1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups shredded carrots
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, well drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature, for the frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, for the frosting
2 eggs 1 pound (about 4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, for the frosting
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, for the frosting
Green food coloring
Orange paste coloring (or a couple drops red and yellow food coloring)
Chopped walnuts or pecans, for decorating, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 18 cups in two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
Beat the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla together in a large bowl by hand, or with a mixer on medium speed. Stir in the carrots and pineapple.
Blend in the flour mixture, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Stir in the walnuts and divide the batter among the muffin cups.
Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes to a rack and cool completely.
To prepare the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until creamy. Stir in the vanilla.
To decorate the cupcakes, frost each one with a thick layer of frosting. Sprinkle lightly with a thin layer of chopped nuts, if using.
Color 1/2 cup of the leftover frosting green, and then color all the remaining frosting bright orange. Spoon each color into a ziplock bag and snip off one corner with scissors to make a narrow slit.
On top of each cupcake, pipe zigzag lines of orange to shape a carrot, and pipe a few radiating lines of green to make the leafy fronds.