Lamb-Shaped Easter Cake recipe
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- Dish type
- Celebration cakes
A very simple and moist cake to make for Easter. It's flavoured with vanilla extract, almond extract, bourbon and chopped pecans. Top with your favourite white icing.
5 people made this
- 450g butter
- 600g caster sugar, divided
- 8 eggs, separated
- 375g sifted plain flour
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 75ml bourbon
- 60g chopped pecans
MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:1hr30min ›Ready in:1hr45min
- Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
- Cream together butter and 400g sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in egg yolks one at a time. Gradually mix in the flour, alternating with the vanilla, almond extract and bourbon. Beat until smooth and creamy.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Beat 200g sugar into egg whites.
- Gently fold flour mixture into egg white mixture. Blend pecans into the batter. Pour into a lamb-shaped cake mould.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let cool in the mould for at least 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(5)
Reviews in English (5)
Awesome! This was wonderful and exactly what I was looking for. I'm kind of mold-stupid so I had to make it in two halves and then stick 'em together w/ frosting, but my family ate the whole thing. I used a homemade german chocolate frosting... Thanks for the great recipie!-22 Aug 2010
My lamb cake mol is very old, bought for my first Easter. I thought I try a new recipe having always used a doctored box cake. I was surprised at the left over batter, enough to fill a bunt pan.-05 Apr 2012
Lamb Cake Recipe: Ancient (or Strange) Easter Tradition
This Easter, experience the tradition of the lamb cake! Read on to learn how to make one and where this tradition started.
Oh, Easter. Reese's eggs, jelly beans, and pretending to like Peeps.
The Easter Holiday is rooted in the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ - with a whole lot of sugar on the side. And plastic green grass. Please Lord, save us from that plastic green grass.
Yet there's one Easter baking tradition that either you KNOW or you don't. To some, this cake is a familiar, comforting sight, though somewhat confusing. To others, it's just confusing.
The Easter lamb cake, a cake baked in a lamb-shaped mold, decorated with frosting, candied eyes, and coconut grass, finds its history in Polish and other Eastern European traditions.
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For the lamb cake:
Heat oven to 325°F. Coat lamb cake mold with cooking spray and generously dust with flour. In a large bowl, cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well. Add flour beating until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted near center of cake comes out clean. Do not over-bake. Remove from oven, and let sit until cool. Remove from mold and let cool prior to decorating.
For the frosting and decoration:
In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar and flour. Add milk and mix well. Cook over low heat until boiling and thick like custard. Pour into a large bowl and let cool thoroughly. Add room temperature butter, vanilla and beat with a mixer on high speed until it resembles whipped cream.
The frosting may seem thin, but it will thicken once it's applied to the cake and refrigerated.
Add sweetened shredded coconut all over the cake to resemble the lamb's wool, jelly beans for the eyes, nose and mouth, and add licorice or blue ribbon for its bow tie.
Traditional Easter Lamb Cakes
Lamb Cakes are symbols of springtime, and Wilton makes it easy to bake and decorate your own little lamb. The origins of this treat are debated every Easter, but the Stand-Up Lamb Pan has been in the Wilton line for nearly 40 years. It’s the original precursor to 3-D cakes!
I love this project because it’s got a lot of “wow!” factor but it’s still really easy to do. Even if you bake a Lamb Cake every year, it’s a good idea to read through all the instructions for the pan before beginning because proper baking and cooling times are important for a sturdy finished lamb.
It’s important to use a heavier cake batter, like pound cake. Thicker batter won’t leak out of the pan before it has time to set up in the oven, and once the lamb is baked and cooled, it will be sturdy enough to stand up. The pan bakes perfectly with 5 cups of cake batter. You can easily convert a double layer boxed cake mix into a pound cake by following the formula at the end of this post, or use a homemade recipe for pound cake. Whichever way you choose to bake, don’t be tempted to fill the pan with more than 5 cups of batter – use any extra to make cupcakes.
