Pro tips before baking
9-10 ounce Cosmic Crisp® apples are best suited for this recipe. Use the smallest of your bunch for the center
The apples may touch the outside of the pan – that’s OK
Gently smoosh the center apple in place. It may sit up a little higher than the other apples, like a star on a tree. It will settle a bit during baking.
The apples lose some color when fully baked
- Wash Cosmic Crisp® apples. Leave skin on. Then combine your poaching liquid.
- Stir together the wine, water and sugar in a large pot or 4-quart Dutch Oven. Drop in the vanilla bean and star anise; bring to a boil.
- Using a fork, pierce the bottoms of the Cosmic Crisp® apples in a cross pattern, about ¾” deep. Place apples in poaching liquid. Reduce heat down to medium low. Poach apples for 8 minutes or until just barely tender. Using a large slotted spoon, turn apples twice during poaching time. Carefully remove apples to a plate; cool slightly. Discard the anise and vanilla bean from poaching liquid. Return heat to high. Bring poaching liquid to boiling. Boil, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until liquid reduces to ½ cup and has a syrup-like consistency and turns light amber in color. Remove from heat; let cool. Syrup will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Meanwhile, place rack in the center of the oven; preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cake batter.
- Lightly butter the bottom of a 10” springform pan. Line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper and the sides of the pan. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat 1 minute more. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating 1 minute after each. Add the sparkling wine; beat 30 seconds more. (The mixture will look shaggy). Slowly add the dry mixture, beating on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of bowl; beat 30 seconds more.
- Transfer batter to the prepared pan. Smooth batter using a rubber scraper. Gently place the apples into the batter, making sure they do not touch the bottom of the pan. Evenly sprinkle the 2 teaspoons sugar on top.
- Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the cake near the center apple. Loosely cover with parchment or foil if the cake starts to brown too much.
- Transfer cake from oven; place on a wire rack. Cool completely, at least 2 hours.
- Using a table knife, gently loosen cake edges from sides of pan. Remove sides of springform pan. Using a very wide spatula, transfer cake from bottom of springform pan to 12” stand or plate. Gently brush wine reduction on top of cake, using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with glittery sugar, if desired.
- Using a serrated knife, cut cake into 8 to 10 slices, being extra careful when cutting through the apples. Serve cake slices with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.
To make the Cosmic Crisp® Celebration Cake even more festive:
- Add a touch of fresh ginger to the poaching liquid or the batter
- Cinnamon, cardamom or nutmeg bring a warm, cozy touch
- Dust with red glittery sugar for extra gleam and a Valentine’s Day Treat
For the holidays try this Cosmic Crisp® Ornament Cake!
For poaching apples
3½ cups sparkling white wine
2 cups water
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1-2 star anise
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened + more for greasing pan
1 cup granulated sugar + 2 teaspoons, divided
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup sparkling wine
1-2 teaspoons glittery sugar, if desired