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Western Reserve grad enjoys personalizing cupcakes

Cary Ashby • Jan 31, 2017 at 7:00 PM

MILAN — You might as well call Tiffany Caponi the Cupcake Queen.

In her family, the Collins woman is known for making cupcakes and cakes based on her relative’s favorite or suggested ingredients. And that sends her to Pinterest to find a recipe that works.

Caponi enjoys the personal touch of making a dessert out of a family member’s favorite things.

“I like making cupcakes and I did three-tier cakes. I have to master my frosting skills,” she said.

The best thing Caponi said she makes is German chocolate cake.

“It’s Dad’s go-to and I’m a daddy’s girl, so I had to master it,” she said.

By depending on Pinterest for finding recipes, it should be no surprise she found her featured recipe — chocolate banana cupcakes topped with peanut butter buttercream — from the social media site. 

“It has peanut butter; it’s chocolate; it’s bananas. That’s the ultimate combination,” said Caponi, who made it the first time for her sister’s baby shower about a year ago.

Caponi said there are always browned bananas at her house “and I won’t eat them then they turn brown.” So this is a great way to use them.

When baking, using buttercream frosting is a go-to choice.

“I can vary it based on the flour they want. You can’t go wrong with buttercream frosting,” Caponi said.

Her husband, Marco, does a majority of the cooking for their family, which includes their sons Lucca, 2, and 3-month-old Matteo. But Caponi does make poppy seed chicken occasionally.

“I’m a breakfast person. I cook a lot of the breakfasts at our home,” she said.

Caponi wanted to clarify and correct what her husband said in a previous Cook of the Week interview. Marco Caponi, a third-grade reading teacher at Pleasant Elementary, said when they were dating Tiffany attempted to surprise him by making tuna noodle casserole from memory, using ranch and sour cream.

Tiffany Caponi said it’s true — except she actually used mayonnaise and ranch. 

“I was trying to mimic what we made, but it didn’t work out so well,” she said. “I tried to make it from memory. I could not remember what the wet consistency was.

Upon hearing she included mayonnaise and ranch, Marco was dumbfounded.

“His first words were, ‘Did you eat that?’ He told me, ‘You can’t put mayonnaise in the oven. You have to throw that away,’” Caponi said.

She and her husband have lived in Collins since 2011.

f there’s a potluck special, she said she usually brings “whatever my husband is making.”

“Otherwise, it’s barbecue meatballs, which you throw in the crockpot and isn’t homemade by any means,” she added.

Caponi’s recommendation to other bakers is using the proper tools, which helps make the process much easier.

“I love my mixer,” she said.

Caponi, a 28-year-old Western Reserve graduate, is in her first year as a second-grade Title I teacher at Edison Elementary School. Before that, she was a dump truck driver for two years with Haynes Construction and also worked at the wound clinic at Fisher-Titus Medical Center.

Caponi coached track at Western for two years. She has been the freshman girls’ basketball coach for three years.

As a Western student, she played volleyball, track and basketball. Since graduating from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Caponi said she has “filled the void of not being an athlete anymore” by competing in triathlons, which she’s done for the last five years. While at ULL, she was on the cross country and track teams.

 

Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 24-26 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Serves: 2 dozen

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/4 cups mashed banana

3/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with wrappers.

Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

Cream together softened butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 

Mix in banana and vegetable oil. Mix together lemon juice and milk to sour it. Add dry ingredients alternately with soured milk, starting and ending with dry ingredients. With a spoon, fill 3/4 of cupcake wrapper with butter.

Bake cupcakes for 24-26 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

* * * 

Peanut butter buttercream

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cup peanut butter

3 1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

With a mixer, cream together peanut butter and butter for 2-3 minutes. Add powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl often. Pour in heavy cream and vanilla and beat until smooth. Beat on high for 3-4 minutes or until buttercream has become light and fluffy. Use immediately.

Option: Garnish cupcakes with 2 chopped Reese’s Cups. Freeze Reese’s Cups prior to chopping.

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