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Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I was thinking about a dessert for Easter that we could have fun making together as a family, and I realized I had not made carrot cake in a really long time and it would be perfect! My carrot cake recipe ( from my More From Magnolia Cookbook) has pineapple and pecans and coconut- which seems Eastery doesn’t it? And  cupcakes are always easier to serve and to eat at a gathering, and of course more fun to decorate!

makes two dozen cupcakes

cupcakes:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups lightly packed shredded carrots
one 8-ounce can crushed pineapple in its own juice, with juice
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans (see note)
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut 

note: to toast the pecans, place on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant

Cream cheese frosting:

1 pound (two 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

garnish:

sweetened shredded coconut
coarsely chopped toasted pecans
pastel sprinkles

to make the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two 12 cup muffin tins with cupcake papers. 
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. set aside.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the oil and the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until light and thick, 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well. gradually add the dry ingredients, beating until well incorporated. Stir in the carrots, pineapple and juice, pecans, and coconut. Carefully spoon or scoop the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

to make the frosting:

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and the butter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well. Gradually add the sugar, one cup at a time, beating continuously, until smooth and creamy. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours to thicken if needed before using.

When the cupcakes have cooled, and the frosting is the right consistency, ice the cupcakes and garnish as desired!