Children can help peel the carrots, measure dry ingredients into a large bowl, and stir together the wet and dry ingredients. Place bowls of icing, coconut and jelly beans on the table and demonstrate how to construct the first basket. Let the children assemble the rest. They can choose red licorice whips for the basket handle, or try one of the new fruit-flavored whips that come in colors as varied as yellow, orange and pink.
- For the Cupcakes:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and grated (3 1/2 cups packed)
- 2 cups chopped walnuts
- 1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
- 1 cup drained canned crushed pineapple
- For the Icing:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups (1 pound) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- For the Decorating:
- 3 cups coconut
- Liquid or paste food coloring
- 72 jelly beans, in assorted colors
- 24 red licorice or other fruit-flavored whips
FOR THE CUPCAKES:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 24 standard muffin cups with paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, granulated and brown sugars and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the grated carrots, walnuts, coconut and pineapple.
Using a wooden spoon, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined. Spoon into the lined muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
FOR THE ICING:
In a bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer set at medium speed until light and fluffy. Grate in the orange zest and vanilla. Beat in the confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time. Continue beating until light and creamy. You should have about 3 cups.
TO COLOR COCONUT:
Dissolve a few drops of liquid or paste food coloring in 1 teaspoon water. Put coconut in a lock-top plastic bag and dribble dissolved food coloring over it. Seal bag and massage food coloring into the coconut until it is evenly distributed and no white streaks remain.
Spread the cooled cupcakes generously with the icing. Press the coconut onto the icing to resemble Easter basket grass. Press 3 jelly beans into the coconut grass on each cupcake. To create the basket handle, insert one end of a licorice whip into one side of a cupcake. (If you experience difficulty inserting the licorice, pierce the cupcake with the tip of a paring knife to ease the way.) Insert the other end into the opposite side of the cupcake, to form the semicircular handle.
Serve the cupcakes immediately, or cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill for up to 12 hours before serving.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Chronicle. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
508 calories; 30g total fat; 56mg cholesterol; 239mg sodium; 55g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 7g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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