Our top 6 Easter recipes

Our top pick of Easter dishes for you to try this year.

Chocolate, ginger and orange Easter cake

There are ways to consume cocoa this Easter without unwrapping yet another chocolate egg. Put aside time this long weekend to bake Philippa Davis’ chocolate, ginger and orange Easter cake. Simple to make, loaded with chocolate and perfectly moist, make this your new Easter Sunday staple.


Perfectly moist and loaded with chocolate, this is a great party piece. But be warned: it’s super rich so serve in small slices.

Serves 10

  • 24cm/12 cup/9½in wide Bundt tin

Tin prep

  • 1 tbsp soft butter
  • 2 tsp coco powder mixed with
  • 2 tsp icing sugar

Cake batter

  • 180g soft butter
  • 380g soft brown sugar
  • 200ml buttermilk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oranges, zest only
  • 2 tbsp ginger cordial
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 170g 70% chocolate, in small pieces
  • 170ml just-boiled water


  • 100g icing sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 50g melted chocolate
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 15ml-30ml whole milk

To decorate

  • A generous selection of chocolate, which could include chocolate bars, eggs and biscuits.

Basque cake with Easter spices

Basque cake with Easter spices is a great alternative to the mass-produced, cloying chocolate egg. Supremely squidgy and moreishly yielding, it is perfect for teatime or after the Pascal lamb. Try Rose Blackett-Ord’s recipe.

Nothing symbolises Easter as eggs do. Eggs florentine make a delicious breakfast as an indulgent treat.


Somewhere between a cake and a tart this Basque cake with Easter spices is made from sweet shortcrust pastry dough filled with pastry cream before being baked like a cake. In its basic form it’s a classic, but I’ve given it an Easter recipe angle with some of the spices you might expect to find in a hot cross bun. Best served warm, this Basque cake with Easter spices can be eaten with cream as a dessert with a difference or with a shot of espresso as a teatime treat.

Fills 8in cake tin

For pastry

  • 200g (7oz) butter
  • 200g (7oz) sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  •  3 eggs
  • 300g (11oz) flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  •  50g (2oz) almond flour
  •  Salt
  • A little beaten egg to glaze

For the pastry cream

  • 400ml (14fl oz) milk
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 1⁄4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 90g (31⁄2oz) sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 60g (21⁄2oz) flour
  • 150g (5oz) raisins, soaked in
  • 1 tsp rum

To make Basque cake with Easter spices, first cream the butter, sugar and lemon, then beat in the eggs.

Sieve in the flour and mixed spice, add the almond flour and salt and mix into a dough (flour your hands and work surface).Form it into a flat disc, cling film it and refrigerate for two hours.

In the meantime, gently heat the milk with all the spices until steaming, then leave in a warm place for five minutes to infuse. Heat it back up until it steams while whisking the sugar into the egg yolks until they are pale and creamy. Sieve the hot milk and whisk it into the yolks a little at a time.

Pour the mixture back into the milk pan, whisk in the flour and bring slowly to a boil, whisking until thick and smooth. Put cling film directly on the surface and allow to cool.

Beat the raisins into the cooled pastry cream. Roll out two circles of dough, one slightly larger than the other. Press the larger circle into the buttered cake tin (it should extend up the sides).

Fill the middle with pastry cream and top with the smaller circle, pressing the edges together until sealed. Brush a little beaten egg on the top and mark in a criss-cross pattern with a fork.

Bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 35-45 minutes. The top should be golden-brown and the pastry cooked through. Serve warm.

Slow cooked shoulder of mutton: Easter Sunday lunch

Hogget or mutton make great, and much more flavoursome, alternatives to spring lamb for Easter. Try something different with Philippa Davis’ slow cooked shoulder of mutton with roasted radishes, boozy potatoes and burnt black olive salsa verde.

For something a little more unexpected this Easter, try rabbit in spiced chocolate sauce. Chocolate and bunnies are both Easter staples, so why not put them together?


Serves 8

  • 2.6kg mutton (or hogget), shoulder bone in
  • 4 small red onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 8 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 200ml light game stock or water
  • 200g radishes

Burnt butter salsa verde

  • 50g parsley, finely chopped
  • 100g pitted black olives, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp finely chopped capers
  • 8 anchovies, finely chopped
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 200g unsalted butter

Boozy roast potatoes

  • 1.6kg roasting potatoes, washed and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 200ml dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8.

Mix the red onions, celery, garlic, rosemary, wine and stock together in a roasting tin, place the meat on top and season everything.

Cover with a sheet of baking paper then tightly seal with foil.

Roast for 30 minutes, turn the heat down and cook for a further 3 hours or until the meat is tender.

When the meat is tender take off the parchment and foil, scatter over the radishes and roast for a further 30 minutes.

Rest for half an hour loosely covered before serving.

For the boozy potatoes, in a bowl, toss all the ingredients together. Pour into a roasting tray lined with baking paper and cook in the oven at 180°C/ 350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 1 hour, turning once.

For the burnt butter salsa verde, mix everything together in a bowl, except for the butter.

In a small saucepan, gently melt the butter on a low heat. When you start to see golden flecks appear in the bottom of the pan stir gently for about 15 more seconds then pour it into the bowl with the other ingredients and stir well.

