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5 festive Easter dessert recipes: Cute cupcakes, healthy carrot cake and more!

Your Easter basket may be filled with chocolate and candy, but that doesn't mean you should skip dessert.
/ Source: TODAY

Your Easter basket may be filled with chocolate and candy, but that doesn’t mean you should skip dessert. Celebrate the holiday — and the long-awaited arrival of spring — with one or more festive sweets. If there are children at your gathering, you can’t go wrong with cute sugar cookie Easter egg nests or Easter egg cupcakes. Both recipes are made with candy, so they’re guaranteed to please the kids. For more sophisticated crowds, whip up elegant raspberry and vanilla bean cream tarts or a luscious lemon ricotta cheesecake. Carrot cake will please everyone at the table — and this is a lighter take on the classic recipe, so you can indulge and still have room for a few bites from that Easter basket.

Lovely Little Kitchen
Jo-Anna Rooney / A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

2. Raspberry and vanilla bean cream tarts: There’s something so special about serving individual desserts, and these raspberry-topped tartlets are guaranteed to impress your Easter guests. The recipe is designed for 3-inch tart pans, but you can make one large 10-inch tart if you prefer. And feel free to swap in different fruit, including fresh blueberries, bananas, strawberries, kiwi or even a colorful combination of your favorites.

Amy Atherton / Amy's Healthy Baking

3. Classic carrot cake: Carrots aren’t just for bunnies! This lightened-up carrot cake calls for nonfat Greek yogurt in place of some of the oil that would be used in a traditional carrot cake — the swap cuts down on fat and calories, and makes for a wonderfully moist and tender cake. Skip the pre-shredded carrots available at supermarkets — they’re too dry for this recipe. Instead, use a food processor to quickly and easily grate fresh carrots.

Melanie Dueck / Garnish & Glaze

4. White chocolate Easter egg cupcakes: These darling cupcakes feature a bird’s nest decoration made with shaved chocolate and mini chocolate eggs. You can bake regular-sized cupcakes, but if you opt for mini versions, they can be presented in an egg carton, which is perfect for Easter. The frosting is a snap to whip up, and thanks to cream cheese and white chocolate, it’s irresistibly rich and creamy.

Related: More amazing Easter cupcakes

Ashley Manila / Baker by Nature

5. Lemon ricotta cheesecake: A combination of lemon juice and zest gives this creamy ricotta cheesecake tons of bright citrus flavor. And if you’re a cheesecake novice, the recipe offers easy, step-by-step instructions to help guide you through the baking process. The graham cracker crust is classic but feel free to experiment with different cookies, including ginger snaps or vanilla wafers.

This article was originally published Mar. 25, 2015 at 3:57 p.m. ET.