The joy of the Easter season is throwing off winter’s grip and inviting bright colours, fresh flavours and a little extra sweetness to your table. These easy desserts will help you bring all that springtime goodness to your Easter celebration, from pretty pastel meringues ready in under an hour to all-star cheesecake recipes everybody loves. Plus, there’s even a fun job for kids waiting in each of these desserts.
Ready in: 1 hour 30 minutes
Why we love it: With their sunny colour and bright lemon flavour, these fluffy cheesecake bars sing of spring. We also love that they’re completely make-ahead and keep up to five days in the fridge, so you can check “Easter dessert” off your to-do list well in advance.
How kids can help: Toddlers and up can help press the graham crust into the bottom of the pan, while bigger kids can swirl the lemon curd spread into the topping.
Ready in: 2 hours 30 minutes
Why we love it: Hiding Easter eggs into an iconic Canadian treat is next-level genius. But did you know classic Nanaimo bars are also a pretty simple, no-bake dessert? All you need is an electric beater, a stovetop and a fridge to help them set.
How kids can help: Little ones can stir together the bottom layer ingredients and press them into the pan. Then they’ll love the next step: pressing halved crème eggs into the bottom layer and hiding them under the custard cream.
Ready in: 55 minutes
Why we love it: Mayonnaise. No, really—it’s the honest secret to melt-in-your-mouth cake that doesn’t feel greasy or oily. And then there’s the cream cheese frosting, which for some is the best part of carrot cake.
How kids can help: Cakes and kids are a great combo. Let them measure and combine the dry ingredients. After you’ve incorporated the wet ingredients with the electric beater, they can use their big muscles to stir the carrots, pineapple and walnuts into the thick batter.
Ready in: 2 hours 45 minutes
Why we love it: Using dried cranberries instead of the traditional mix of raisins, currants and other fruits usually found in hot cross buns makes this modern version way more kid-friendly. Plus, the dough is easily kneaded by hand in just five minutes—no special baking equipment required.
How kids can help: Bigger kids can heat the milk in the microwave and use a digital thermometer to check the temperature, which needs to be 110˚F. All kids love the feel of dough, which they can help to knead at almost any age.
Ready in: 45 minutes
Why we love it: Beyond how cute these crisp-and-chewy meringues are, Easter treats do not get any easier (or faster!). Just mix four ingredients, pipe with a resealable plastic bag, and bake. Grab a bunch of jelly powders in a rainbow of colours for a bright and beautiful dessert table.
How kids can help: Separating eggs from whites is a culinary rite of passage. Whether you use the hand method, the shell method, or have an egg separator, preschoolers and up can hone this essential skill.
Ready in: 3 hours 15 minutes
Why we love it: Braided Easter bread is time-honoured tradition among Greek and Italian families, and we love this updated version with mini chocolate eggs tucked in at the end of baking (instead of raw eggs baked right into the bread). You will need a stand mixer with a dough hook, but quick-rise yeast makes this an ideal morning project that’s done by lunchtime.
How kids can help: School-age kids (especially those learning fractions) can help divide the dough into six, then divide each one again into three long ropes for braiding. Then they get to show off their braiding skills. Preschoolers can help press mini eggs into the fresh-cooked loaves.
Ready in: 6 hours 20 minutes
Why we love it: In just 20 minutes, you can whip up this zingy cheesecake. It’ll need a few hours in the fridge to firm up, so it’s best made the day before you serve it. This lip-smacking no-bake dessert does not hold back, with three packages of cream cheese. Save some room after Easter dinner!
How kids can help: Bigger kids with dexterity can help squeeze out all the fresh lime juice, and if they can safely do so, zest the peel. Pressing the graham cracker crust into a pie plate (and most critically up the sides) is a job for kids large and small.
Ready in: 45 minutes
Why we love it: There’s something comforting about vanilla cupcakes, and with this straightforward recipe even inexperienced bakers can confidently bake up a dozen for their Easter table. Rainbow sprinkles inside and out make them fun and festive, too.
How kids can help: This recipe calls for mixing the batter in three stages, so school-age kids can help measure and pour the flour and milk while you incorporate the batter. Then the best part: stirring in the sprinkles. Younger kids can decorate finished iced cupcakes with extra sprinkles.
Ready in: 5 hours 25 minutes
Why we love it: Part no-bake square, part cream pie, this old-timey dessert is bound to make a big comeback with its fluffy cream cheese centre topped with pineapple-studded whipped cream over a crumbly graham crust. You can also make this dreamy dessert a day in advance.
How kids can help: The recipe recommends crushing your own graham crackers—an ideal job for kids! Place crackers in a large, sealable plastic bag and let kids gently tap them with a rolling pin, their fists, or other hard object. (Just be careful not to punch a hole in the bag.)
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