Cheesecake, ice-cream cake, and tender cakes like a sheet cake all benefit from being made in advance.
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plated slices of Coconut Crunch Cake
Credit: Con Poulos

Whether you're planning an Easter feast or just offered to prepare dessert to bring to a gathering at a loved one's home, one of the best ways to pull off a celebratory sweet is to do as much as possible in advance. Start with recipes that are just as delicious the day you bake them as the day you serve them. Here, we're sharing a variety of incredible sweets, such as cheesecake and ice-cream cake, that benefit from a little time in the refrigerator or freezer. We also have cakes with crumbs so tender that they don't dry out fast. The hardest part of preparing these stunning desserts will be waiting a day or two to eat them.

Coconut Crunch Cake

Coconut cakes and macarons are Easter traditions in many households, so we combined the two into one dessert: Our Coconut Crunch Cake, which is pictured above. Swapping out some butter with coconut oil doubles down on coconut flavor while creating a super tender cake that stays fresh. A silky chocolate sauce makes it even more stunning when you put a slice down on the table. Both the cake and the chocolate sauce can be prepared up to three days in advance. Store the coconut cake an airtight container at room temperature and the chocolate sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Just reheat the chocolate sauce gently over a double boiler or in the microwave before drizzling.

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Credit: Con Poulos

Rhubarb-Raspberry Cheesecake Squares

Pretty-in-pink, these Rhubarb-Raspberry Cheesecake Squares make an eye popping finish to any Easter feast. The tart raspberry-rhubarb gelée topping certainly is a stunner, but it also complements the creamy cake and delightful graham cracker crust. These squares are easier and faster to prepare than a whole cheesecake; they are baked in a 9-by-13 baking dish so you can skip the water bath and cut down on cooking time by a whole lot. For the best texture and flavor, cheesecakes require a complete chill in the refrigerator before serving—making this dessert ahead is a must. Prepare them and wrap them airtight, then chill for up to three days prior to Easter dinner.

orange-and-poppy-seed sheet cake recipe
Credit: Con Poulos

Orange-and-Poppy-Seed Sheet Cake

Sheet cakes serve a crowd and aren't that challenging to make, but what makes this Orange-and-Poppy-Seed Sheet Cake holiday-worthy? A burst of tartness from a sweet orange juice-based glaze that is drizzled atop this cake with a pretty sprinkle of nutty poppy seeds. It's sweet but not too sweet and the orange juice vibes make it a perfect ending to Easter brunches (although it's great after dinner, too). A touch of sour cream in the batter ensures the crumb stays moist and tender, giving this cake shelf life. The iced sheet cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to three days before slicing and serving at the Easter table.

neapolitan ice cream cake
Credit: Anson Smart

Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake

With its delicate spring color palette, now is the perfect time for this Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake to grace the table. Pistachio, strawberry, and vanilla ice creams are layered with a delicious cornbread cake and a garnish of fresh spring berries. Layer and wrap the cake well and freeze for up to a week prior to serving. The berry mixture is best prepared day of but can be assembled up to three days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a more syrupy, jam-like topping. For easier slicing, plan to let the ice cream cake sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

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Carrot-Cake Parfaits

Let's be honest: For some people, the very best part about carrot cake is the cream cheese frosting, and that's what makes these Carrot Cake Parfaits a total hit. Generous layers of cream cheese filling, apricot jam, and carrot cake can be assembled in serving cups or glasses up to three days in advance. Just wrap the top of each cup with plastic to keep them airtight and bring them straight from the fridge to the table when you are ready to serve dessert.

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