Lamb Cake

L A M B    C A K E

pink-flowers

lambcake

Here’s my lamb cake concoction.  Perfect for first day of spring, for baby showers, for Earth Day and of course Easter.  We found the perfect old-fashioned Lamb Cake lambcake moldMolds for our web store . . . I made the cake using my Grandma’s homemade Lemon Daisy Cake recipe because it makes a firm cake, almost a pound cake but not quite, a cake that isn’t too crumbly and holds together.  But it’s just fine if you choose the quick way and use a boxed pound cake mix and store-bought frosting. I’m not against anything that makes a lovely smell come from the oven.  The directions that come with the pan tell you to make it using less liquid. ~ in case you feel a need for speed.  I’ll show you how to make the Lemon Daisy Cake, and I’ll put the full recipe at the end of this post so you can print it out.lamb cake

So here we go.  First tip: Successful unmolding of your cake is paramount.  The way to do that (for any molded cake) is this:  Melt a couple tablespoons of Crisco and brush it into ever nook and cranny of your mold.  The mold should be cool when you do it so the oil will stick.

lambcake

Also, take the time to flour your pans.  Just shake flour over the oil until it sticks everywhere and shake out any extra.  Notice we have kitchen twine, toothpicks and wooden skewers?  You will need these … as you’ll see later.  Put your prepared pan on a cookie sheet with the lamb face down. Preheat your oven to 375º ~ feel your kitchen getting warm and cozier by the minute. Pop an old movie into the player . . . I watched/listened to Gosford Park while I cooked — here’s the MUSICA from it …

IMG_3740

This recipe and lamb cake is really so easy!  All ingredients should be at room temperature.  Two sticks of butter and two cups of sugar go into a large mixing bowl.

lambcakePut four roughly measured cups of flour into your sifter and sift three times . . . then measure out 3 cups.  You want to measure after sifting.  Any extra flour goes back into your container.  Put the sifted flour back into the sifter, add one TBSP baking powder and 1/4 tsp. salt and sift again two more times.  Use my waxed paper method for sifting unless you have a method you like better.

lamb cake

Allow all petty pets to watch your every move.

cream butter and sugar

Now cream the softened butter and sugar together with an electric mixer . . .

lambcake

. . . until light colored and fluffy

add eggs one at a time

Then, one at a time, add the yolks of four eggs (save the whites in another bowl), beating well after each.

lambcake

Once the eggs are incorporated, sift in dry ingredients by thirds alternating with buttermilk ~ little bit of flour, a little bit of milk, repeat~ beat until smooth after each third.

buttermilk

I like the old-fashioned tangy flavor the buttermilk gives this cake, but if you are at home and all you have is regular milk, that will do just fine.

add zest

Stir in the grated rind of two lemons . . . so easy to do with the wonderful  Microplane Graters (← let me demonstrate!) . . . Miracle things no kitchen should be without.  Like little razor blades for fast easy no-more-knuckle-in-the-food cooking.

fold in egg whites

Beat your reserved egg whites until stiff, then fold them into the cake, and voila, Daisy Cake batter is done.

lambcake

Fill the face side of your mold (you’ll be able to tell which side to fill because the other side has a tiny steam-hole in it).  Big tip #2:  Head-falling-off can occur, it’s a possibility you will want to avoid from the get go.  Because if it does, you’ll try to glue it back on with frosting.  Which puts a wide messy crumbly lump around the lamb’s neck.  While you’re busy sticking the head back on, the ears fall off.  It’s terrible. I’ve made that mistake, but no more.  Now I am stick woman.  Toothpicks for the ears and wooden skewers for the neck.

lambcake

Then I tie the mold together with kitchen string, just in case.  If, for some reason the batter tries escape out the sides, I’m ready. We want a perfectly molded little lamb here, on the first try. Pop the cake in the oven an let it fill your toasty kitchen with fragrance of lemon-baking heaven.

lambcake

TakeTime

Set your timer for 55 minutes and take a look outside and see what’s going on.

Spring!

There’s bound to be something.

