Here at Local Flavor, we’re on an apple kick.

Last week, we featured Alice Smith’s Apple Upside-Down Cake. We loved it so much we couldn’t resist featuring another apple treat — Lindsay Kapinus’ Apple Cider Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream.

The Eynon resident’s family and friends know her for her seasonal and clever cupcakes that look as good as they taste. An accountant for Pocono Mountain School District, Kapinus flexes her creative muscles in her free time by painting, playing guitar and baking. She cruises recipe websites and Pinterest for ideas and mixes, matches and tweaks ingredients to make it her own.

“It’s something artistic to do. It’s different from what I do all day, and it’s a way to be creative,” Kapinus said on a recent evening.

The recipe is straightforward, Kapinus said, with small changes possible here and there. Bakers can adjust the amount of spices in the cupcake part for a milder taste or the amount of milk in the buttercream frosting for a thinner consistency. The main ingredient is the apple cider.

“They’re definitely great for this time of year,” Kapinus said.
Apple Cider Cupcakes were an autumn dream. The fluffy cupcake portion had a nice taste of cinnamon and nutmeg. The apple cider flavor came through perfectly, with an ideal complement from the frosting.

It comes as no surprise that Kapinus’s cupcakes were a home run. Her mom, Michele, and grandma, Theresa Strony, are big cooks, so Kapinus assumed the role of baker, something she took to naturally as she began to explore recipes in high school. In college at University of Dayton in Ohio, it was tough for Kapinus to bake with six roommates sharing a small kitchen, but she rediscovered her love for it when she moved back to Northeast Pennsylvania a few years ago. Her dad, Mike, and brother, Tyler, reap the benefits of her creativity, especially her brother, who assumes the role of official taste-tester.

“They’re happy when I’m baking and they get to try it,” she said.

Kapinus also makes cookies, such as a Linzer tarts, Twix cookies, themed sugar cookies and her family’s recipe for Italian cookies, but cupcakes are her favorite recipes to try. Past creations include S’mores, Raspberry Lemonade, Neapolitan, Peppermint Hot Chocolate, Chocolate-Covered Strawberry and Dark Chocolate Raspberry. Kapinus gets creative with varieties including Easter-themed Carrot Patch cupcakes — chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream, Oreo crumbles and a strawberry dipped in orange-colored white chocolate — and Can’t Decide, consisting of a fudge brownie base topped with cookie dough icing.

Whether it’s heading to a family party, somewhere with friends or to a get-together with her fiancé, Jeff Schwenk, Kapinus is known to come bearing something sweet.

“I’m from a big Italian family and, if you’re going somewhere, you always bring something,” she said. “You never go someplace empty-handed.”


Lindsay Kapinus’s Apple Cider Cupcakes

Yield: 15 to 17 cupcakes

For cupcakes:

2 eggs
1 3/4 cups (all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground (cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup apple cider

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with a stand or hand mixer. Add eggs until fully incorporated. Mix in the rest of the ingredients, adding the apple cider last.
Line cupcake tin with liners, and fill liners two-thirds full. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For frosting:

1 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Caramel syrup (optional)

Mix together brown sugar, butter (softened, not melted), cinnamon, vanilla and milk. Mix in powdered sugar slowly. (Milk can be added to make icing a thinner consistency if desired.)
Frost cupcakes. Drizzle with caramel syrup if desired.