Line the bottom of your oven with foil as insurance. If filled properly, the pan won’t overflow, but just in case, the foil will be easy to clean up. Preheat the oven to the temperature specified in your cake recipe.
Spray both pans well with Bake Easy™ or another nonstick cooking spray. If you prefer to grease and flour your pans, use a pastry brush to get into every nook and cranny. Dust insides with flour and shake out the excess. Cover any spots that are still shiny with more shortening and dust with flour.
Mix your pound cake batter and pour 5 cups of it into the bottom half of the lamb. Five cups will fill it all the way to the top, until it is almost overflowing. If your batter is so thick that it doesn’t flow evenly, spread it to the edges of the bottom pan. Line up the top pan with the bottom pan. It’s easy to tell the pans apart because the top one has a hole punched in to insert a cake tester or toothpick.
Using kitchen string, tie the pan together in 2 places (kind of like trussing a lamb to roast, only easier!). I like to tie mine at the neck and around the back end. The strings ensure that the rising cake batter won’t force the pan halves apart.
Bake the lamb cake in the center of the oven for 50-60 minutes. Test for doneness by poking a toothpick or cake tester through the hole on the top pan. When it comes out clean, your lamb is done.
Remember that I mentioned that baking AND cooling are very important? Now that it’s baked, the cake needs a chance to cool down and firm up. Remove the pan from the oven to a cooling grid and don’t open it for 5 minutes.
Snip the kitchen string and remove the top half of the pan, cooling like this for 5 more minutes.
Replace the top half of the pan, turn the cake pan over (use oven mitts – it will still be very hot), and remove the bottom half of the pan. Let the cake rest like this until it is completely cool, about 4 hours.
Remove the cake from the pan by placing one hand gently on the cake surface and setting the cake and pan upright on a serving platter. You’ll be able to carefully slip the top pan away from the cake. If the lamb does not stand level on your serving platter, trim the bottom or prop it up with icing.
There are lots of ways to decorate your Lamb Cake, including a Flower Lamb Cake, Herb Crown Lamb Cake, Fluffy Lamb Cake and my favorite, Sweet Chocolate Lamb Cake.
Think outside the box too – this pan can be used for so many other things! You can pay tribute to your dog or kitty with a few different decorating techniques. One Wiltonite uses her Lamb Pan every Halloween, but she bakes a red velvet lamb and detaches the head to get into the spooky spirit.
Can you think of other ways to use the pan? How will you decorate your Lamb Cake this year? Be sure to check our website for other Easter cake ideas and Easter bakeware.
Pound Cake from a Boxed Cake Mix
1 box (about 18 oz) cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 package (3.8 oz) instant pudding mix (use vanilla for white or yellow cakes, use chocolate for devils food)
Mix all ingredients according to cake mix instructions. For Lamb Pan, bake as instructed above.
A Lamb Shaped Cake for Easter
You still have time to order a lamb shaped cake pan, if you'd like to make this cake for Easter and still need the pan!
Last year I purchased a Nordic Ware 3-D Spring Lamb Cake Mold, to use for our Easter Cake, and it turned out so cute! I just used a boxed pound cake mix, and made sure to grease and flour the pan really well, and thankfully had no complications removing the lamb from the pan.
Here are the Preparation, Baking and Decorating Instructions from NordicWare, for any of you that may have the pan, but are missing the directions:
Oh, my goodness! I have one of those pans from my late mother. She would use a cake mix, like you do, white frosting with coconut all over. I would cut up black jelly beans for the eyes, a pink one for the nose and a sliver of a red one for his little mouth.
I would rather make a scratch cake, but don't know how much to put in. You've brought back a nice memory!
I love your mother's idea of using the jelly beans for the eyes, nose and mouth. Very cute!
I just pulled out the instruction book that came with my cake pan and it says that you fill the bottom half of the mold with the prepared batter - about 3 cups. It also says that if you are using a regular cake mix (pudding added) to decrease the liquid by 1/4 cup.
I think that the pound cake is dense enough to prevent it from falling apart without any modifications. Hope that helps!