Boiled Frosting

After the cake comes out and is cooling, you can pull out your Summer Book and find my recipe for Old-Fashioned Boiled Frosting on p. 109.  But just in case you don’t have that book, here’s the recipe . . .

boiled frosting

This is another easy recipe that’s like science magic.  You need a candy thermometer like you see here.  I have it hooked on the side of a small heavy-bottomed pan that already has a third-cup of water in it . . . I’m adding a cup of sugar.

boiled frosting

Then 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar and a pinch of salt gets stirred in ~ put the pan over high heat and boil without stirring until mixture reaches 240°.

making boiled frosting

While that’s going on, beat two egg whites until stiff.

old fashioned boiled frosting

When the sugar liquid is hot enough, pour it in a thin stream into your egg whites beating all the while, and watch it get thick, white and fluffy . . .

boiled frosting

Just like this!  Look at that!  You are a genius!

wooden-spoon

lambcake

When the buzzer goes off,  Ta-Daaa your lamb cake is done.  Pull it out of the oven, and now is where your patience must never come to an end.  You have to wait until he is totally cool before you set him up to frost.  You can cut the string, take off the top part of the mold, let him sit like that a while.  Put the mold piece back on, turn it over, and do the same thing.  Until he is completely cool.

lambcake

Meanwhile you’ll have made your frosting . . . swipe the middle of your cake platter with a wide swath of frosting so the lamb has something to anchor him in standing position.

naked lamb cake

This is what we’ve waited for.  He’s up!  He came right out of the pan with no help.  Look at him!  He’s perfect.  I didn’t have to do a thing but turn the pan into my hand and set him into the frosting smear.  But then, how to frost him was my next question. I wanted to see if I could come up with something a little bit different than the way I usually did it (with raisin nose and chocolate chip eyes), make him more real.  I needed inspiration and I knew just where to get it.

lambs

I pulled out the little book we bought in a bookstore in Ambleside in England filled with lamb pictures, all the different breeds.

cutie pie

I thumbed through it and chose this guy.  That’s what I wanted my lamb to look like. Within reason.

frosted lamb cake

So I started applying the frosting.  I couldn’t hold the camera and frost at the same time,  but there is no real trick in the frosting ~ it all goes pretty easily.  For the corners like under his chin or around the ears, just put a good lump of frosting on the very end of your spatula or wide knife and plunk it right where you want it, spreading from there.  You can wipe off the plate with a damp paper towel when you are finished.

lambcake

Hello just-born lamb.  Of course Lemon cake and coconut go together perfectly, and lambs need wool, so here is.  If you press the coconut in a little bit, it keeps him from looking too hairy.

lambcake

Just as sweet from the back.  In the past I’ve decorated the plate with green-tinted coconut (like Easter grass) and jelly beans, and egg-shaped frosted cookies . . . but I was taking this cake to friends for dinner and it isn’t Easter quite yet, so I decided to leave it plain and my version of whimsical-homemade-elegant.

Lammikins

Lamb Cakes are always the cutest thing on the table at any party. (Just pulled out my lamb vase too — almost time to fill him with forsythia cuttings!

beeLEMON DAISY LAMB CAKE

You will need melted Crisco and flour to prepare mold, plus two wooden skewers and two toothpicks for lamb.

  • 2 sticks butter (1 c.), room temp.
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 3 c. sifted cake flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs, separated, room temp.
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • zest of two lemons

zesting lemons

Grater, in case you need one . . .

Preheat oven to 375°. Paint the inside of your mold with melted Crisco, sprinkle with flour and shake out extra.  Cream softened butter and sugar together with electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Measure your dry ingredients: sift approx. 3 c. flour three times before measuring out three cups and putting them back into the sifter (any extra flour just goes back into your container) ~ add baking powder and salt to sifter with flour in it and sift two more times.  Set aside.

votive candle in a measuring cupAdd egg yolks, one at a time, to butter-sugar mixture; beat well after each ~ put the egg whites in another bowl.

Sift in flour mixture by thirds, alternating with buttermilk, beating until smooth after each addition.  Stir in lemon zest.  Beat egg whites until stiff and fold them into the batter.

Fill face part of lamb mold (the side that doesn’t have the hole in it) full and put it on a cookie sheet.  Lay toothpicks in centers of lamb ears, put clipped wooden skewers or a popsicle stick in center of neck down to body for support.  Press them down slightly into batter.  Put on the top of the mold and tie it together with string.  Put the cookie sheet with the lamb cake into preheated oven and bake 55 minutes. Remove from oven, cut string, allow lamb to cool 15 min; remove top, cool longer, turn it over, remove other side of mold, allow it to cool competely before frosting.

