21 Easter Dessert Ideas You'll Want to Make Again and Again

Spiced Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Frosting
Photo: Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Kathleen Cook Varner

Our favorite Easter desserts range from moist, cream cheese-frosted Spiced Carrot Cake to timeless Grand Marnier Soufflé and Plum Galette. And if you haven't finalized your menu yet, we have plenty of ideas from which you can choose. Want something easy? Go for Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. In the mood for citrus? Sicilian Orange Bundt Cake is a few clicks away. Read on for those recipes, and even more Easter dessert ideas.

01 of 21

Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Layers of delicate flavors from lemon, honey, and extra-virgin olive oi­l—which helps keep the cake moist and imparts mild fruitiness—come together in a one-bowl batter. Stacked with a fluffy and rich lemon–cream cheese frosting, this easy layer cake is a keeper for Easter celebrations to come. Be sure the butter and cream cheese are softened for the smoothest frosting.

02 of 21

Vanilla-Scented Cornmeal Cake with Olive Oil Buttercream

Cornmeal Cake with Olive Oil Buttercream
Sam Aguirre-Kelly

Pastry chef Bronwen Wyatt's rich, elegant cake is perfect for Easter. You can simply spread the buttercream frosting to cover it, swirling for a little flair, or follow Wyatt's decorating tips by using a pastry bag to form ruffles and squiggles with the buttercream. Top the cake with edible decorations of your choice, such as flowers, fruits, and herbs. If using flowers, make sure that they're safe to eat and not sprayed with pesticides.

03 of 21

Strawberry Tiramisu

Strawberry Tiramisu
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Heather Chadduck Hillegas

In this sunny take on tiramisu, coffee and chocolate are swapped out for bright, zesty orange and ripe strawberries. A touch of balsamic vinegar, orange liqueur, sugar, and jam deepens the flavor of the berries without overpowering it, while orange zest brightens layers of mascarpone cream.

04 of 21

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake with Orange Zest

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Tender pieces of tart rhubarb balance perfectly with the brown-sugar topping of this vanilla- and orange-scented cake. Baking the cake in a cast-iron skillet helps the rhubarb caramelize, creating an unfussy but beautiful topping. To make the cake shine even more, serve it with softly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

05 of 21

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta with Honey-Glazed Apricots

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta with Honey-Glazed Apricots

Kate Neumann describes this cool, delicate dessert as "just fruit and cream, barely sweetened. It has the qualities of custard without the egginess. Greek yogurt makes it wonderfully tangy." She tops the panna cotta with dried apricots that she's plumped in wine and honey, often adding a scattering of crunchy, salty toasted almonds or pistachios.

06 of 21

Moscato Pound Cake with Grape Glaze

Moscato Pound Cake with Grape Glaze
Photo by Jessica Pettway / Food Styling by Micah Morton / Prop Styling by Paola Andrea

Moscato gives this cake a lighter, more tender crumb than a typical pound cake while also imparting a subtle sweetness. Freeze-dried grapes bring vibrant color to the glaze. If you like, you can substitute lime juice in place of Moscato in the glaze for a brighter pink color.

07 of 21

Maria Cookie Icebox Cake

Maria Cookies Icebox Cake
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Pastry chef Paola Velez transforms toasty, slightly sweet Maria cookies into an icebox cake layered with a sweetly spiced cream filling, topped with luscious dulce de leche, and festooned with strawberries and flowers. Can't find Maria cookies? Any variety of thin, crunchy cookies will work here. This cake tastes best when it has a night in the fridge.

08 of 21

Lemon Meringue Pie with Marcona Shortbread Crust

lemon meringue pie
Jennifer Causey

"The filling, which I chill in an ice bath before it goes into the crust, sets in lightning speed," cookbook author and Food & Wine Cooks contributor Ann Taylor Pittman says. "And the meringue, which does not need to bake, is ready to enjoy as soon as it's whipped up—because when you want lemon pie, you want it now."

09 of 21

Sour Cherry Cheesecake Trifle with Black Pepper and Saba

Sour Cherry-Cheesecake Trifle with Black Pepper and Saba
Christopher Testani

Pastry chef Pichet Ong's rendition of a proper British trifle retains the classic form while reinventing the components. Cheesecake stands in for egg custard; pound cake replaces the ladyfingers. Rather than sherry, Ong's trifle uses saba, a syrup made from cooking down grape must, which has a flavor similar to balsamic vinegar. For a seasonal update on this trifle, swap in strawberries for sour cherries.

