3 C. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1 C. vegetable oil
3/4 C. buttermilk
4 large eggs
1 C. granulated sugar
1 C. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 T. pure vanilla extract
1 lb. carrots, peeled, grated (3 1/2 cups packed)
2 C. chopped walnuts
1 C. sweetened, shredded coconut
1 C. drained canned crushed pineapple
1/2 C. unsalted butter, softened
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 t. grated orange zest
1 t. pure vanilla extract
4 C. (1 pound) confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 C. coconut
Liquid or paste food coloring
72 jelly beans, in assorted colors
24 red licorice or other fruit-flavored whips
Preheat the oven to 350°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 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.
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.