You will have extra batter — enough for one 8″ single layer cake, or several cupcakes.   With my extra batter, I made a bunny cake… with a vintage bunny cake mold I found somewhere on my travels.  Lambies and chickies and bunnies . . . oh my!

lambs and bunnies oh my

 chickie

 CLASSIC OLD-FASHIONED BOILED FROSTING

You will need a candy thermometer for this.  Pour 1/3 c. water into a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, then stir in 1 c. sugar, 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar and a pinch of salt. Hook the thermometer on the side of the pan making sure the tip of it is in the mixture.  Boil until the mixture reaches 240°.  Meanwhile beat 2 egg whites until stiff.  Pour the 240° syrup over the whites in a thin stream, beating constantly until thick and glossy.  Lay a wide strip of frosting down the middle of an oval serving plate.  Tip the lamb cake out of the pan into your hand and set it in the strip of frosting to anchor it.  Frost the lamb; pat and sprinkle coconut onto sides.  Press coconut in slightly to keep the lamb from looking too hairy.  Voila, he is done, and you are amazing!  Happy Spring Girlfriends!   I think I have delighted you (in the immortal words of Jane Austen) long enough! 

pink-flowers

53 Responses to Lamb Cake

  1. Susie Rodgers says:

    So adorably delicious 🙂
    thank you, Susan !!

  2. Linda Wiernusz says:

    For 3 generations, we have been making lamb cakes. A welcome addition to easter for us.

  3. Carol says:

    love your blog Susan!!!!! And I must fnd a lamb mold! Happy Spring!

  4. Mimi Rendish says:

    I have the exact same lamb mold and in the past had trouble with the ears and neck faling off, so THANX a bunch for the skewer/toothpix trick. Love it!

  5. Celeste says:

    Leaving the ears and nose au natural is quite realistic looking. Nice idea!

  6. Lois Fox says:

    The Easter lamb cake has been a tradition in our family for the last 45 years!
    Along with the cute little lamb cake, my sisters & I fondly remember every time the head fell off or an ear fell off. My mom would toothpick back on the head (on the outside) which made it look like the lamb needed physical therapy!
    I never made the lamb cake myself, but this Easter it is time for me to “step up to the plate” & I will be making my lst lamb cake!
    It is with some trepidation that I do this (because of all the head & ears falling off catastrophes over the years).
    I am so glad to find your site telling me to use wooden skewers, etc. !! Thank you so much for your step by step directions! I really appreciate every word!

  7. Gina Russell says:

    This year I was given my late grandmother’s cast iron lamb cake mold and took on the challenge of carrying on her tradition. I was thrilled to see your blog entry about the lamb cake and your tips for success! Please know that your recipe will help carry on our family tradition this Easter. Thank you!!!

  8. Gina D. says:

    Found a vintage lamb mold in La Crescenta, California, last week
    (thought of you, of course), complete with accomanying 10 cent Nordic Ware recipe book,
    and he flew home with me to Virginia. TSA didn’t even flinch when his darling shape showed up on their scanner image! Can’t wait to try your recipes for Easter!

    • sbranch says:

      You’ll have fun! We also have those lamb molds in our web store, for anyone who hasn’t had your luck in finding an old one.

  9. PAULA says:

    Wish I had seen the lamb cake sooner, the ladies of our gourmet group had a “Spring” tea for 8 at my house. They wouldn’t let me do it all, so we had watercress, cucumbers, egg salad sandwiches, etc., various sweets galore arriving from points south. I found every bunny, lamb and flower in the house to decorate the table, and wouldn’t that lamb cake have been perfect! I have a collection of teapots, borrowed several hot-pots, and everyone had their own favorite kind of tea. It was a Susan Branch kind of day, how wonderful to have vintage friends together to laugh and reminisce over tea.
    And, Easter is coming, just enough time to make a lamb cake!! Thank you once again. POlly from Oxnard.

  10. Carla Solberg says:

    I love your cakes!!! They are so adorable and they inspire me to make one for this Easter!

