A Brief History of Cadbury Creme Eggs, Easter’s Most Delightful Confection

There’s nothing quite the like cloyingly sweet, spring holiday staple

April 6, 2023 6:40 am
two Cadbury creme eggs on top of candy eggs
It was always the best when one of these showed up in your Easter basket
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Part of the fun revolving around any holiday is the seasonal candy that accompanies it — candy canes at Christmas, candy corn at Halloween and so on. For Easter, there is one specific confection that is unique, divisive and just so distinctively sweet: the Cadbury Creme Egg. For those not familiar, this British candy features a large chocolate shell filled with a loose white and yellow cream frosting, all formed to resemble an egg. The resulting flavor profile is a single note of sweetness in a whimsical package.

Comparatively speaking, Cadbury Eggs are newcomers to the candy scene. While proto versions were invented in Birmingham, England in 1875 (using excess cocoa butter from other candies they made), they didn’t take their current cream-filled form until 1971. Today, more than 200 million Eggs are sold annually between January 1st and Easter, an impressive number for a limited-run candy.

Cadbury Eggs are unique not only in flavor and seasonality, but in how they’re manufactured. The candy is made less like a classic confection and closer to a plastic molded car part or toy. Liquid chocolate halves are filled with cream frosting, and once cooled, they are fused together into one egg. This process is extremely efficient and produces about 1.5 million eggs (using more than one ton of chocolate) every day at the factory in Bournville, England.

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As with most classics, controversy abounds. First, the American and UK recipes are different because Cadbury sold the manufacturing license to Hershey in 1988. The domestic version is often referred to as overly sweet and coarse because various types of processed sugars and oils are used. The UK version is arguably a bit more refined — the chocolate is more fudge-like and the filling less sweet. But because of the licensing, you’ll have to travel across the pond for the UK version, which most fans find superior.

The Cadbury company itself is not absolved of controversy. In 2015, five years after Kraft purchased the company, they changed both the recipe and lowered the number of eggs in each pack from six to five. The amount of dairy used in the chocolate was also lowered, lessening the fudgy, smooth texture of the shell. Many Brits were personally offended by this move, showing their displeasure with their wallets. An estimated $12 million in sales were lost following the change, highlighting the passion Cadbury Egg fans hold. 

So this Easter, consider rolling a Cadbury Creme Egg or two into the rotation between the spiced ham and marshmallow Peeps. The Eggs, given their cloying sweetness, pair well with bitter coffees and teas, citrus fruits, and even tart fruit wines. Or, try this personal favorite pairing: gently cut off the tops, remove (and discard, likely) the filling and replace it with a coffee liqueur. Drink, consume, repeat.


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