Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Easter Basket Cupcakes

Servings: Makes 24 cupcakes
These pretty little cupcakes are perfect for the kids to help with. They can do much of the decorating, especially with the jelly beans, the red licorice, and the fruit-flavored whips. They'll have a ball!!!

For Cupcakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground 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 vanilla extract
1 pound carrots, peeled, grated (3 1/2 cups packed)
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup drained canned crushed pineapple

For Icing:
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 oz./113g) unsalted butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups (1 pound) confectioners' sugar, sifted

For Decorating:
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
Liquid or paste food coloring
2 jelly beans, in assorted colors
24 red licorice or other fruit-flavored whips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. 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 three-quarters 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.

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.

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 thecupcake, to form the semicircular handle.

TO SERVE: Serve the cupcakes immediately, or cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill for up to 12 hours before serving.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Source: Easter Treats-Recipes and Crafts For The Whole Fam
Date: March 10, 2002