I went ahead and updated the post with the complete directions from my Instruction Manual. :)
Oh I'm so excited! I ordered my pan from Nordic and got it today!! I was a little surprised that you put batter only in one half but I suppose that makes sense. The batter will rise as it makes, then?
Yes, the batter will rise and fill in the other half of the pan as the cake bakes.
Lamb cake! Lamb cake! We have it every year. thanks for the lovely reminder :)
Osterlamm – German Easter Lamb Cake
Simple, buttery cake topped with powdered sugar baked in a lamb shaped pan makes the utterly delicious and traditional German Osterlamm or Easter Lamb Cake!
I wasn&rsquot going to post this cake. I mean, Easter is over and it&rsquos not really something just anyone can make. You have to have the special Osterlamm pan to make and those are hard to get unless you live in Germany. But, when I got asked a dozen times for the recipe, I decided that it was probably a good idea to put it up!
My German friend Mareile remembers her Oma (Grandma) making Osterlamm when she was a child and today Mareile makes it for her two children. Our babies, Matty & Lena, were born 2 weeks apart from each other and are baby BFFs now! This picture was from their first Easter together in 2012.
For most of the world, the Osterlamm is just a delicious treat, but here in Bavaria, Germany it has a more important meaning for those who believe the Catholic faith. The symbolism of the lamb goes back to the Passover lamb, which is sacrificed in Judaism for Passover. Because Jesus was Jewish, the Last Supper took place on the evening of Passover and he was crucified on the day (sacrificed) was, this symbolism has arisen. In Germany, a lamb is sacrificed at Easter, but baked in commemoration of the resurrection, a cake in the shape of an Easter lamb.
In the weeks preceding Easter, each bakery bakes and sells hundreds of these cakes. Some are covered in powdered sugar, some a lemon glaze and some even cover them in chocolate and candies. My favorite is with the powdered sugar and then dunked in my coffee! So delish!
The right cake for your lamb cake pan
I’ve used my favorite pound cake recipe. It’s a dense cake that strong enough to keep its shape and the ears attached as your decorating. I find this a simple recipe, but if you prefer to use a mix, be sure it’s a pound cake.
Most moist, pudding in the mix, cake mixes have a texture that’s too soft for this 3-d cake. Whatever cake you’re using, let me encourage to you use this Polish trick when preparing the pan.
Butter the pan and then sprinkle with (unseasoned) breadcrumbs. It guarantees perfect release from the pan.
10 Tips For The Perfect Retro Easter Lamb “Lambie” Cake
It’s Lamb Cake time. For the last two weeks I have been baking lamb cake after lamb cake in my grandmother’s vintage lamb cake pan. Why? Well, after this story came out in the Wall Street Journal, a ton of wonderful people emailed and snail-mailed me vintage recipes and tips to help me on my quest to make the perfect lamb cake. I have to admit I was very excited, so I decided to try out as many recipes and tips as I could.
And they worked!! Let me tell you, after one small mishap in the beginning, everything went smoothly, and not a single lamb lost his head! So, since a lot of people have been emailing me and asking me for help, I thought I would share all the tips I tested with you guys so you can all have great lambs, too!
1. Grease the HECK out of your lamb pan.
I cannot stress how important this is. Some of the vintage lamb pans, like mine, have so many tiny details in them that if you don’t get every single nook and cranny, you are going to end up with a disaster on your hands. Some people wrote to me and recommended Baker’s Joy or Pam in the spray can, but in the end I discovered that liberally applying shortening with a paper towel and carefully going over every bit was the best way to go. It may be time-consuming, but it gave me a good result every time.
2. Flouring your pan is MUST!
I have to admit, there have been many times when I have greased a cake pan and skipped the flour step, or used homemade pan-ease (which is just flour and shortening mixed) to get everything done in one step. This does not work with the lambs. You need both steps to ensure that the lamb pops out at depanning time. And make sure to keep an eye out for “naked” spots after flouring and go back over those with more shortening. Skipping the flour can end in disaster, so to avoid tears and tears, flour is a must!
