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Cosmic Crisp® Celebration Cake


For poaching apples

  • 5 Cosmic Crisp® apples
  • 3½ cups sparkling white wine
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1-2 star anise

For cake

  • 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

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® Ornament 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