To serve, pile the potatoes, radishes and the veg from the mutton roasting tray onto a serving platter and top with the meat.

Drizzle with the salsa verde and carve in thick slices at the table.

Chocolate and orange Easter chiffon cake

Chocolate is essential for the long Easter weekend, but it doesn’t have to come in egg form. Philippa Davis’ chocolate and orange Easter chiffon cake requires extra time and care to a standard chocolate cake – but the result is tender, moist, light and not overwhemlingly sweet.


This can be baked in a traditional chiffon tin or a deep aluminium round one. Do not grease or line the tin as the batter needs to cling on when cooking and cooling. Once cooked, suspend the cake upside down so it doesn’t collapse in on itself.

Serves 8

  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 130ml milk
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 90ml rapeseed oil (or sunflower)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 170g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 120g caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 oranges, zest only
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water


  • 100g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 4-6 tbsp double cream

To decorate

  • Chocolates – mini eggs, flakes, chocolate orange segments, etc – and whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 170°C/ 325°F/Gas Mark 3. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa, milk and crème fraîche. In a jug, mix the egg yolks, oil and vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, bicarb and 100g sugar together. Whisk the cocoa and egg yolk mix into the flour until well combined. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the remaining 20g sugar and the tartar until stiff peak stage. In three stages gently fold into the cocoa mix.Slowly pour into an ungreased not lined cake tin then give the mixture a gentle swirl with a thin skewer (this will help get rid of air pockets). Bake on the lower shelf for 1 hour. Leave to cool suspended upside down in the tin (you can prop the edge of the cake tin up with small ramekins).Once cool, run a knife around the outside of the cake and push the cake out. Run a knife across bottom to release cake then place bottom up on your serving platter.Whisk icing ingredients together using enough cream to create a slightly runny paste then pour over cake. Pile chocolates on top and serve with whipped cream.

Chocolate chip cookies. A sweet treat for Easter

Easter requires a decent cocoa fix, but if chocolate eggs are not your thing indulge in something irresistably moreish without being cloying. Philippa Davis’ chocolate chip cookies are perfectly crunchy and chewy, and the far superior way to consume cocoa this Easter.


This is the perfect crunchy and chewy cookie recipe.

Serves 30

  • 250g room-temperature, salted butter
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 220g soft brown sugar
  • 2 medium free-range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 375g plain flour
  • 5g bicarbonate of soda mixed with 1 tbsp boiled water
  • 300g milk or dark chocolate chips or an assortment of odd ends of chocolate eggs /bars chopped up
  • 1½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 oranges, zest only

Beat the butter, granulated sugar and soft brown sugar until pale.Add the eggs and vanilla until combined, then slowly add the flour and bicarb. Do not over mix.Finally, add the chocolate chips, cardamom and orange zest.Form the dough into two logs about 5cm in diameter and chill for one hour. The logs also freeze well at this stage.Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.Line flat baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.Slice the cookie dough into 2cm-thick disks and spread the disks out onto the baking sheets.Bake for 10 minutes, then leave to cool slightly before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Stuffed and rolled shoulder of hogget. The perfect Easter joint

Spring lamb is a popular choice for the Easter table, but don’t be too quick to choose your joint. Hogget, a sheep aged between one and years, is perfectly succulent and has a more complex and interesting flavour. Philippa Davis’ stuffed and rolled shoulder of hogget with warm potato and crème fraîche salad is fantastic for feeding a crowd.


The popularity of spring lamb often surprises me as although the meat is tender I find it usually lacks depth of flavour due to its hay and cereal diet. Hogget, however, a sheep aged between one and two years, will still be perfectly succulent and having had time to graze will have developed a more complex and interesting taste.

Serves 8-10

  • 2.5kg deboned hogget shoulder,
  • plus the bones
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 sticks celery
  • 2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 5 bay leaves
  • Small bunch thyme stalks
  • 150ml white wine


  • 125g pinenuts, lightly toasted
  • 20g tarragon, finely chopped
  • 20g thyme leaves (keep the stalks for the lamb), finely chopped
  • 20g mint, finely chopped
  • 10g sage, finely chopped
  • 1 handful washed wild garlic
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 100g white bread, roughly torn
  • 200g chopped dried figs
  • 1 heaped tbsp soft butter

Warm potato salad

  • 800g Jersey Royals or new potatoes
  • 200g crème fraîche
  • 75g pea shoots or watercress


To make the hogget, first preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.In a food processor, blitz all the stuffing ingredients and season.Lay the shoulder skin-side down and form a stuffing log down the middle. Bring up the sides and tie up to make a roll. Rub the outside of the meat with the olive oil and season.Place the celery, onions, bay and thyme stalks in the bottom of a roasting dish. Sear the meat on all sides and place in the roasting dish with the wine and

150ml water. Cover with foil and cook for 3½ hours, basting a couple of times while cooking.Let the hogget rest for 15 minutes then strain off all the liquor, removing the fat, to serve as gravy.Remove all the string and slice the meat into thick rounds. Serve it with a jug of the cooking liquor to use as gravy and a side of new potato salad.To make the new potato salad, boil the new potatoes in salted water and drain.Lightly crush with a masher (you just want to break the skin but keep the shape) then stir through the crème fraîche with a splash of warm hogget liquor. Season and toss through the salad leaves.