2 cups sifted powdered sugar (I sift it usually 3-4 times)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons sour cream
1 cup toasted pecan pieces, optional
1 cup green sweetened shredded coconut, optional, recipe below
Small jelly beans, optional
For colored coconut: Place one cup sweetened coconut in Ziploc bag or bowl. Add a tiny amount of green food coloring and knead or stir until coconut is desired color. Dry on wax paper. Add additional food coloring if the color is not dark enough by dropping 1 or 2 drops into the bag at a time. If the color is too dark, add additional coconut and mix well. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, beat eggs, oil and syrup. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in grated carrots.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to cooling racks. Frost cupcakes and then sprinkle each with the shredded colored coconut. Decorate with a few jelly beans. Refrigerate if not eating immediately. Makes 18-24 cupcakes.
For frosting: In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar one cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Add sour cream and vanilla extract. Beat well. Fold in toasted pecans, if using.
Note: You can make this into a cake by using cake pan (s) instead of muffin tins; be sure to increase the baking time. Plus, you can substitute one cup of whole wheat flour if desired.
Note: If using a blender or food processor to grate carrots, be sure to drain any juice and dry carrots with a paper towel if needed.