Baking & Desserts

7 spectacular make-ahead Easter cakes

By: Annabelle Waugh and recipes by The Canadian Living Test Kitchen

Praline Caramel Mousse Cake<br />Photography by Jesse Brioux Author: Canadian Living Credits: Praline Caramel Mousse Cake<br />Photography by Jesse Brioux

Baking & Desserts

7 spectacular make-ahead Easter cakes

By: Annabelle Waugh and recipes by The Canadian Living Test Kitchen
There is nothing quite like a decadent cake to slice into after an elegant Easter dinner, but prep time is of the essence when you're planning a big meal. Luckily, with a bit of preplanning and simple make-ahead strategies, you can get most of the work out of the way well in advance, leaving you more time to focus on the main event.

1. Angel Food Cake with Lemon Curd and Mascarpone Cream
Angel food cake is a very forgiving cake because the higher sugar content keeps it light and moist even after a couple of days in an airtight container. The tangy curd filling and creamy mascarpone topping (both can also be made ahead and in stages) help to add any lost moisture back into the cake. All you have to do is assemble and garnish the layers at the last minute, preferably while someone else clears the dinner dishes.

Angel Cake

Photography by Joe Kim

2. Triple Layer Lemon Cake
Desserts you can make in stages are your best friend when entertaining; you don't need to commit too much time to making any one component. You can literally take 15 minutes here, or 10 minutes there, to pull things together. Make both the lemon custard and the vanilla cake up to two days ahead, leaving just a simple lemony butter icing to whip up the next day. The iced cake keeps in the fridge for up to a day, too, freeing up all your last-minute time for more important things.

Lemon Cake

Photography by Jeff Coulson

The Ultimate Layered Carrot Cake
When we say "ultimate" we mean it. This is just about the most tender and moist cake you'll ever taste, making it ideal for preparing in advance. The cake layers stay fresh-tasting for days at room temperature, or if you really want a head start, you can even freeze them ahead for weeks with virtually no change in texture. Icings that contain butter are best made the day you plan to assemble your cake because, once refrigerated, the butter hardens, making spreading impossible. Save the icing until just before you plan to frost your cake, but feel free to refrigerate the iced cake for up to a day.

Carrot Cake

Photography by Jeff Coulson

4. The Ultimate Chocolate Layer Cake
If there was ever a time for chocolate, it's Easter—and this decadent chocolate cake with chocolaty icing is really the best you'll ever taste. The one-bowl batter is as simple as a cake mix and keeps its super-fluffy texture for days at room temperature. This versatile recipe is also easily convertible to cupcakes or a slab cake!

Ultimate Chocolate Cake

Photography by Jeff Coulson

Praline Caramel Mousse Cake
Although it may seem labour-intensive because of the number of steps in the recipe, rest assured that each component of this spectacular cake can be made ahead so you can break it up into more manageable stages. Not to mention that every minute spent on this incredible combination of creamy caramel mousse, airy cake, fluffy cream and crunchy praline is worth it.

Caramel Mousse Cake

Photography by Jesse Brioux

Rhubarb Dream Cake
This stunning springtime cake is ideal for making ahead. Start by making the pretty pink rhubarb glaze two days ahead, the lemon-scented cake the next day, and finish on the third day by whipping up the creamy mascarpone icing and assembling the lovely layers. Easy!

Rhubarb Cake

Photography by Jodi Pudge

Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Chocolate Lava Cakes
These little molten chocolate cakes are a wonder. The best part? You can make the batter and refrigerate it right in the ramekins for up to a day. Just pop them in the oven 20 minutes before serving time and watch your guests’ eyes widen as they dig into the flowing chocolate centres.

Chocolate Lava Cakes

Photography by Jeff Coulson

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Baking & Desserts

7 spectacular make-ahead Easter cakes