Seasonal Sundays (Week 14) Celebration Breads & Cakes

Still thinking about Easter menus? Last week, I shared side dishes for spring celebrations. This week, I closed my eyes to imagine a dessert buffet, special sweets for spring, simple to sumptuous "celebration breads" and "celebratory cakes". Chocolate? Strawberries? Rhubarb? Yes, yes and yes. Plus, our Easter lunch menu is 90% nailed down. Fingers crossed you find much inspiration!

Seasonal Sundays, a weekly newsletter ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

Hey, all. Thank you for following Kitchen Parade, for checking in on these Sunday recipe collections. It means the world to be welcomed into your InBox and RSS readers and most of all, your kitchens. So thank you! And if you like this week's recipes, perhaps you'll share them with a friend or social circle?

Tis a somber week ahead, for our country as our former president faces down the rule of law but also for Christians who mark Holy Week with Maundy Thursday vigils and Good Friday contemplation.

For many years, I made it a point to re-watch The Passion of the Christ (affiliate link). But there's also room for dyeing eggs and Hot Cross Buns. I was much charmed this week by a young dad who assured me that little girls (he has five!) still get new dresses for Easter.

About the Photo By Popular Request, a Little Insight into the Top Image: What is it about the easy elegance of egg shapes?

May I Suggest ... a Link?

Let me just presume that if you're reading this, well, you're both a cook and a recipe collector. Don't the two kinda go together? And that means you tuck aside interesting recipes all over the place and then, dang, where is that chicken recipe that looked so good anyway? Here's an idea. Start a folder on your phone, call it "Kitchen Parade" or "Alanna" or whatever makes best sense to you. Then save the recipes you're most interested in right there in one place. Easy Peasy.

SEASONAL INSPIRATION: Seven Celebration Breads & Cakes

Hot Cross Buns, an Easter tradition ♥, spiced sweet buns topped with icing crosses.

Armenian Easter Bread (Choereg or Choreg) ♥, a rich buttery braided yeast bread spiced with mahleb (or mahlab), a slice is perfect with a cup of coffee.
  • THE RECIPE Armenian Easter Bread The buttery sweet bread called choereg or choreg.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Armenian Tahini Bread Think cinnamon buns, sticky rolls or sweet rolls, a complete surprise and an utter delight!

Finnish Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake ♥, layers of sponge cake, fluffy whipped cream and strawberries, a real celebration cake.

Southern Belle Lemon Layer Cake ♥, easy cake mix cake, very lemony with a delicious lemony cream cheese frosting. Also strawberry cake, cherry cake, orange cake and 9x13 variations!

Two Poppy Seed Cake Recipes ♥, one made from scratch with stripes of chocolate-cinnamon streusel, another that starts with a cake mix, perfect for baking with kids.

Easy-Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake ♥, dark, moist, chocolate-y. No mixer required.

Upside-Down Rhubarb Cheesecake ♥, layers of fresh or frozen rhubarb and cheesecake, that luscious combination of rhubarb-sour and cheesecake-creamy. Make it in a simple pie plate or in cute mini ramekins!

What's New?!

Wondering about a recipe from the last while? Check Recent Recipes from Kitchen Parade and Recent Vegetable Recipes from A Veggie Venture.

Easy Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole, a master recipe ♥ Start with eggs, frozen hash browns, salsa and cheese, then adapt as you like, incl on-the-go muffins and individual ramekins.

Our Easter Lunch Menu

Easter is so early this year but eight days out, the weather looks warm and sunny so we're planning an outdoor lunch but will move inside if needed. Lunch for how many? The range is six to twelve so the menu is a bit in flux, depending on how many we are.

The one thing I know for sure is that we're smoking two big hams. If ever there's a time to fire up the smoker, it's for a Twice-Smoked Ham. The first one is destined for a Saturday Easter egg hunt with Lots of Littles, the second one for Sunday and to make sure that we've got a bone for Monday's dinner, Ham & Beans.

So we shan't starve ... since it's been so long since we've all gathered for a family lunch, it's easy to return to family favorites plus a few new recipes I've been working on.

The biggest consideration? Mostly, everything needs to be made a day or two ahead. I'm aiming for sides straight from a smokehouse menu, with ham instead of ribs or brisket. Different root beers to drink? I think so! I'm stuck on dessert though.

What's on your menu? Is it fixed, yet? If not, maybe these recipes will spark your imagination ...