10 of 21

Plum Galette

Plum Galette
© Con Poulos

This tart is a favorite dessert at chef Jacques Pépin's house. You can make it with any seasonal fruit, such as rhubarb, peaches, cherries, apricots, or apples. The dough is buttery, flaky and very forgiving. And it comes together in 10 seconds in a food processor.

11 of 21

Cornmeal Cake Trifle with Sabayon and Candied Kumquats

Cornmeal Cake Trifle with sabayon and candied kumquats
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

This stunning collaboration between pastry chef Kelly Fields and baking legend Claudia Fleming has many delicious components, most of which can be made ahead. Layers of crumbly cornmeal cake and fresh and candied citrus float on billowy drifts of barely boozy sabayon, topped with sweet, crisp peaks of toasted Italian meringue. A masterpiece of technique and flavor, the flavor of the Prosecco will come through strongly in the sabayon, so choose a quality bottle.

12 of 21

Grand Marnier Soufflé

Grand Marnier Souffle
Greg DuPree

In 2018, Food & Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best: In the inaugural issue of Food & Wine, legendary chef Jacques Pépin shared his recipe for the perfect soufflé. This ethereal recipe is as good today as it was in 1978, showing that some dishes are simply timeless.

13 of 21

Carrot and Orange Cake with Sour Cream Glaze

Carrot Cake Recipe
Antonis Achilleos

"My Carrot-and-Orange Cake with Sour Cream Glaze celebrates the way oranges trigger our senses," cookbook author Nik Sharma says. He notes that dried apricots and candied orange peel bring sweetness to the cake, which also gets texture from the addition of pistachios.

14 of 21

Spiced Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Spiced Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Frosting
Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Kathleen Cook Varner

A warming blend of cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg brings festive flavor to cookbook author Hetal Vasavada's tender, moist cake studded with golden raisins and crunchy pistachios. Brown butter ghee does double duty here — it enriches and flavors the cake batter, and the caramelized milk fat leftover from making it adds a nutty flavor to the cream cheese frosting.

15 of 21

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Rhubarb Coffee Cake
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

This streusel-topped rhubarb coffee cake is a standout. With a tender, springy crumb, the cake is the perfect match for the rosy, tart rhubarb on top. The addition of buttermilk lends tanginess and richness to the cake batter, while the rhubarb gets macerated in sugar before baking, softening the fibrous stalks into a deliciously jammy texture.

16 of 21

Fun and Fancy Macarons

Holiday Macarons
Photo by Sarah Crowder / Food Styling by Drew Aichele

To add an extra-festive holiday touch to macarons, pastry chef Paola Velez paints them with several different colors of edible shimmering luster dust. As for the filling? Pick from homemade dark chocolate ganache, or store-bought holiday jam, apple butter, or firm caramel sauce. The macarons can be made in advance and frozen; wait to fill until ready to serve.

17 of 21

Black Currant Cheesecake

Black Currant Cheesecake Recipe
Victor Protasio

This vibrant purple cheesecake, flecked with bits of fruit, sits in a sweet, buttery crust and gets topped with juicy, syrupy macerated currants. Folding egg whites into the batter creates a light, fluffy texture. Recipe adapted from Beyond The North Wind by Darra Goldstein.

18 of 21

Sicilian Orange Bundt Cake

Sicilian Orange Bundt Cake
Aubrie Pick

This light cake is something Sicilian grandmothers often serve for tea. Perfect for dessert after Easter brunch or dinner, this cake can be made up to three days in advance. For a tender cake with a light crumb, be careful not to overmix the flour into the batter.

19 of 21

Labneh Panna Cotta with Orange Blossom Granita

Labneh Panna Cotta with Orange Blossom Granita Recipe
Tara Donne

This dessert is all about contrast in temperature, texture, and flavor. Smooth and creamy panna cotta is paired with a lightly floral, lightly sweet granita for an icy, cool bite. A base of tangy, tart apricot jam and a garnish of crispy crumbled toasted baguette finishes off each plate.

20 of 21

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie
© Christina Holmes

Every part of this fluffy pie from pastry chef Kierin Baldwin has coconut: the crust, the filling and the topping.

21 of 21

Brown Butter, Radicchio, and Parsnip Cake

Brown Butter Radicchio And Parsnip Cake
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

With warm spiciness from nutmeg, a satisfyingly crunchy top, and beautiful flecks of parsnip and radicchio, this bundt cake makes a case for being served for either breakfast or dessert—and the leftovers taste even better the next day.

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