Winter gets all the love, but spring is the real season for celebratory baking. There are tons of holidays to bake for, from Ramadan to Easter to Passover, plus Nowruz, Mother’s Day, graduations, and more. It’s an excuse to break out your scale and not give it a break until at least June. Whatever you’re baking for this spring, we’ve got a recipe for you to savor.
1) Easter Bread Wreath
This anise-scented enriched bread would make a beautiful centerpiece on an Easter table and is made all the more celebratory by the addition of colorful sprinkles. The shaping is simple: Twist the dough into a three-strand braid, then curl into a circle. A final glaze, perfumed with orange, elevates it for the holiday.
Get the recipe: Easter Bread Wreath
2) Nan-e Gerdui (Persian Walnut Cookies)
Made with ground walnuts and rice flour, these spiced shortbreads are a classic treat to celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year. The inclusion of cardamom and rose water adds a delicate floral note to complement the rich nuts. For another treat to celebrate the new year, try Nan-e Keshmeshi (Raisin Cookies).
Get the recipe: Nan-e Gerdui (Persian Walnut Cookies)
3) Chocolate Cassata
This chocolatey spin on a classic Sicilian Easter cake features a sweet ricotta filling and silky fudge frosting, which combine for a decadent dessert. The components can be made over the course of multiple days if you’d like to get ahead.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Cassata
4) Passover Popovers
These light, fluffy treats can go savory or sweet, depending on your preferences. Made with matzo meal (and without leaveners), they get their impressive pop from eggs.
Get the recipe: Passover Popovers
5) Robin Egg Cake
Turns out all you need for a special Easter cake is some food coloring and a clean paintbrush. To make this cute cake, decorate the outside with blue-tinted buttercream, using a bench knife to create a smooth finish. Then, dip a paintbrush in a mixture of cocoa and water and flick it onto the cake for a speckled, robin’s egg effect. It’s fun and fancy.
Get the recipe: Robin Egg Cake
Also called “maamoul,” these stamped cookies — a favorite treat for Ramadan — are stuffed with a sweet mixture of dates and spices; there’s also an option for a nut-based filling at the bottom of the recipe page. If you don’t have a mahmoul mold, don’t fret! The recipe page includes tips to make them without.
Get the recipe: Mahmoul
7) King Arthur’s Carrot Cake
Carrot cake is an Easter classic, and ours has been beloved for years. It has nearly 300 perfect five-star reviews, and The Kitchn once described it as “the universally perfect carrot cake everyone you know will love.” What makes it so great? Oil for moisture and tenderness, spices for flavor, loads of grated carrots, and a tangy cream cheese frosting that swoops on easily. And if you’re more into cupcakes, we’ve got an option for you too: King Arthur’s Carrot Cake Cupcakes.
Get the recipe: King Arthur’s Carrot Cake
8) Flourless Chocolate Cake
Flourless chocolate cake is a frequent Passover go-to, and for great reason: It’s unfailingly delicious, contains neither flour nor leavening, and can be made in a basic kitchen without any special tools. One reviewer loved it so much, they gave it “11 out of 5 stars.”
Get the recipe: Flourless Chocolate Cake
9) Qatayef (Sweet Filled Semolina Pancakes)
Semolina-based qatayef are delicate pancakes stuffed with a crunchy walnut mixture and doused in orange blossom simple syrup. While they’re typically fried, this version from recipe developer Heifa Odeh is baked for a simpler preparation. For another Ramadan recipe from Heifa, try Fatayer (Middle Eastern Savory Hand Pies).
Get the recipe: Qatayef (Sweet Filled Semolina Pancakes)
10) Portuguese Sweet Bread (Massa Sovada)
This mildly sweet bread is enriched with milk, butter, and eggs for a tender crumb, while a dash of lemon zest and vanilla extract add subtle flavor. And if you’re looking for a more savory bread that makes great day-after-Easter ham sandwiches, try Italian Easter Cheese Bread (Crescia al Formaggio).
Get the recipe: Portuguese Sweet Bread (Massa Sovada)
11) Coconut Cake
A towering white coconut cake is always in season. This classic recipe is extra-moist since the two cake layers are both split in half and filled for a higher frosting-to-cake ratio. Using egg whites, instead of whole eggs, ensures a snow-white appearance to go with the shower of shredded coconut that covers the cake.
