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NORTHWOODS COOKS: Make-ahead Easter desserts

Easter Carrot cake
A festive Easter carrot cake can be created by stacking two round cakes with cream cheese frosting in the middle. Adding piped on carrots created from colored frosting makes it a standout centerpiece for the dinner table.
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Easter is next Sunday, and these desserts will add a flavorful festive touch to the dinner table. They may also be made ahead of time and refrigerated until it’s time for dessert.

Baby Food Carrot Cake with Pineapple and Coconut


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups white sugar


2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

1-1/2 cups vegetable oil

4 large eggs

2 (6-oz.) jars carrot baby food

8-oz. can crushed pineapple, well drained

1 cup chopped walnuts


1 cup flaked coconut

Cream cheese frosting:

8-oz. package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 tsp. vanilla

4 cups confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add oil, eggs and baby food and mix on low speed until well combined. Fold in pineapples, nuts and coconut.

Pour into two 9-inch greased and floured pans. Bake for about 35 minutes or until center is done. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack and then remove from pans. Cool completely before filling and frosting.


Frosting: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla and confectioner's sugar and beat until desired spreading consistency. Frost cakes and sprinkle top with additional chopped walnuts and coconut, if desired. Keep leftover cake in the refrigerator.

Easter Dirt Cake

Lil’ Luna

1 package Oreos

8-oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 large container Cool Whip or 16 ounce whipping cream

2 (3.4-oz) boxes instant white chocolate or vanilla pudding mix

3 cups milk

1 tsp. vanilla

Easter candy PEEP bunnies

edible grass or coconut mixed with green food coloring

candy Easter eggs or jelly beans

Crush 2/3 of the package of Oreos and place in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch pan. Set aside.

Mix cream cheese and margarine (or butter) until smooth. Mix in powdered sugar and fold in whipped topping. Set aside.

In a separate bowl mix pudding, milk and vanilla. Fold this mixture in with the cream cheese mixture.

Pour over the crumb mixture and sprinkle with the reserved crushed Oreos. Let set for a few hours and keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Right before serving, top with bunny Peeps, edible grass and candy Easter eggs.

Coconut Cream Pie


9-inch pie shell, baked

5-oz. package instant vanilla pudding mix

1-1/2 cups milk

1-1/2 cups flaked coconut

8-oz. container frozen whipped topping, thawed

In a large bowl, combine the pudding mix and milk until the pudding mixture thickens. Fold 1 cup of coconut and half of the nondairy whipped topping into the pudding. Pour the combination into the prepared pie crust.

Spread the remainder of the nondairy whipped topping on top of the pie. Sprinkle with the remainder of the coconut. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

Readers are invited to submit their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to lskarpness@parkrapidsenterprise.com.

Readers are invited to submit their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to lskarpness@parkrapidsenterprise.com.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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