Easter treats and desserts - the best recipes to try
From chocolate to hot cross buns to simnel cake, Easter treats should always placate your sweet tooth. So whether you're catering for a large group or having a party for one, here are our best gransnetter-approved Easter recipes to try at home.
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Hot cross bun recipes
We believe that the hot cross bun should be an Easter treat for all to enjoy. But what about the raisin-haters? The sugar-sceptics? Or those who simply want something different this Easter? We've got two alternative recipes you can try - and if you want to stay traditional, you can find the original recipe here.
Low-sugar hot cross bun recipe
Your mantra is 'sugar is the enemy', but come April, it can be oh-so-difficult to say no to the sweet stuff and find healthy Easter treats. Luckily, this gransnetter's recipe has got you covered and while it may be lacking in sugar, it certainly packs a punch when it comes to flavour.
Ingredients (makes 12)
- 10g of Splenda (or another sweetener of choice)
- 1 level tbsp dried yeast
- 450g plain flour
- 1 level tsp salt
- 1 rounded tsp mixed spice
- 75g currants
- 50g cut mixed peel
- 40-55ml warmed milk
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 50g butter (melted)
For the glaze
- 2 level tbsp granulated sugar
- Stir a very small amount of sugar (less than half a teaspoon) and the sweetener into 10 tablespoons of warm water, then sprinkle in the dried yeast and leave it until a frothy head forms.
- Sift the flour, salt and mixed spice into a large bowl and add the remaining sugar, plus the currants and mixed peel. Then make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture, the remaining warm milk, the beaten egg, and the melted butter.
- Mix it to a dough, starting with a wooden spoon and finishing with your hands - add a little more milk if required.
- Transfer the dough to a clean surface and knead it until smooth – this usually takes about 6 minutes. Pop the dough back into the bowl, cover it with a lightly oiled plastic bag, and leave it in a warm place to rise – it will take about an hour to double its original size. Then turn it out and knead it again, back down to its original size.
- Divide the mixture into 12 round portions, arrange them on the greased baking sheet (allowing plenty of room for expansion), and make a deep cross on each bun with a sharp knife. Leave them to rise once more, covering again with the oiled polythene bag, for about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas mark 7.
- Remove the bag and bake the buns for about 15 minutes. Then, while they're cooking, melt the granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of water for the glaze over a gentle heat and brush the buns with it as soon as they come out of the oven to make them nice and sticky.
Chocolate hot cross bun recipe
Not a fan of raisins? Try hot cross buns with chocolate chips instead for a delicious easy-to-make Easter treat. A firm family favourite, they'll be going like, well, hot cakes...
Ingredients (makes 12)
- 450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1½ tsp mixed spice
- 50g butter
- 75g of chocolate chips
- 50g chopped mixed peel
- 7g sachet of 1½ tsp fast-action dried yeast
- 100ml warm water
- 100ml warm milk
- 1 egg (beaten)
For the decoration
- 100g ready-made shortcrust pastry
- 100g plain flour mixed with 3 tbsp water to give a dough
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice (strained through a sieve)
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- Sift the flour, salt, cinnamon and mixed spice into a large bowl and rub in the butter.
- Stir in the chocolate, mixed peel and yeast. Make a well in the centre and pour in the water, milk and beaten egg. Mix this together with an electronic mixer to form a sticky dough, then knead on a floured surface for 8 to 10 minutes (or for 5 minutes in the machine on a low speed) until it is smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough in a large bowl, greased lightly with oil, cover with a slightly damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.
- Knock back the dough by pressing the air out of it and knead for a couple of minutes. Divide into 12 equal sized pieces and shape into round buns.
- Place on 1 or 2 large greased baking sheets, leaving enough space between each bun for rising. Cover with the tea towel and leave to rise again until doubled in size, which will take about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6.
- While the buns are rising, roll out the pastry or flour dough thinly and cut out 24 thin strips, 0.5 x 7.5cm for the decoration.
- Brush the risen buns with the beaten egg and lay 2 strips of the pastry or dough onto each bun to form a cross in the middle. Brush with the egg and place in the oven. Cook for 15 to 18 minutes until golden and hollow sounding when tapped underneath.
- Whilst the buns are cooking, place the orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan and gently heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- As soon as the buns are out of the oven, brush with the glaze and eat straight away or leave to cool on a wire rack and serve toasted with butter.
Made a few too many hot cross buns? Why not try making this delicious hot cross bread and butter pudding to use up the leftovers?
Easter chocolate recipes
Easter eggs are a spring staple - but why stop there? Maximise the indulgence this weekend with our favourite chocolate recipes - total satisfaction guaranteed.
Hazelnut chocolate Easter cake recipe
Go nuts for this tasty treat which is bound to be a real crowd-pleaser. Be warned, however, 'just one slice' can quickly turn into three...
