41 Spring-tastic Easter Cake Recipe Ideas

Slice into these seasonal treats for a sweet end to your holiday feast.

March 23, 2022
Photo by Rocky Luten

After a satisfying Easter brunch or dinner packed with lamb and ham (and all your favorite sides), the kids will likely steal away to a corner of the house, peeling open piece after piece of candy. But what about the adults? As with any good holiday meal, it’s important to end Easter on a sweet, special note. Our 41 favorite Easter cake recipes featuring beautiful pastels and family-favorite springtime flavors will draw everyone back to the table.

1. Caroline's Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is a popular choice for Easter thanks to the Easter bunny connection, but it’s also a flat-out delicious dessert that should be served year-round. This multi-layer version is everything a cake should be without too much fuss.

2. Pastiera Napoletana (Neapolitan Wheat Berry & Ricotta Easter Cake)

With whole wheat berries cooked in milk, ricotta cheese, candied citrus, orange blossom, and cinnamon, this fragrant and tender cake is a little like a pie, a little like a cheesecake, and a lot delicious. Start soaking the wheat berries a few days ahead of time to make this traditional Italian cake in time for Easter.

3. Lemon Meringue

Want to really wow your guests? Spend some time making this delicate cake and it’ll be talked about until next Easter. The towering confection layers fluffy meringue, tart lemon curd, and a creamy yogurt and pistachio filling for an explosion of textures and flavors.

4. Sweet Cream Bundt Cake

An easy cake batter is baked in a pretty bundt pan before being soaked with a mixture of melted butter, cream, and sugar. The warm cake absorbs the mixture, making it extra buttery and melt-in-your-mouth amazing.

5. Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake

A sweet-looking layer cake with a pop of color inside is ideal for an Easter dessert—plus, this cake is easy to embellish with a few drops of food coloring or fresh berries. The combination of airy lemon cake, sweet raspberry jam, and pillowy lemon frosting makes a delicate yet punchy dessert.

6. Louisa's Cake

This Italian-style cake may look a little plain compared to big, fat layer cakes, but it makes up for it in subtle flavor and pillowy texture thanks to ingredients like grated apple and ricotta cheese. Try topping with a fruit compote or curd for a nice contrast.

7. Battenberg Cake

The Battenberg checkerboard pattern of pale pink and yellow is perfectly suited for Easter, and it’s easily made ahead of time since the marzipan keeps the cake moist. There’s no need to run out and buy a special pan—use parchment to divide up your standard square cake pan into separate colors.

8. Coconut Layer Cake

This coconut cake is cloud-like, soaked with coconut and rum syrup and stacked with fluffy Swiss buttercream. A generous dusting of crisp and nutty toasted coconut flakes add a little drama and delicious crispiness to the outside.

9. Effortless Angel's Food Cake

You only need a handful of simple ingredients—cold egg whites, bleached cake flour, sugar, a squeeze of lemon—to make an angel’s food cake as light as air. Serve the tall, bright white cake with fresh berries, strawberry-rhubarb sauce, or simply as-is.

10. Fennel Honey Cake

Honey, fresh thyme, and fennel combine for a cake with a creamy, floral finish. A little lemon zest and juice along with a finishing drizzle of honey keep things fresh.

11. Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake with Meyer Lemon Whipped Cream

This rich and silky almost flourless chocolate cake is like serving a slice of truffle to each of your guests. To elevate the dessert a bit, steep Meyer lemon peels in cream before chilling and whipping. Pile on top of the cake or add a dollop to each slice.

12. Pink Champagne Cake

Real pink champagne (and a touch of food coloring) give this rosy-colored cake its signature hue and an effervescent flavor. The pink layer cake fits right into the Easter color palette, resembling a delicately dyed egg.

13. Fancy Pavlova

The Australia and New Zealand dessert pavlova meets a Swiss roll cake in this celebration-worthy recipe. The airy (but not crispy) pavlova is rolled around a mascarpone filling, chilled, and topped with berry compote before serving. Make it ahead if you like.