3. Fill your lamb on the “face” side of the mold.
Put your lamb face-down on a large cookie sheet or sheet pan. Fill the lamb to just under the rim of the mold with your chosen cake batter. Be sure to spread batter gently into the ear cavities to ensure that your lamb actually ends up with ears. If you don’t do this, there is no guarantee that the batter will fill the ears during cooking.
And lambs without ears look really, really weird. Trust me on this one.
4. Add support to your lamb cake before it is baked.
This is time to add your structural support to your lamb cake. One of the recipes that was photocopied from a major cookbook and sent to me stated, in a matter-of-fact way, that the head of your lamb cake was bound to roll off, and not to worry about it. It claimed you could just use toothpicks and frosting to glue it back together and everything would be great. Which is sort of a lie. Anyone who has ever made a lamb cake and had the head come off knows it is a delicate procedure to get it glued on. You need a whole lot of sticky frosting and a couple thousand toothpicks, and when you are done the lamb looks like it is wearing a neck brace. And even after a patch job you are nervous come serving time.
I am going to be the first to tell you that this does NOT have to be the case. Yeah, it is possible for the head of the cake to roll off, but the chances will be greatly reduced with a couple of quick toothpick placements. The lamb needs one toothpick in each ear and the thickest food grade bamboo skewer or pick you can find for the neck. The skewer should be placed about one inch in from the top of the head and extend into the body. I did this with every lamb cake recipe I tested, and I didn’t have a single head roll off. Poke these down slightly into the cake and make sure they are covered with batter.
5. Tie your lamb cake mold shut with baker’s twine.
I am kind of ashamed to admit that this bit of advice, which I received from multiple wonderful people, was a complete revelation to me. I had previously, if you can believe this, been baking my lambs in two separate pieces and trying to glue them together with frosting. Why? Well, because if you put the top on without any string, the cake doesn’t rise into the second half of the mold. It just all oozes out through the cracks and makes a complete mess. I have been told that the oldest lamb molds were heavy cast iron, and this didn’t used to be a problem. The lamb mold I have, and that I am sure many people use, is made from aluminum and isn’t heavy enough to stay closed on it’s own. But a couple of sturdy pieces of string, tied tightly, eliminates the leakage and lets the cake rise into the second half.
Make sure your strings are tight and hold the mold closed! Even little gaps can let batter leak out.
6. Bake cake for the maximum amount of time called for in the recipe.
Once your lamb is tied up nice and tight, unless you are lucky enough to have a vintage Renalde mold, there really isn’t a way to check whether or not the lamb cake is done in the center. After I pulled a cake that was completely raw in the middle, I decided that unless you know your oven and have made your recipe so many times that you know exactly how long it takes, it is best to just leave the cake in for the maximum time called for in the recipe.
7. Cool cake properly before removing from mold.
Your lamb will crack apart if you try to shake him out too soon. The best method I found is this one: Let your lamb cool for 15 mins after removing it from the oven. Then cut the strings on the mold and remove only the back half. Let cool for another 15 mins before flipping the lamb over and attempting to remove the face.
8. Loosen edges on the face side completely before trying to de-pan your lamb.
Your lamb, if you made it properly, will contain sugar, and sugar is sticky. Especially the caramelized sugar around the edges of the pan. I run a sharp knife around the edges of the lamb cake, and then carefully pull the cake back from the edge to make sure it is free. If you skip this, things aren’t going to go well. Those thin little ears are going to be crispy and completely stuck to the edge of the pan. And we already covered how dumb the lamb will look without ears, didn’t we?
9. Let your lamb cool completely before trying to frost it.
I know, I know. You want to get the little sucker upright now, because you are proud of how he came out in one piece. But you must wait. If you try to make him stand now, he is just going to crack. I found it took about 90 mins after the final de-pan for the lambs to be cool enough to sit up straight.
