Amy Mayboch Shea knows giving back is sweet.
The Scott Twp. native lends a hand wherever she can, especially by baking decorative cupcakes. As a college student at University of Scranton, Shea got involved as head of the baked goods committee for her church bazaar at Our Lady of the Snows Parish in Clarks Summit.
Shea said that if she weren’t a teacher, she would have owned a bakery. She frequently flexes her creative baking skills for school fundraisers and on her Instagram, @rocambolesco_vita. Almost two decades into volunteering — and even though Shea has relocated to New Jersey with her husband, Michael — she still bakes hundreds of her famous cupcakes for the Northeast Pennsylvania bazaar each year.
With a recipe so rich in history and popularity, Local Flavor had to check it out, and Shea’s Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing earned Our Lady of the Snows a $50 grocery gift card from Riccardo’s Market, 1219 Wheeler Ave., Dunmore.
The cupcakes will be on hand at the event taking place Thursday, Aug. 1, through Saturday, Aug. 3, at the grounds of the Church of St. Benedict, 1849 Newton Ransom Blvd., Clarks Summit.
Shea makes huge batches each year and sticks to the basic flavors for the bazaar — vanilla, chocolate and funfetti. While she uses a boxed cake mix for the base of the cupcakes, she adds her own twist to it to make them taste better. Shea swaps milk in for water, always adds an extra egg than what’s called for and uses twice as much melted butter as the oil the recipe calls for. For instance, if the directions say to add 1/2 cup of oil, she uses 1 cup melted butter.
The recipe she shared with Local Flavor is for vanilla cupcakes and icing, but bakers can make any flavor they desire by adding ingredients. She jazzes up chocolate cupcakes with 1 tablespoon of espresso powder. Her scratch-made buttercream icing is adaptable, too, Shea said. Adding 3/4 cup of sifted cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder will produce a chocolate icing; adding 1/2 cup crushed Oreos (cookies only) to vanilla icing will yield a cookies and cream topping.
Shea spares no expense on the decorating and uses AmeriColor gel food coloring for vibrant hues. Guests will see just about any kind of cupcake they can imagine at the bazaar, from Cookie Monster with a chocolate chip cookie in his mouth to “Pork Lo Mein” complete with piped icing to look like noodles and different types of candy to represent the vegetables.
“Don’t be afraid to try something,” she said. “If it goes wrong, scrape off the icing and try again.”
The event is a way for Shea to stay connected with the church, and it’s a family affair, as her parents, Eugene and Sharon Mayboch, set up the bazaar’s book booth and she and her husband also donate baskets.
“OLS in my heart will always be my home parish,” she said. “I am blessed and grateful that I can continue to support it.”
Amy Mayboch Shea’s Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes
1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist Vanilla Cake Mix
1 cup whole milk
1 cup melted butter
Heat oven to 375 F for shiny metal pan or 350 F for dark or nonstick pan.
Mix cake mix, milk, butter and eggs in large bowl with mixer on medium speed or beat vigorously by hand for 2 minutes. Spoon batter into cups (about 3 tablespoons each).
Bake for 12 to 17 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before frosting.
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 stick vegetable shortening
2 pounds sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon corn syrup (can be omitted, but helps to make the icing smooth)
4 tablespoons milk
Food coloring (optional)
Cream together softened unsalted butter and vegetable shortening; beat in vanilla extract and corn syrup. Slowly add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (if a stand mixer is being used, 2 cups can be added in at a time). The icing will begin to stiffen as you are almost finished adding in the powdered sugar; add in milk at this time, beat well, and add in the last 2 cups of powdered sugar. At this point, the icing is ready to be colored as desired. Frost cupcakes as desired.
If you go
What: Our Lady of the Snows Parish annual (Country Bazaar
When: Thursday, Aug. 1, through Saturday, Aug. 3, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Where: Church of St. Benedict grounds, 1849 Newton Ransom Blvd., Clarks Summit
Details: In addition to food and baked goods, the event will feature entertainment, raffles, games, antiques and more. A shuttle service from Red Barn Village, 1826 Red Barn Village Road, Clarks Summit, to the bazaar will be available. For more information or to volunteer, call the parish office at 570-586-1741.
Gia Mazur is an award-winning staff writer and beauty obsessive who joined The Times-Tribune’s Lifestyles department in 2015. She’s a product enthusiast who can’t live without an eyelash curler. A proud Virgo, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk is her go-to. Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT