Cosmic Crisp Apple Ornament Cake
This festive new cake, specially created for Cosmic Crisp by celebrity chef Chadwick Boyd, is perfect for the holidays. Boyd treats the beautiful, ruby-red fruit not only as a flavorful ingredient but as a colorful holiday decoration. When cooked or baked, Cosmic Crisps retain their shape and much of their crimson color, resembling — in this dessert — vintage red-glass holiday ornaments.Pro tips: Cosmic Crisp apples weighing 9 to 10 ounces are best suited for this recipe. Use the smallest apple for the center. When arranging, the apples may touch the outside of the pan — that’s OK. Gently smoosh the center apple in place, if needed. It may sit up a little higher than the other apples, like a star on a tree. It will settle a bit.
For the Apples
- 5 Cosmic Crisp apples
- 3 cups sparkling wine
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise
- 1-2 star anise pods
For the Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- 1½ sticks unsalted butter softened, plus more for the pan
- 1 cup granulated sugar plus 2 teaspoons, divided
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup sparkling wine
- 1-2 tsp glittery sugar optional
For the Apples
- Wash Cosmic Crisp apples. Leave skin on.Using a fork, pierce the bottoms of the Cosmic Crisp apples in a cross pattern, about ¾-inch deep.
- Reserve ¼ cup sparkling wine. Make the poaching liquid by stirring together the remaining 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.
- Place apples in poaching liquid. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover. Poach apples for 10 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 star 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, has a syrup-like consistency, and turns light amber in color.
- Remove from heat; let cool. Syrup will continue to thicken as it cools.
For the Cake
- Place rack in the center of the oven; preheat oven to 350°F degrees.Lightly butter the bottom of a 10-inch 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 the paddle, 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 and the paddle; 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. If decorating with sugar, evenly sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons 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-inch 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.
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 also would bring a warm, cozy flavor to the cake.