10. Give your lamb a good base to sit on.
The same sharp knife you used to loosen your lamb is useful once again. Use it to cut off the bottom ridge created by the mold. This will give the lamb a good solid base. Also, remember that it will need some glue to sit upright. Use a knife to spread a good amount of your frosting over the base you plan on putting your lamb on. Then gently pick the lamb up and place him directly on the frosting stripe and make sure he is secured.
And there it is! Your perfect retro lamb cake, ready for frosting and decorating!
Easter Lamb Pound Cake
Spring is finally here ushering in warmer temperatures during this Holy Easter week. This time of year always reminds me of the great Easter feasts we would have at my Grandmother or Teta’s home after church. The meal usually involved a spiral ham with lots of side dishes and tons of desserts. The one dessert we all enjoyed in addition to the poppy seed cake was the annual Easter Lamb Pound Cake my dear Teta made. She and my Grandmother had the old cast iron lamb molds and would prepare several of these pound cakes every Easter. Though my dear grandmother and great aunt have passed on, my mother has fortunately kept the lamb pound cake tradition alive as she gifts all of her children a lamb every Easter Sunday. While our family enjoys these gifts from mom every year, I decided to go out and purchase one of our own lamb molds so we can prepare these for future generations of my own family. My newest acquisition is not the heavy cast iron model, but aluminum. It does a great job and seems to hold up quite well. Best of all, I found this treasure on e-bay for under $25.
Some rules to go buy when baking in these lamb molds. First, make sure you stick to using a dense cake batter such as pound cake. A regular cake or sponge cake is too airy and will fall apart easily when using the mold. A second rule is that the sky is the limit to decorating your lamb. Many people like to coat the lamb with white icing and then apply the “wool” of the lamb or in this case, coconut. This creates a very artistic lamb, though I usually pass on the frosting and coconut and simply shake the lamb with a generous coating of powdered sugar and add a few raisins for the “eyes”. I do like to rest the cake on Easter grass and sprinkle the perimeter of the lamb with jelly beans and chocolates. If you are looking for a lamb mold I highly encourage you to check out cake ware companies such as Wilton or even visit e-bay (that’s is where I found my mold). You will see a large range of prices from about $20 upwards to over a $100, depending on metal type and age. There are a few cast iron models that can be pricey, though the aluminum mold does as good a job.
For those that have the molds and do not have a recipe, I will share my tried and true method with you and wish you all a Happy Easter.
Easter Lamb Pound Cake Recipe (makes two lambs)
1 lb butter
1 lb confectioners’ sugar
3 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Grease and flour lamb mold.
3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
4. Add eggs (two at a time), flour, baking powder, and extract.
5. When well blended, pour cake batter into “face” half of lamb mold.
6. Place other half on top and place entire mold on cookie sheet and place into oven.
7. Bake for one hour.
8. Let mold cool on cake rack for five minutes and carefully remove from mold.
1. Prior to baking make sure every crook and crevice is adequately greased to prevent cake batter sticking and causing problems when loosening from mold.
2. When batter is poured into mold, consider submersing a toothpick in the “ears” portion of the batter to strengthen their connection to the head while baking.
- Unsalted butter, softened, for molds
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup seedless blackberry or raspberry jam
- White-Chocolate Buttercream for Lamb Cake
- White-Chocolate Curls
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter both halves of an 8-cup lamb-shaped cake mold. Dust with flour tap out excess.
Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add egg and yolk, 3/4 cup warm water, the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Beat on low speed until smooth.
Pour batter into halves of molds. Bake until a tester comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in molds on wire racks 30 minutes. Unmold let cool completely.
Trim flat side of each. Trim excess from edges. Cover flat side of 1 cake with jam. Turn halves upright stick together.
Spread a thin layer of pale-yellow buttercream over cake, sealing edges. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Spread with a second layer, smoothing around head.
Cover with chocolate curls (exclude head). Put brown buttercream in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip pipe eyes and mouth. Refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
Photo Tutorial: Cake Decorating
I highlighted the features on this picture, so the cake doesn&apost have a death-like stare. You could carefully carve or paint an expression, if you were so inclined.