14. 'World's Best Cake' With Banana & Coconut

Dramatic layers of cardamom-spiked yellow cake, crisp coconut meringue, vanilla whipped cream, and sliced bananas will have everyone swooning, even after a heaping plate at your holiday meal.

15. Simnel Cake

Celebrate Easter the traditional British way with simnel cake, a dense cake filled with dried fruit, orange zest, spices, and topped with marzipan. It’s the fruit cake of Easter—feel free to prepare the cake and marzipan ahead of time and assemble before serving.

16. Chocolate-Carrot Snacking Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

For a decidedly more relaxed cake that won’t have you stacking layers and meticulously decorating but is still worthy of a holiday meal, make a snacking cake. The combination of chocolate and carrot makes for a rich, moist crumb, and swirls of cream cheese frosting certainly don’t hurt.

17. Japanese Cheesecake

With elements of both custardy cheesecake and light and airy sponge cake, Japanese cheesecake is a remarkably moist and delicious dessert. Top with a dusting of powdered sugar and some fresh fruit to make it look as fancy as it tastes.

18. Passionfruit Tres Leches Cake

Tres leches cake is the ultimate make-ahead cake since the creamy soaking liquid won’t let the dessert dry out. Adding passion fruit juice to the liquid gives the much-loved cake a fruity kick, pairing nicely with a topping of fluffy whipped cream.

19. Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Assembled in a cast-iron skillet, baked, and flipped, rhubarb upside-down cake is a colorful springtime treat. The buttery cake and tangy rhubarb are a match made in cake heaven.

20. Crêpe Cake

If layer upon layer of crêpes interspersed with a pastry cream don’t impress your Easter dinner guests, nothing will. Once you make and chill the filling and get the hang of making the crêpes, assembly goes surprisingly quickly.

21. Chocolate Bundt Cake

Incredibly moist and chocolatey, no one would guess you spent mere minutes mixing up this bundt cake. It’ll serve a crowd and look lovely doing it, especially if you dust with powdered sugar or add a drippy glaze.

22. Lemon Velvet Sheet Cake

Loaded with lemon zest, lemon juice, and crème fraiche, this easy sheet cake has a delightful fruity tang. A simple icing keeps everything tasting fresh and looking polished.

23. Salted Egg Yolk Pound Cake

Salt-cured egg yolks add a rich saltiness that heightens the sweetness and deepens the savoriness of pound cake. It’s attractive straight out of the bundt pan, and the extra eggs make it especially Easter-appropriate.

24. Chocolate Roulade

No matter which way you roll it, this chocolate roulade will disappear fast. A springy chocolate sponge cake is an excellent counterpoint to vanilla whipped cream and leaves plenty of decorating options. Try topping with a few candy-covered chocolate eggs.

25. Sweet Potato Hummingbird Cake

A hummingbird cake is the pineapple and banana sibling of carrot cake, similarly moist and slathered in cream cheese frosting. This recipe incorporates grated sweet potato and green peanuts—a real treat if you can find them.

26. 1-2-3-4 Cake with Raspberry Buttercream

A 1-2-3-4 cake is so named for the main ingredients: one cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three cups of flour, and four eggs (not in that order). A finish of fluffy raspberry buttercream makes it a beautiful, springy cake.

27. Lemon Lavender Polenta Cake

Embrace springtime with the intoxicating scent of lavender. This wonderfully moist, dense polenta cake gets a lift from a fresh lemon syrup and just enough dried lavender to give it real flavor without steering it into soap territory.

28. Coconut Caramel Sheet Cake Layer Cake

Layer cakes are all well and good, but all of the frosting and stacking can be a bit stressful, especially if you need a big enough dessert for a crowd. Try this sheet cake layer cake instead—it only takes one baking sheet to make a big, fabulous two-layer cake.

29. Surprise Inside Bunny Cake

No one will be disappointed when you bring out this unsuspecting loaf cake, but their eyes will light up when you slice into it, revealing a perfect chocolate bunny hidden inside.

