Easter baking ideas to delight
Whip up delicious cakes for Easter with these easy-to-follow recipes and our expert guide to the most useful baking kit
Easter is almost upon us and despite the fact that it’s going to be another quiet one, celebrated with immediate family and friends, there’s still plenty of joy to be had in food preparation (including the classic Easter roast). Baking is a great activity to enjoy with the whole family. Here, we’ve selected three delicious cakes from Waitrose & Partners’ Easter recipes to suit all baking abilities. We’ve also spoken to baking experts – including food editors, master patissiers and celebrity cake makers – to find out what baking kit they’d struggle to live without and pick up some tips along the way. Want to make the most of your time at home? Take a look at our guide on how to make your home extra-special this Easter. Enjoy!
The perfect Easter treat, and so easy to make – follow the simple recipe for gorgeously chocolatey sponges, then top with our ready-made chocolate icing and a Mini Creme Egg.
Preparation time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes, plus cooling
100g unsalted butter, softened
175g caster sugar
3 British Blacktail Free Range Eggs
75ml whole milk
150g self-raising flour ½ tsp fine salt
25g Cadbury Bournville Cocoa Powder
400g tub Cooks’ Ingredients Tanzanian Chocolate Icing
2 x 89g pack Cadbury Mini Creme Egg
1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4; line a 12-hole muffin tin with Cooks’ Homebaking muffin cases. Using electric beaters, cream together the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs until combined, followed by the milk. Mix together the dry ingredients and sift into the mixture. Beat in gently until combined.
2. Divide evenly between the muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then lift out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
3. Give the chocolate icing a stir, then transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle (or you can spoon it on if you don’t have a piping bag). Pipe over the top of the cakes. Halve the Mini Creme Eggs by cutting down the join with a sharp knife. Arrange on top of the icing and serve.
An ice cream scoop is useful for dividing the cake batter evenly between the muffin cases.
‘My top tip for baking a great cake is to get everything prepared – tins lined, oven preheated, ingredients weighed – in advance,’ says Helen Carey, chef tutor at the Waitrose Cookery School in London’s King’s Cross. ‘As soon as flour is added to wet ingredients, gluten starts to form and raising agents get to work. You don't want to be searching at the back of the cupboard for the cake tin while your mix is beginning to rise.’
Ready to get creative? A few choice utensils and gadgets will help. A good rolling pin, mixing bowls and measuring jug are staples. ‘A reliable set of digital scales is invaluable,’ advises Emily Gussin, deputy food editor at Waitrose Food. ‘Some scales can measure millilitres as well as grams and are the most accurate way to measure liquids.’
Make this the centerpiece of your Easter lunch. The hint of zesty lemon, and floral and fruity blueberry jam make a delicious flavour combination.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes plus cooling
250g golden caster sugar
250g Stork With Butter
4 medium Waitrose British Blacktail Free Range Eggs
250g self-raising flour
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
170ml pot essential Waitrose Double Cream
4–5 tbsp blueberry jam or conserve
Icing sugar, to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC, gas mark 4, and grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins with baking parchment. Place the sugar and Stork in a large mixing bowl. With an electric whisk or wooden spoon, beat together until pale and creamy. Next add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl down after each addition.
2. Fold in the flour in two additions, then lastly fold through the lemon zest and vanilla. Pour into the prepared tins and place in the oven for 22–25 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
3. Once the cakes are completely cool, pour the double cream into a mixing bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Spread the cream over the bottom of one of the sponges, spread the other sponge with jam, and sandwich them together. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar just before serving.
Instead of whipped cream, a vanilla-scented buttercream is a lovely alternative and is great if you want your cake to keep until the next day. Simply cream together 150g Stork With Butter with 150g icing sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Mix it up
There are a variety of food mixers to help the home baker. From handheld whisks – perfect for lightly whipping cream for scones and pavlova – to kitchen-top food processors which can assist in all manner of cake-making endeavours. ‘I couldn’t live without my KitchenAid stand mixer,’ says vegan baker Holly Jade of The Little Blog of Vegan. ‘I love the design and I use it all the time. It’s so versatile.’
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes, plus cooling
150g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
150g butter, plus extra for greasing
50g dark muscovado sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cornflour
4 medium Waitrose British Blacktail Free Range Eggs
200g essential Waitrose Creamy Soft Cheese
225g light muscovado sugar
75g plain flour
90g bag Cadbury Mini Eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease and line a 20cm square tin with baking parchment.
2. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of gently simmering water, stirring occasionally, until melted.
3. Meanwhile, for the cheesecake mixture, beat together the dark muscovado sugar, vanilla extract, cornflour and 1 egg in a bowl. Gently stir in the soft cheese until mixed. Set aside.
4. In a bowl, beat the remaining 3 eggs. Stir in the chocolate mixture with the light muscovado sugar and flour. Spoon half of this into the tin, then drop in small spoonfuls of the cheesecake mixture. Spoon the remaining chocolate mixture over the top. Using a chopstick or skewer, lightly ripple the top, then bake for 15 minutes. Scatter over the Mini Eggs and return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes until set. Set aside to cool in the tin before cutting into 16 squares to serve.
‘These fluted tins are great for making tarts and quiches look more interesting – they are a lovely heavy weight so the pastry cooks evenly and crisply,’ says Alison Oakervee, food editor for Waitrose & Partners. ‘I also love using a Silpat silicone baking mat to line a tray – nothing sticks and it means you don’t need to keep cutting up baking parchment.’ Try out this liner with a cranberry and orange drizzle cake.
‘My top piece of kit, absolutely essential for baking, is an oven thermometer,’ advises Carey. ‘Domestic ovens vary so widely and the built-in thermostat can read anything from 20 degrees over to 20 degrees under, which is the difference between burnt meringues or sad scones that didn’t rise.’
Present and correct
Now you’ve whipped up a spectacular cake, you’ll want to showcase it, even if that’s just in your own kitchen or for posting photos on Instagram. ‘Its all about presentation – I've got a cake stand with a dome for making even the simplest of cakes look professional,’ says Oakervee. Choose from a show-stopping glass style or traditional tiered stands, which are perfect for cupcakes or cookies. ‘A cake slice helps you play the part,’ Oakervee advises. Perfect for serving this mouth-watering orange mocha cake.
Once you’ve made your beautiful cake, you’ll want to keep it fresh, so a good cake tin or box is important. Go for a nest of boxes or one larger size that suits all bakes. ‘When it comes to moving your creations, I always wish I had one of these stainless steel cake lifters’ says Oakervee, who speaks from years of (possibly bitter) experience.