Easter brunch with its veggie-packed frittatas, sweet breads and make-ahead casseroles, and Easter dinner with its glazed hams, bright pastas and verdant sides have all been served — and happily scarfed. Now, it's time to end the holiday on the sweetest note possible — with dessert.
So, here is a roundup of our best Easter desserts. They're showstoppers. They’re easy, fun, elegant, adult- and kid-friendly. They're destined for great things, like food photo opportunities and several return visits to the buffet table from everyone attending Easter Sunday. These luscious cakes and playful confections come from some of the most talented chefs and bakers in the game, and you can bet they scream "springtime."
If you're looking for fun baking activities to get the kids involved, this roundup of Easter favorites has you covered. If you’re after simple recipes that can be eaten while people casually hang outside during the Easter egg hunt or want something more formal for an lavish sit-down dinner, there’s several fabulous recipes from which to choose. If you're on a mission to impress the in-laws with an elaborately decorated cake, these recipes’ clear instructions will make it easy to say, "No, I didn't order dessert this year, actually — I made it from scratch."
From cute cookies to buttery bars, spring pies to decadent puddings, and fruit-forward tortes to moist cakes, this comprehensive list of the best Easter desserts will wow everyone … yes, even the Easter bunny.
Easter cakes (and cupcakes)
This is a recipe that Lidia Bastianich's grandmother used to make. It's simple, delicious and can be dressed up in any number of ways — including with poached or sautéed fruit.
"This is my dad's favorite recipe, and it's easy to see why: It's full of flavor like a carrot cake, has a tight crumb like a pound cake, and it comes together quickly and easily," says Vallery Lomas.
Sweet layers of strawberry jam and soft whipped cream in between layers of zesty orange blossom sponge cake layers are a refreshing flavor combination for those looking to make a more unique kind of cake. Top it with citrus to amp up the tangy element or with juicy berries for a strawberry shortcake vibe.
What's up, doc? Just this incredibly cute bunny cake! This impressive and adorable dessert is sure to wow kids and grown-ups alike. It may seem intimidating, but the recipe offers straightforward directions to help any home baker master the cake's decorative interior.
This recipe is a deconstruction of the Almond Joy, reassembled in the best possible way. One bite of this cake, coated in a decadent chocolate fudge sauce and adorned in almonds, and you’ll be hooked. It’s the fabulous little candy all grown up.
Carrot cake is an Easter staple. Serve this gently spiced dessert with walnuts, raisins, coconut and pineapple — or keep it simple with only shredded carrots in the batter. Either way, it's a guaranteed treat, especially when each slice gets a generous layer of cream cheese frosting.
Making a show-stopping dessert for Easter doesn't have to be hard. With just a few store-bought goodies like jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and marshmallows, Sandra Lee transforms pre-made cakes into adorable desserts. These recipes are also perfect for getting the kids involved.
"This cake is a tribute to good ol'-fashioned gooey rolls: soft and full like fluffy pillows, piping hot out of the oven, entwined with ribbons of spiced cinnamon sugar, sticky with dripping cream cheese icing," says Jocelyn Delk Adams. "If ever one could capture the magic and decadence of cinnamon rolls in a cake, without the intimidating yeast, I think I have."
Hosting Easter takes a lot of planning and hard work in the kitchen and around the house. Once you've tackled the menu for Easter brunch or dinner, why not make dessert the simple part? A box of yellow cake mix is the secret behind this incredibly easy coffee cake that will be a win whichever meal it comes after.
Pre-made cookies and store-bought ice cream make a lovely and refreshing dessert. Assemble it ahead of time and let it chill in the freezer until you're ready to dig in. The pretty pink colors will also look great with other goodies guests may bring.
All you need is coconut, food coloring and marshmallow bunnies to turn a batch of basic chocolate cupcakes into these adorable Easter treats.
With the oven likely filled with ham, roast asparagus and everything else, whip this no-bake cake up in only 20 minutes. Featuring fresh fruits, rich golden cookies and homemade coconut whipped cream, this make-ahead icebox cake is the perfect dessert for spring.
This moist, wonderfully spiced carrot cake makes it easy for everyone to enjoy a rich dessert, whether they eat vegan or gluten-free. Decorated with gorgeous floral frosting, it will become a go-to confection for all the carrot cake lovers out there.
If lamb cake isn't already an Easter tradition in your household, once you see the look on the kids' faces when this darling creation is revealed, it's sure to become one.
The trick to an utterly delicious macaroon base is to combine the coconut with melted marshmallows before baking. Since marshmallows are a great setting agent, you can use them for the filling, too, so there is no need to bake it again. The zesty lime curd adds just the right amount of tanginess to create a perfectly balanced dessert.
