The Invisible Apple Cake

Some days ago a friend of mine found an interesting apple cake she wanted to prepare. Honestly I think she didn’t yet. But I was intrigued and gave it a try – gluten-free version.

Seen on the photo the cake seemed to me very particular: many apple slices piled up, hardly any cake batter to see. And that is right: the batter is just enough to hold the many thin apples slices together.

This nearly no cake but all apple cake was invented by a French food blogger. The Gateau Invisible is found in many versions on the Internet, I like also the sliced almonds in it. Definitely a caramel sauce on the top is also intriguing. The invisible refers to the cake batter which doesn’t seem to be there. In fact when you eat the cake it gives just that cake taste with the fruity and crunchy apple.

I used a smaller ring pan, this way the cake is high and the many layers are well visible. I was surprised how easy the cake is and how fast it was ready.

Warm or cold with icing sugar on the top, or decorated with chocolate, sliced almonds, with whipped coconut cream or dairy-free vanilla ice cream.. this cake is really great.

The recipe I found on this page (in Italian).



Enjoy this easy and fast apple cake!

Apple Cake
Torta Invisibile di Mele
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 pieces 20 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 pieces 20 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Apple Cake
Torta Invisibile di Mele
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 pieces 20 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 pieces 20 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Instructions
  1. Ground the zest of the two lemons and squeeze them for the juice. Set both apart.
  2. Peel the apples without cutting them and then – with a mandoline slicer or knife – cut the apples in very thin slices over a bowl. Add the Lemon juice and mix. The apples don't get brown this way.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  4. In another bowl add the eggs and the sugar. With an electric hand mixer mix until the mixture is a little fluffy and brighter. Now add the lemon zest, the pinch of salt and slowly the flour and baking powder. Mix well for a minute.
  5. Now transfer the batter into the bowl with the sliced apples. Be careful not to break the apples slices.
  6. Prepare a 18 cm/7" round cake pan with parchment paper or grease the inside and put some flour in order to prevent the cake to stick on the rim.
  7. Transfer into the oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes. After 30 minutes check with a toothpick if the inside of the cake is still wet. Let the cake in the oven for some additional minutes.
  8. Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool in the cake pan. Open the cake pan and transfer the cake on a cake plate. Decorate with some icing sugar.
Recipe Notes

Instead of the all purpose paleo flour you can use also half-half of almond flour and cassava flour. 

I would recommend parchment paper instead of ghee/coconut oil and flour. It is not that easy to transfer later the cake from the baking pan to a plate. With the parchment paper it is easier to lift it.

Instead of icing sugar you can use also sprinkled chocolate for example or simply omit decoration. It looks good also with none. 

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Between History and Veggies – Il Mercato Centrale

This summer when I was exploring Florence together with my friend we came across an interesting building in the middle of a super crowded street with hundreds of vendors. It was the Mercato Centrale.

Not far away from the basilica of Florence and on the way back to the train station Santa Lucia Novella, we came across a street with hundreds of stands selling leather. It was overcrowded but, we were interested in the shops on both sides. A just because we were a little aside from the rest of the crowd in the middle of the street I saw the arches. I pointed it out to my friend, and we decided to have a better look at it. We found out that it was the Mercato Centrale.

The building was constructed in the end of the 19th century during the so-called Risanamento of Florence (changing the urban style out of necessity). It was the period when Florence was for a short time of 6 years the capital of the newly built Kingdom of Italy.

The old market place had not enough space anymore because the population was growing fast. There was an urgent need for a bigger, newer one. And covered. So they decided to cover three places and make a public market out of them. One of these was the Mercato Centrale in the quarter of San Lorenzo.

For this work they demolished several house blocks, houses that already were in a bad condition. This way they opened a big space right in the heart of the city and not far from the most important sights. The market was designed by Giuseppe Mengoni and constructed with iron, glass and iron cast. There are 5 arches on each side of the middle section which form a loggia, an exterior gallery. The inauguration was in 1874.

Due to the glass and iron roof there is a lot of daylight in the hall that it gives you the sense of being outside.