  11. Carol Ney says:

    Been using the exact same mold to make lamb cakes for the last 44 years and never thought to put the skewers in before I baked the cakes!!! I can’t believe I didn’t even consider there could be another way!! I would try to carefully insert the skewers into the lamb’s head after I had unmolded the cake and then used frosting that had a spackle-like consistency to “glue” the “lambenstein” together! Your way is so much neater and I imagine doesn’t include the added liberal use of toothpicks, etc. to keep on the ears and nose or whatever else seems to be a bit unstable in any particular year.
    Thank you so much for this great idea.
    ( We’ll now be able to spend more time figuring out where the bunny (you can guess who that is) hide that last egg so it won’t be found by smell in August!)

  12. Jan Bass (Stillmeadow Society of Iowa) says:

    I love this lambsy-divy!! BTW, Susan, have you seen the FaceBook post showing a bunch of real lambs that someone has sheared (trimmed/groomed) so that they all look like white poodle dogs?! So weird! But I’d rather see them as lambsies! Hope you enjoy a sweet Easter Sunday next week.

  13. MaryEllen Stella says:

    I have an old cast iron lamb mold – do you have any additional information that I would need to do for successful lamb cake?

    • sbranch says:

      Just follow the directions here and I think you’ll be just fine. I wrote down everything I knew to make them successful. xo

  14. Linda T. from Maine says:

    This just melts in my mouth. Yummy.
    Lamb is so cute. I remmember you showing this last year.
    I made you lemon jelly roll cake for my Birthday last year .
    I used the same violets andlily of the valley as you did.
    It came out perfect. Yummy too. Thank for all the reciepes Susan.
    HAPPY SPRING!!!!!!!!!!.

  15. JANET NASH says:

    Susan, I have my grandmother’s lamb mold…going to dig the mold out and make your recipe for our Easter party…thanks for sharing memories. Happy Easter and may God Bless you and yours!

  16. Gary Cunnane says:

    I can’t believe you have that bunny mold. I have the same one. I have never seen another one like it. How old do you think it is? The woman I bought it from said she thought it was from the 30’s.

    • sbranch says:

      I found a place that makes the same mold in the same way . . . and we have them in our webstore … yes, I do think they’ve been around a very long time. But not as easy to find in antique stores anymore!

      • Laurie, Nico's Mom says:

        Oh Susan! I would love one of those bunny cake pans!!! I checked your web store but couldn’t find them. Are they all gone? I simple must have one! I have always admired it in your kitchen photos. I love all things bunny.
        Laurie
        And The Magnificent Seven

  17. Sharon (O'Hare) Meagher says:

    Hi Sue!
    Woo! I am sooooo glad that I saw this blog today! I have the same lamb pan set and last year I made the (not so grand) attempt to create this masterpiece for our dessert, and it was a laughable disaster! Head falling off…ears sagging…regular box cake mix (mistake)…not pretty! But in reading your recipe, I realized what I did wrong (filled both pans with batter!…grrr!), but I am eager to take on this sweet cake later this week.
    Question: I’m not a big lemon cake fan. Could I use grated orange peel?
    Hugs,
    Sharon

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, that’s just fine…. I think you could stick mini chocolate chips in the batter too, if you felt like it.

  18. Diana Hovey says:

    I was simply looking for a refresher (oven temp, baking time, etc) before bringing out my mother’s old lamb cake molds, as I have done every Easter for fifty years. We have NEVER used string…brilliant! And our molds have no vent in the back. As you can imagine, we have ALWAYS had leakage onto the well-oiled cookie sheet….As a child I loved to eat these cake blobs while the lambs cooled. My children did the same. This year I shall drill a small hole in each back, and get myself some “kitchen string.”..I am looking forward to a more comely product. The lamb backs were always rather flat!

    Every detail of this blog is lovely. Many thanks, and Happy Spring.

  19. Marcy Golembiewski says:

    Susan, I’ve been making lambs for many years. Some years the little guy is sturdier than others; I do use toothpicks for the ears, but never thought to reinforce the neck w/ skewers. Thanks for that tip.

    Wanted to try a new recipe this year & yours sounds delicious. Question, though: Could I leave out the lemon zest without jeopardizing the texture of the cake? Not all of the kidlets like lemon.

