3cupsshredded carrots(about 2 large or 3 small-medium)
3/4cupwalnuts or pecanstoasted and roughly chopped, plus additional for topping the cupcakes
3/4cupshredded sweetened coconutyou will need 1 and 1/2 cups total if preparing coconut cream cheese frosting below
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
2/3cupreduced fat cream cheeseor Neufchatel, at room temperature
2tablespoonsunsalted butterat room temperature
2 1/2cupspowdered sugar
1teaspoonpure vanilla extract
1/8teaspoonpure almond extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin(s) with paper liners or lightly coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer or a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg, egg whites, brown sugar, and canola oil.
Add the carrots and beat for 1 minute. Add the pineapple and 3/4 shredded coconut and beat until incorporated.
With a wooden spoon, stir in half of the flour mixture, just until incorporated. Stir in buttermilk. Add the remaining flour mixture, continuing to stir in by hand, just until combined. Gently fold in walnuts.
Fill prepared tins 3/4 of the way with batter. Bake 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Gently remove cupcakes from tin and let cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in vanilla and almond extracts. Reduce speed to low, then gradually add the powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time, beating just until combined. Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes, then top with chopped pecans or walnuts. Serve and enjoy!
To Store. Cover frosted cupcakes in an air-tight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.To Freeze. Unfrosted cupcakes may be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months. Prior to freezing, wrap each individual cupcake tightly with plastic wrap.To Thaw. Transfer frozen, wrapped cupcakes to the refrigerator to defrost overnight. Decorate, as desired.