In the last decades people are moving out of the center and most of them go now to big supermarkets, they simply don’t buy that much anymore at farmers markets. So the market re-invented itself by opening on the first floor restaurants and activities.

We were in the market in the late afternoon. The building itself is very interesting and is worth a visit. But also the many different restaurants. You get the light feeling of being in a station, first floor, where you have all the fast food restaurants. The difference is that these restaurants are serving finger-food, Italian style fast food and a variety of other things. I saw also some cooking classes.

I liked to wander around in this place, it offers food of different regions of Italy, some from other countries as well. You can have finger-food, a quick dish or also fine-dining. A very particular atmosphere!




Florence, TuscanyItaly:

For further information:
Official website of Florence
Website of the Mercato Centrale


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Santa Maria Novella – The First Great Basilica of Florence

When we got out of the train station Santa Maria Novella in Florence, we walked towards the city center and passed beside a nice looking building. I wanted to have a look, why not starting right here to sight-seeing the city? It happened to be one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen: the basilica Santa Maria Novella.

It’s the main Dominican church and the first basilica of Florence. The church itself is connected to a cloister and chapter house which house many art pieces and funerary monuments. Many of the most important Florentine families paid for them to get a place on consecrated ground.

In 1219 Fra’ Giovanni da Salerno arrived with 11 Dominican priests from Bologna and two years later they got the little church Santa Maria delle Vigne, at that time outside the city walls. They decided to build a new church: Santa Maria Novella (The New One). In the mid-century they started building the church and an adjoining cloister. 120 years later all was finished, including the Romanesque-Gothic bell tower and the sacristy. In 1410, nearly 200 years later, the church was consecrated.

Later in that same century the upper part with the for Florence so typical green and white marble, the church facade became as it is today. During the centuries there were many works and changes to culminating in the look of the present-day. Famous architects and designers like Alberti, Vasari and Dosio embellished inside and outside the church and cloister. In 1919 the church became a Basilica Minore. Only recently the church was restored and since 2001 there is an entrance fee.

The many, many paintings, the choir, the wonderful decorated ceilings, the high columns in the church, the beautifully decorated cloister.. we spent a couple of hours inside the area.

Inside the church there are different chapels like the Filippo Strozzi Chapel, the Gondi Chapel, the Rucellai Chapel and many others of important names for the city are all different and amazingly beautiful. Don’t miss the fresco by Andreas Buonaiuto in the Spanish Chapel (former chapter house, called Spanish Chapel because it was assigned to Eleonora of Toledo)!

Here you can see paintings and art work by Botticelli, Brunelleschi, Bronzino, Pisano, Giotto, Vasari, Ghiberti, Lippi and many, many others.

Only later I found out about the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica. The monks have produced rose water since 1381, they created a perfume for Catarina de’ Medici in 1533 made with bergamot, since 1590 the apothecary expanded also outside the Dominican order and in 1612 there was the first apothecary shop.

The Basilica Santa Mari Novella is a must-see on a Florence tour and easy to find as you pass it when you arrive at the homonymous station, and you are on the way to the main attractions of the inner city. It is a good introduction to architecture and art of Florence.
















Florence, Tuscany/Italy:

For further information:
Official website of Florence
Website of the Basilica Minore Santa Maria Novella
Website of the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica of Santa Maria Novella


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With Michelangelo in the Uffizi in Florence

The Uffizi today are an art museum in the center of Florence. But once it was the administration center of the long-time Medici dynasty and used as well as an art gallery just for the family and their guests. Today it is still difficult to get in, but the reasons are different of course.

The Uffizi (offices) were commissioned by Cosimo I de’ Medici in 1560 and it was the architect Giorgio Vasari to start the construction. The building should house the offices of the magistrates of the city. To finish the construction it was Bernardo Buontalenti and Alfonso Parigi, both well-known architects and designers of their time. Just 21 years later the Uffizi were completed, having on the first floor a private art gallery for the Medici family. They became famous for their huge interest in art of all kinds.

