prep) in the entire cake! Bon appétit.