Everyone loves the Easter bunny. How about a bunch of little Easter bunnies you can eat? Yes, please! This recipe cuts corners with store-bought cupcakes so the decorating part is all that's left. It's a kid-friendly project that results in dessert that can be eaten while hunting for Easter eggs.
Like a cloud floating through the sky on a beautiful spring day, this chocolate-coconut cake is like a fluffy dream. On the inside are two dense layers of chocolate cake, surrounded by a white marshmallow frosting and shredded coconut.
A dense, lemony confection, this cake reminds us of spring and the end of winter. It's easy to throw together and make fancy with swirls of icing and twirly lemon rinds.
This cake captures all the vibrant colors and fresh flavors of spring in every sweet bite. The festive flowers and lemon-scented cake and frosting make it bright, citrusy and delicious.
This one bowl, one-layer carrot cake is the perfect "mix-and-bake" dessert for novices and skilled bakers alike. It's packed full of flavor from cozy spices like cinnamon and vanilla, and it's also got texture from toasty nuts.
Easter cookies, pastries, pies and other confections
This recipe is so easy to assemble, uses any fruit in season and you can flavor it with any liquor you like. It's a light, bright, perfectly portioned way to end a meal.
Martha Stewart combines baking and crafts with these cute cookies. Have little ones help decorate the treats with sanding sugar, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips and candy. Then share them with your peeps (get it?) after Easter dinner.
An orange zest, vanilla and cardamom glaze add incredible fragrant flavor to this sweet, celebratory bread that is a tradition on many tables at Easter time. The sprinkles on top also add color and make it feel extra festive.
The torte happily lives up to its billing as one of The New York Times archives' most requested recipes. It's crusty and light, with deep wells of slackened, sugar-glazed plums. It may very well be a nearly perfect recipe. There are only eight ingredients, all of which, except for the plums, you probably already have in your kitchen.
Duff Goldman swears by this versatile recipe and it's the one he uses for the blondies at all of his bakeries. They're buttery, sweet and made from just seven easy-to-find ingredients.
These nests are so simple to make and make a fun project for both kids and adults. The classic combo of peanut butter and chocolate can't be beat, while the salt from the pretzels amplifies both. These nests can also be used as decoration for any spring celebration.
Meringue clouds are light as air and adding raspberry takes them to another level, both aesthetically and flavor-wise. The berries help balance the meringue, which is basically like crispy sugar, from being too sweet, too.
These soft cookie sandwiches are packed with all the same flavors as a slice of cream cheese-frosted carrot cake in an easy handheld package that's perfect for entertaining on Easter Sunday.
Jocelyn Delk Adams loves serving flowerpot brownies for Easter because they are a sweet and festive way to end the meal. They also double as décor on the holiday table — cutting your to-do list in half!
These uniquely flavored, elegant cookies are astonishingly simple to make and taste truly special. And you can make the dough well in advance and freeze it. Even the baked cookies freeze well. We love a recipe that can be prepped ahead.
One of the best things about spring is having nature's pastel colors bloom back to life. These cereal treats include several of them in one tasty dessert. They are so easy to make and welcome little hands.
Key lime pies are an iconic American dessert. But they're not always so easy to make. They've got to be decadent but light, cool and creamy … and this one has it all!
This pudding is incredibly easy and perfect for any event, from an Easter brunch to summertime entertaining. It looks stunning when presented in a footed-glass trifle dish, so everyone can see the lovely layers. The best part? It can be made ahead and refrigerated — and it may be even more delicious the next day.
This traditional Neapolitan-style Easter dessert is the perfect marriage between cheesecake and rice pudding. It's a wonderful choice for those who want to balance out the other saccharine offerings on the table.
It just wouldn't be spring baking season without strawberries and rhubarb. Siri Daly combines the two classic and complementary ingredients to make this easy, seasonal dessert. She tops the sweet and tart fruits with toasty oats and warm cinnamon to add a perfectly crisp topping.
For those who love a bit of tartness in their sweets, Key lime pie is a timeless favorite. Jocelyn Delk Adams shares how to make it with a homemade graham cracker crust and raspberry jam, which brings the confection from fine to fabulous.
Bread pudding is one of our favorite desserts to make because it's not overly sweet, and once you have the basic recipe, you can change the fruits and flavorings based on whatever you have on hand.
During spring and summer, you can bet on an abundance of fresh fruit. Instead of letting extra stone fruits and berries go to waste, put them to use in this delicious tart. The flavors will blend together seamlessly and guests will definitely be impressed.
It wouldn't be Easter without sweet bread to dip into coffee first thing Easter morning and stirred into chamomile last thing on Easter night.