The inner courtyard is extremely long and narrow and with the colonnade (portico) on both sides it seems to be a street. It is open at the south side and gives a spectacular view of the Arno, the Ponte Vecchio and towards the Pitti Palace. In the niches there are sculptures of famous artists of all kinds (poets, painters, architects…)

Just a few years later there was built an additional building: the Tribuna degli Uffizi. This was an octagonal room where a series of masterpieces of art and jewels were displayed. It was open to young people on a Grand Tour (a very common custom for young men and women of age 21 to travel through Europe to learn and make experience, today still in some countries done before entering the university).

In the last decades the Uffizi were modernized. Lighting, security systems, more space to display, air-conditioning and more were added. Today there are more than 100 rooms open. Two million people come every year to visit one of the biggest art collections in the world. Most of the objects are from the Italian-Renaissance.

We had to wait a couple of hours to get in, even though we bought the tickets online the day before. It is definitely overcrowded and to take pictures or to enjoy the incredible art pieces is not easy. But, if you allow yourself enough time to go through the many rooms and corridors (maybe best alone, so you don’t have to look for the other one constantly) then you can really get a lot out of it. The art work is already amazing, but the rooms with their decorations are another wonder. In every room you could just stay and stare at the ceiling to contemplate the beauty of the painting or decoration. The display of the art pieces is very well done and there is not even one piece that is not in the right light. I very much want to return during winter time and have another walk in this breathtaking place. Maybe with a little fewer people. The Uffizi are a must-see-once-in-a-lifetime!
































Florence, Tuscany/Italy:

For further information:
official website of Florence
Website of the Florence Art Museum (Uffizi Gallery)


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The Third largest Church – Basilica Santa Maria del Fiore

After Saint Peter’s Church in Rome and Saint Paul’s Church in London, today Santa Maria del Fiore is the third largest church in the world. At its time in the 15th century it was even the largest with its 153 m/502 ft length, 90 m/295 ft width and height. It is dedicated to the Virgin of the Flower which is an allusion to the lily, symbol of the city.

The cathedral is the third of Florence and is part of the religious complex in the center and one of the most visited places in the world. The exterior is richly decorated meanwhile the interior surprises with its simplicity.

The church is built on a former church, Santa Reparata (Saint Reparata). The first stone was laid in 1296 after a design of Arnolfo di Cambio. He worked at the cathedral the first 6 of the 140 years in total. The work slowed down in the following 30 years and restarted only when the guild of wool merchants, l’Arte della Lana, took over. They assigned Giotto as master architect. He put most of his emphasis into the bell tower, today known as Giotto’s tower. Andrea Pisano worked shortly on the project when the Black Death put all to a halt. Only after, with a halved population, the city gave the responsibility to Francesco Talenti in 1349. It would take another 70 years and many other famous architects to complete the church and in 1418 there was only the dome uncompleted. Brunelleschi won a competition to finish the work. In 1436 finally the church was consecrated by Pope Eugene IV. The most impressive was the octagonal dome without any supporting wooden frame.

Though the outside decoration was still uncompleted and would not be finished before the end of the 19th (!) century.

The facade outside is amazing and it seems to take ages to see all the many details. It has a unique beauty and you expect something equal when you enter the church. But, oops, it’s just the opposite. The bareness and the height give a pretty empty impression. It reflects the religious ideas of Girolamo Savonarola, a 15th century Dominican friar, preacher and reformer.

Inside the church we have seen the Santa Reparata remains and the crypt with the tomb of Brunelleschi. The church is impressive because of the height and especially the dome. I tried to get a time to go on the dome but it was booked out for the next whole week. So this is definitely something I would recommend doing online before going to Florence. Though you don’t need to book in advance the bell tower, which gives a very similar view, I would say.

Just seeing these three monuments – the cathedral, the bell tower and the baptistery – it took a whole day. It’s something to consider when you organize your trip to Florence.










Florence, Tuscany/Italy:

For further information:
Official website of Florence
Website of the Grande Museo del Duomo (Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore)
Website of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore


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