15 Vintage Easter Desserts That Are a Hop Back in Time

Easter Bird's Nests
Photo: dmbcook

Easter is a celebration of tradition and rebirth in the Christian tradition, and while it's a solemn holiday, it's also filled with joy and togetherness. It's a perfect time to bring memories back of holidays gone by, as you gather with your family for Easter lunches or dinners. You don't merely have to feel nostalgic for the days when you ate bunny-shaped cakes or juggling gelatin treats, however. Working these nostalgic Easter desserts into your celebration gives them a chance to win over a new generation of Easter celebrants. Scroll through for our collection of vintage Easter desserts, from lamb cakes to coconut cream pie and pavlova.

01 of 16

Lemon Pie Bars

lemon pie bar squares dusted with powdered sugar

These lemon pie bars are simple, flavorful, nostalgic, and a lovely way to finish an Easter lunch or dinner. Look for lemons with thick skin for more zest, and microwave them for 10 seconds to extract more juice.

02 of 16

Easy Bunny Cake

Easy Bunny Cake

This dessert is two traditions in one: a festive coconut cake and a treat that looks like an Easter bunny. It's simple and a great way to get kids involved, especially when it's time to decorate. Feel free to switch up the cake mix and frosting to fit your tastes.

03 of 16

Easy Pavlova

Papaya, blood orange, and kiwi on a layer of cream sitting atop a meringue base
Easy Pavlova. Allrecipes

There's debate on pavlova's origins, but everyone can agree that this gorgeous dessert tastes just as good as it looks. The meringue base has a marshmallow-like texture that's an ideal accompaniment for the whipped cream and fruit filling.

04 of 16

Outrageously Buttery Crumb Cake

Butter cake, a descendant of pound cake, has been a quintessential American dessert since its creation nearly a century ago. Truthfully, it can be enjoyed any time of year, but its decadence is especially appreciated at an Easter potluck.

05 of 16

Old Fashioned Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Since its creation, pineapple upside-down cake has been synonymous with spring, and therefore an Easter favorite. "This is by far the tastiest, moistest, most delicious pineapple upside down cake I have ever made or eaten," says community member Karen D. "I did nothing to change it; it is perfect when made exactly as directed."

06 of 16

Easter Rice Pie

This traditional Italian dessert has a fluffy ricotta filling that gets its taste from white rice, lemon zest, and canned pineapple. The recipe yields two pies, which is fortunate because nobody will be able to turn down a slice.

07 of 16

Easter Lamb Cake II

The lamb cake is a longstanding German practice that was brought by immigrants to the U.S. After transforming baking forever with the Bundt Pan, Nordic Ware released an aluminum lamb pan that ensured the tradition would never die.

08 of 16

Holiday Ambrosia Salad

It's impossible to discuss vintage desserts without mentioning the fluffy and creamy salads that graced tables for decades. Light and citrusy, ambrosia salad makes a fitting after-dinner treat or accessory for the main course.

09 of 16

Banana Pudding Pie

There's no instant mix here. This banana pudding is the real deal and might just be the best banana pudding recipe you'll ever try, according to Allrecipes community members. The meringue topping adds both visual and textural flair and lets guests know that this is not an average banana pudding.

10 of 16

Zebra Cake III

Any special occasion is worthy of an icebox cake, and this classic icebox cake is among the best. Most major grocers carry Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers — look for a golden box with a zebra cake in the corner.

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Old Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie

a slice of pie topped with toasted coconut on a white plate

If you're looking for a traditional coconut cream pie that'll take you back to your childhood, your search is over. This coconut cream pie tastes like what you'd get at a restaurant, except it's fresher and richer, and it has more natural coconut sweetness than sugar-forward flavor.

12 of 16

Orange Carrot Cookies

Whether you need to use up some leftover carrots or just want to enjoy a truly remarkable Easter cookie, give this old-school treat a try. The combination of orange and carrots may seem unusual, but the cake-like cookies and citrusy glaze make an incredible pairing.

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Lemon Icebox Pie III

Overhead on a lemon icebox pie with a slice out and plated nearby. The pie is garnished with fresh lemon and mint.
Meredith Food Studio

This lemon icebox pie is so, so simple — you can prep it in the morning, and it'll be set by the time you get back from church. If you're a serious lemon lover, zest at least two lemons to escalate the zing.

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Seven Layer Gelatin Salad

a colorful stack of seven layer gelatin salad squares.
Meredith Food Studios

If you're really looking to bring some color to your Easter spread, then this vibrant gelatin salad is a must. To make it special, use a gelatin mold instead of a baking dish — or, use an Easter-friendly cake pan.

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Easter Bird's Nests

These adorable, edible nests are a simple, yet festive, treat — and they happen to be a fun way to use up extra noodles in your pantry. If you don't have any chow mein noodles on hand, try pretzels.

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