    Thanks so much for your wonderful tips & recipes! Happy Easter ~

  20. Taylor H says:

    When you make your cake, does the cake fill up the top half of the mold? The cake tasted delicious, but it didn’t quite fill up the mold. The back piece easily lifted off because the cake never even reached the mold. Do you know why it didn’t or should I not worry about it filling up the entire mold.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, mine does, and I even had batter left over. As long as it looked pretty when it was done, I wouldn’t worry.

  21. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, happy Easter Sunday. My husband and I just finished making your lamb recipe. It’s in the oven now and beginning to smell wonderful. I had enough batter for nine cupcakes, too. My mold does not have the little vent hole so hope it turns out ok. It’s snowing here and the ground was covered last night when we came out of church. But our house is filled with tulips, daffodils and beautiful hydrangeas. Spring is in our hearts even if not outside yet.

    • Elaine in Toronto says:

      Me again. Just unmolded my lamb cake. Ears, head, neck in tact. Looks just like yours. That’s what you get when you follow instructions to a tee – perfection! Now to the icing!

  22. Cheyenne Renard says:

    I cant wait to make the Lamb Cake since i adore the Lambs my self and my street out side of where i live is Lamb Bl. funny huh. Thank you again for all you do for us . God Bless you all . Love Cheyenne from Henderson Nv

  23. Cheyenne Renard says:

    Dearest Sweet Sue Where did you find that lovily plate with the gold . I adore Oval any thing . Any idea where i can find some thing like that.?? Im sure you found it antiquing but it doesnt hurt to ask . Love to you my dearest Cheyenne from Henderson Nv

  24. Jane Elspeth says:

    Thanks so much for your grandmother’s recipe! I have one of these old lamb pans I bought years ago and it came with a recipe, but I’ve lost the recipe. Also love the way you decorated it, sweet..

  25. Pauline says:

    I have a lamb mold (which I’ve used to make the black sheep–chocolate!) but I have a hard time transporting the finished cake to someone’s house & keeping it fresh till we’re ready to eat it, because it’s the wrong shape for any container I can find. What do you put your lamb cake in when you’re bringing it to a gathering? (I must try the lemon version–it looks delicious. I think most children will gladly eat lemon-flavored cake if you don’t tell them it’s lemon.)

    • sbranch says:

      I just wrap it in lots of plastic wrap and carry it on a tray on my lap . . . you’re right, it doesn’t fit in anything.

  26. Bernadette Haderlein says:

    Dear Susan, I just found my lamb cake mold. I love your use of the coconut. My family loves that flavor combination. We use my husband’s grandmother’s pound cake recipe, so it is a lovely combination of family traditions. Happy Easter.

  27. Eric Garmon Wallace says:

    I have collected these molds for years and absolutely love the nostalgia that comes with the molds. This year is my very first Easter with my son and I was looking for a “how to” guide and recipes. As a single parent, I want to begin new traditions as well as continue my family traditions with my baby boy. Thank you so much! Easter was quite lovely.

  28. Pam McConnell says:

    Hi Susan,
    I made my first ever lamb cake last year, and it turned out perfect! Such a gorgeous little cake, but unfortunately, I deleted the pictures by mistake. The only drawback was that I used a boxed pound cake mix. Ugh! I never used one and it was as dry as sand. My question is, is your lemon cake moist? I’d love to make another one and your recipe sounds really good! Oh, I found your site last year, and I may not have used your recipe then, BUT, the toothpicks and skewers worked great! thanks so much!

    • sbranch says:

      I would say that the Daffodil Cake recipe is moist-ish — it can’t be TOO moist or it will fall apart, so I think my recipe is probably about as moist as a lamb cake can be!

  29. Eileen K says:

    Susan, I was given one of your books as a gift, and I, in turn, bought 15 copies to give to my girlfriends. Your words and art are a gift. I am almost certain that I owned your cookbook at one time, gifted by my sister to me, but haven’t found it in the walls and halls of my house (I’ll buy another). I just feel like the pictures of the apples is something in my memory bank. Now, for the lamb cake….I bought a rusted cast iron lamb mold many years ago and displayed it without ever using it. This year, I’m cleaning it (tough job) and plan to make your Lemon Daisy cake recipe. I grew up with a bakery lamb cake that would sit on the mantel of our Chicago bungalow fireplace until serving time. Happy spring to you. Thank you for brightening my world!

    • sbranch says:

      Nice to hear from you Eileen! Good luck with your vintage lamb mold . . . they do make the most darling cakes!

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