Chadwick Boyd is bringing Christmas and cake together.
For Poaching Apples:
- 5 cosmic crisp apples
- 750 ml sparkling wine
- 2 cups water
- ¾ 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
Apple Ornament Cake
- Wash apples. Leave skin on. Using a fork, pierce the bottoms of the apples in a cross pattern, about ¾” deep.
- Reserve ¼ cup sparkling wine. Then combine the 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.
- Place apples in poaching liquid. Reduce heat down 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 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 12 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 a rack in the center of the oven; preheat the 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 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 the bowl and the paddle; beat 30 seconds more.
- Transfer batter to the prepared pan. Smooth batter using a rubber scraper. Gently put the apples into the batter, making sure they do not touch the bottom of the pan. Place one apple in the center, and the other four above, below and on each side of the center apple. Evenly sprinkle the 2 teaspoons of 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 the pan. Remove the sides of the springform pan. Using a very wide spatula, transfer the cake from the bottom of the 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.