30. Banana Pudding Icebox Cake

Sick of cooking for a big Easter meal? Then skip cooking dessert and assemble an icebox cake instead. This banana pudding version has all of the flavors of the classic dessert stacked into pretty layers.

31. The Walnut Variation: A Cake

This stunning cake stacks spiced, moist walnut cake topped with crisp meringue with pillowy whipped cream for a dessert that screams special. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts for crunch.

32. Carrot-Pineapple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

For an Easter dessert that tastes and looks sweet without tons of sugar, turn to apple juice concentrate and pineapple juice that is reduced down until syrupy. Two kinds of raisins help add sweetness as well, tricking your brain into thinking “sugar, sugar, sugar!”

33. Maida Heatter's Lemon Buttermilk Cake

This light, moist, lemony cake has a special intensity that will make you pucker with tons of fresh lemon juice and zest. It’s given even more flavor and moisture after soaking in a fresh lemon syrup.

34. Erin McDowell's Strawberry Not-So-Short Cake

This cake looks mighty impressive, but it’s really just three huge drop-biscuits baked in cake pans and layered with whipped cream and strawberries. That doesn’t make it any less delicious.

35. Lemon-Raspberry Skillet Pudding Cake

A full pint of raspberries plus the zest and juice of a lemon perk up this skillet cake. The crowd-friendly, casual nature of a cake like this is perfect for serving on Easter. Everyone can grab a spoon and scoop a serving, or just dig right in, no bowls needed!

36. Blackberry Cheesecake

Blackberries don’t get nearly as many accolades as their relatives like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. But their deep tart flavor and the vivid purple hue are electrifying. If Easter falls in the latter half of April (as it does this year), warm-weather berries will be starting to make their entrance onto farmers’ market stands. Stock up and bake!

37. Lemon Chiffon Layer Cake

In between mouth-puckering bites of lemon is the lightest, airiest, softest cake you may have ever tasted. And we do mean lemon: There’s a lemon chiffon cake, which is soaked in a lemon simple syrup, layered with a lemon curd filling, and frosted with lemon curd buttercream.

38. Sticky Mandarin-Vanilla Pound Cake

It’s difficult to keep track of the many different ways orange is used in this cake: There are orange liqueur, orange juice, and orange zest in the cake alone. As for the glaze, you’ll find mandarin orange segments, freshly squeezed orange juice, and more orange liqueur. It’s the brightest expression of citrus flavor that feels just right for consuming on a cheery spring day.

39. Toasted Almond Chocolate Bundt Cake

Food52’s resident baking expert Erin Jeanne McDowell came up with a brilliant way to naturally bring more almond flour to the table: by toasting the almond flour in a skillet before baking with it. Doing so brings out the nutty, slightly caramelized flavor of the almonds.

40. Grandma’s Italian Cream-Filled Sponge Cake

The trick to making a really good sponge cake is using a combination of cake flour and a lot of eggs. The eggs give the cake body and richness, without weighing it down. That’s where the cake flour comes in; with its lower protein count, it helps to create a lightweight batter that bakes up beautifully.

41. Carrot Cake Babka

For a swirly, twirly, totally fun take on carrot cake, make a loaf of babka frosted with a brown butter cream cheese glaze. “This recipe makes for a delicious (and beautiful) dessert, but it’s a wonderful breakfast or brunch treat, as well,” says recipe developer Posie (Harwood) Brien.

What's your go-to Easter cake recipe? Let us know in the comments, there's always room for more!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Laurel Randolph

Written by: Laurel Randolph

recipe developer, food writer, and cookbook author


Ellen G. March 6, 2024
I believe Simnel cake is traditionally served on the fourth Sunday of Lent, (or Mothering Sunday)
irene April 18, 2021
I have saved many of these recipes but now I am concerned about high altitude baking, will I need to add more flour, different measurements. I live at 7000ft altitude.
Carrie M. March 28, 2021
Do you have a cookbook with all of these cake recipes in one place? If so, I would love to buy a copy.