Easter Lunch 2023
~ Ballpark Peanuts in the Shell ~
~ A Mix of Different Root Beers ~
~ Estonian Deviled Eggs ~

~ Twice-Smoked Ham ~
~ Famous Mustard Sauce (Carolina BBQ Mustard Sauce) ~
~ Homemade Yeast Rolls ~

~ Mac n Cheese ~
~ Homemade Baked Beans ~
~ Mom's Potato Salad ~
~ Big Cajun Chopped Salad ~

~ Perfect M&M Cookies? ~
~ Make-Your-Own Banana Cream Pudding (or Chocolate?) Cups? ~
~ Rice Krispie Bars with Easter M&Ms? ~
~ Derby Pie Squares? ~

Estonian Deviled Eggs ♥, ultra-soft and ultra-creamy with a buttery filling.

Twice-Smoked Ham ♥, how and why to smoke a smoked ham a second time for Easter, Christmas and holiday hams.
  • THE RECIPE Twice-Smoked Ham How & why to smoke a smoked ham a second time.
  • DON'T FORGET Spicy Raisin Sauce for Ham My grandmother's recipe, always-always served with the Easter ham, the Christmas ham, the Sunday ham.

Famous Mustard Sauce (Carolina BBQ Mustard Sauce) ♥, Carolina BBQ mustard sauce from a handful of pantry ingredients, use as an ingredient and a condiment!

Mac n Chicken, just your best Mac n Cheese with chicken, with protein ♥ One-Pot Comfort Food. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Long-Time Family Favorite. High Protein. Great for Meal Prep. Recipe, insider tips, nutrition and Weight Watchers points included.

Mom's Potato Salad ♥, a classic potato salad with sweet pickle and fresh herbs, extra protein from cooked eggs and cottage cheese.

Big Cajun Chopped Salad, another fresh, flexible & healthy salad ♥ Great with gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp creole, crawfish boils and more.

Perfect M&M Cookies ♥, classic Tollhouse cookie recipe with M&Ms, perfected by my friend Kathy.

Easter Ideas & Recipes ♥, from Hot Cross Buns to Twice-Smoked Ham.

Looking Back ...

A Quick Peek Into a Real-Life Kitchen

Just so you know, everything's not all pretty pictures around here, in the background is a pile of dirty dishes. And just like many (all?) of us, come five o'clock, I too draw a blank about what to make for supper, despite so many recipes I so dearly love. Here's a quick peek from the last week, not including the oatmeal, salad dressing and sautéed greens on repeat this time of year.

Freezer Surprises ♥, a peek inside my freezer at surprising foods that freeze surprisingly well.
  • THIS WEEK Does anyone else share a kitchen with someone who's known prone to asking, just as he's putting the final touches on a stir-fry, say, "Do we have any rice?" My answer comes with a smile, "Of course we do" and I reach into the freezer for a small container of frozen White Rice or Brown Rice. After all of two minutes in the microwave (and a stir midway through), we do, in fact, have rice.
  • FREEZER SURPRISES Surprising Foods That Freeze Well

How to Cook Dried Beans from Scratch Mexican-Style in a Slow Cooker or Slow-Cooked in the Oven ♥, easy, healthy and delicious.
  • THIS WEEK Spring "sprang" here in St. Louis this week and late one afternoon, it was so pretty that I dragged my husband up from his office for a little wine and cheese on the patio. An hour later it was, Dinner, what's dinner? So I warmed up a container of Trader Joe's tomato and red pepper soup (much recommended!) and threw in two containers of cooked navy beans (also from the freezer!) for some heft and protein. PERFECTION.
  • THE RECIPE How to Cook Dried Beans from Scratch (Slow Cooker or Oven Slow-Cooking) Easy, economical, delicious.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes ♥, a cupcake adaptation of Cook's Illustrated's carrot cake recipe. It's made in the food processor!
  • THIS WEEK We marked my father's birthday with carrot cake, an 8x8 adaptation of these Cook's Illustrated cupcakes. I doubled the spices, added cardamon, skipped the icing and instead topped the cake with a heavy sprinkle of white sugar and a few pecans before baking. Oh! And I grated the carrots by hand and mixed the cake by hand, too. No reason to lug out the food processor!
  • THE RECIPE Carrot Cake Cupcakes Made in the food processor!

Just Updated!

Spicy Raisin Sauce for Ham ♥, my grandmother's recipe, a real classic. Serve it warm with ham at Easter and Christmas or for an easy weeknight supper, a ham steak.

Roasted Beets with Feta & Lemon, another simple vegetable recipe ♥

Old-Fashioned Banana Floats (also called Orange Floats) ♥ Part orange julius, part root beer float.

Kitchen Parade's best recipes 2002 - present, just one per year ♥

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. When you make my recipes, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below or better still, on the specific recipe's page.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.