Apple Nutmeg Pine Nut Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups superfine sugar
- 2 3/4 cups cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2 cups small-diced apples
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Brown Sugar Buttercream, recipe follows
- Caramel sauce, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 24 count regular-size cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
In a heavy-duty mixing bowl, cream together the butter and shortening on medium speed. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, until completely combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the superfine sugar with the mixer set to low speed. Once combined, set the mixer to medium speed and mix for 5 minutes.
Sift together the cake flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Begin to add the sifted dry ingredients to the batter, alternating with the warm milk.
Mix together the apples and nutmeg. Cook in the microwave for 3 minutes, and then drain any excess juices. Fold the apples and half the toasted pine nuts into the batter. Add the vanilla extract.
Fill the cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 16 to 20 minutes. Use a toothpick to poke in the center of the cupcake and if it comes out clean then the cupcakes are done. Remove from the pan and place onto a tray to cool.
Using a pastry bag and piping tip, frost the cupcakes with the Brown Sugar Buttercream, and garnish with caramel sauce and remaining toasted pine nuts.
Brown Sugar Buttercream:
In a small saucepan, heat the brown sugar and 2 tablespoons butter. Boil for 1 minute, remove from the heat, and cool slightly. (If it cools completely, it will harden too much and make it difficult to cream with the butter.) In a heavy-duty mixing bowl, cream the remaining 1/2 cup butter with the melted butter /brown sugar mixture. Add 3 cups powdered sugar and mix on low speed. Turn the mixer off, add the milk, and mix. Add the remaining 3 cups powdered sugar and the vanilla and mix together until smooth.