- 200g hazelnuts
- 300g softened butter
- 300g caster sugar
- 6 eggs
- 150g self-raising flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla flavour
- 4 ½ tbsp milk
For the buttercream
- 100g softened butter
- 2 tbsp cocoa
- 250g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla flavour
- 2 tsp milk
For the topping
- 60ml water
- 3 tbsp golden syrup
- 60g caster sugar
- 80g dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4 and line 2 cake tins.
- Toast the nuts for 20 minutes then lower the oven temp to 160°C/Gas mark 3.
- Grind nuts in food processor, beat the sugar and butter until fluffy, then beat in the eggs and ground nuts. Fold in the flour, baking powder and soda, and gently stir in vanilla and milk.
- Divide the mix between the 2 tins and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack.
- To make the buttercream, beat the butter, cocoa, icing sugar and vanilla, and add milk according to texture. Sandwich both cakes together with the buttercream.
- For the topping, place the water, syrup and sugar into a small pan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, break the chocolate up and add to the pan.
- Whisk until it forms a smooth glaze and pour over the top of the (fully cooled down) cake.
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Chocolate Easter nest recipe
Planning on baking your easter desserts with grandchildren this year? Simple yet scrumptious, chocolate nests will go down a real treat and are a perfect way to use up leftover Easter eggs (if such a thing even exists).
Ingredients (makes 12)
- 225g milk chocolate (30% cocoa solids)
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 50g butter
- 75g cornflakes
- 24 to 36 mini eggs
- Place 12 paper cases on a tray or in a 12 hole bun tray.
- Heat the chocolate, syrup and butter in a pan over a low heat until melted. Stir until blended.
- Gently stir in the cornflakes and mix until well coated.
- Spoon into the paper cases and place 2 to 3 mini eggs in the centre of each. Chill until set.
Easter chocolate carrot cake recipe
Fancy giving easter baking a go? Try this tasty chocolate carrot cake. Topped with Lindt bunnies and mini eggs this is a delicious treat for all the family.
- 2 eggs
- 200ml vegetable oil
- 200g dark chocolate (melted)
- 80g dark brown sugar
- 250g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 200g grated carrot
- 70g walnut (chopped)
- 200g cream cheese
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 100g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp grated carrots
- 150g dark chocolate (melted and made into shapes)
- Roasted mixed whole nuts
- Icing sugar for dusting
- Grease and line a 6 inch round cake tin.
- Whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in the oil and melted chocolate and mix well, then mix in the carrots and all the dried ingredients.
- Transfer the cake mixture to the prepared cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes at 180°C/Gas mark 4. Cool on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, make the chocolate shapes. Spread half of the melted chocolate on greaseproof paper and leave to cool. Cut out the shapes using a knife or pastry cutters.
- Place the other half of the chocolate into a paper cone. Draw the shapes using a template on greaseproof paper. Pipe round the shapes with the chocolate in the paper cone and leave to cool.
- To make the topping, mix the cream cheese, lemon juice and icing sugar together. Spread the cream on top of the (cooled down) cake.
- Decorate with roast mixed nuts, chocolate shapes and grated carrots, and dust with icing sugar.
Simnel cake recipe
We couldn't forget this traditional Easter food, could we? When it comes to easter cakes, this staple should be at the top of your list (closely followed by chocolate, of course...).
- 560g ready-made almond paste/marzipan
- 450g dried mixed fruits (currants, raisins, sultanas, glace cherries)
- 80g candied chopped peel
- 225g (8 oz) all purpose/plain flour
- Pinch salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 175g butter
- 175g fine/caster sugar
- 3 large eggs (beaten)
- Milk to mix
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
- Heat the oven to 170°C/Gas mark 3 and line an 18cm cake tin with parchment or greaseproof paper.
- Divide the almond paste into 3, take 1 portion and roll it to a round the size of the cake tin.
- In a large baking bowl, mix the mixed dried fruits and peel with the flour, salt and spices.
- In another large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the beaten egg to the butter mixture a little bit at a time, beating well after each addition - do not try to rush this process as the mixture could curdle. If it does curdle, simply add a tbsp of the flour and mix again; this should bring the mixture back together.
- Carefully fold in half the flour and half the fruit into the egg and butter mixture. Once incorporated, repeat with the remaining flour and fruit.
- Put half of the cake mixture into the tin, then smooth and cover with the round of almond paste. Put the remaining cake mixture into the tin and smooth the surface carefully. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour.
- Lower the heat to 150°C/Gas mark 2 and bake for 3 hours until the cake is golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
- Roll out the last third of the almond paste equally into 11 tiny balls.
- Once the cake is completely cool, remove from the tin, brush the top of the cake with apricot jam and cover it with the disc of almond paste. Place the 11 tiny balls of paste evenly around the edge. Brush the paste all over with a little apricot jam and place under a hot grill until lightly browned.
- The cake can then be decorated as you wish with tiny Easter eggs or any other Easter theme.
Have your own delicious dish or baking ideas to share? Add them to our recipe library...