Get the recipe: Coconut Cake
12) Our Bakery’s Coconut Macaroons
Another Passover classic, coconut macaroons are the sweet, sticky, chewy bites your table needs. These macaroons’ intense coconut flavor has made them a perennial favorite at our Vermont bakery, where customers delight in their moist texture. For a chocolate version, try Zingerman’s Chocolate Coconut Macaroons.
Get the recipe: Our Bakery’s Coconut Macaroons
13) Strawberry Mascarpone Tea Cake
It feels like spring is bursting with birthdays, plus there are gatherings like graduations, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day on the horizon. So tuck away this fluffy layer cake for occasions you’ll be baking for a large group of people. It’s filled with fresh strawberries sandwiched in an easy mascarpone filling for a light, refreshing dessert.
Get the recipe: Strawberry Mascarpone Tea Cake
14) Easy Hot Cross Buns
If you’re looking for a reliable, easy-to-bake Easter hot cross bun recipe, this is it. The slightly sweet buns are made with rum (or apple juice), dried fruit, brown sugar, and spices for full flavor and enriched with milk, eggs, and butter to make them tender. Pipe on the iconic icing cross after baking and you’re ready to celebrate. (If you want to skip the yeast and keep the classic cross, try these quick and easy Hot Cross Muffins instead.)
Get the recipe: Easy Hot Cross Buns
15) Flourless Chocolate Nut Cake
Swap out the wheat flour for almond flour, and you have a tall, fluffy, flourless cake with a tender crumb that’s perfect for Passover. The cake is baked in a tube pan for easy slicing and serving, and it’s crowned with a thick chocolate glaze accented by espresso powder to deepen the chocolate flavor further.
Get the recipe: Flourless Chocolate Nut Cake
16) Middle Eastern Meat Flatbreads (Lahm Bi Ajeen)
These meat-topped flatbreads can be found throughout the Middle East in various forms; this version comes to us from the founders of New York Shuk. Here, the ground lamb meat and onion topping is flavored with harissa, an addition that, while uncommon, provides an extra depth of flavor that makes these flatbreads truly stand out — add them to your Ramadan rotation all month long.
Get the recipe: Middle Eastern Meat Flatbreads (Lahm Bi Ajeen)
17) Rhubarb-Ginger Coffee Cake
Celebrate one of the year’s first farmers market finds with this gingery rhubarb cake. It’s a bright, sweet-tart cake crowned with nutty, ginger-spiked streusel. What makes it truly special, though, is the homemade rhubarb syrup that gets added to the batter, which adds an extra burst of zingy flavor.
Get the recipe: Rhubarb-Ginger Coffee Cake
18) Green Goddess Herb Biscuits
Early spring baking can be tricky — you’re itching to bake with fresh flavors, except nothing is really in season yet. Herbs to the rescue! These eye-catching biscuits, inspired by the iconic salad dressing, are made with fresh basil, parsley, and chives, which give them a bright flavor and color.
Get the recipe: Green Goddess Herb Biscuits
19) Kofte Phyllo Rolls
Make a large batch of these kofte phyllo rolls and stash them in the freezer to enjoy all Ramadan. Store-bought phyllo makes the assembly streamlined, but if you’re looking for a homemade recipe, you can find one in our Baking School cookbook. Fill with spiced ground meat studded with currants and toasted almonds and serve with creamy tahini-yogurt sauce.
Get the recipe: Kofte Phyllo Rolls
20) Mile-High Meringue Pie
We’re right in the sweet spot for lemon-forward baking: at the tail end of citrus season and the beginning of spring, when the fruit's zippy flavor is especially welcome. One of the best ways to showcase lemons is in this classic meringue pie, which features a towering cloud of meringue atop the tart citrus filling.
Get the recipe: Mile-High Meringue Pie
For another way to celebrate, try making colorful, whimsical Printed Sugar Cookies for holidays, birthdays, graduations, and more parties this spring.
Cover photo (Mile-High Meringue Pie) by Kristin Teig; food styling by Liz Neily.