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5 from 1 vote

Lamb Cake

This is a step-by-step recipe for the traditional Easter Lamb Cake. It creates a beautiful and delicious centerpiece dessert!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Cooling & Decorating Time1 hr 45 mins
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cake, Easter, Lamb Cake
Servings: 16 pieces
Calories: 370kcal

Equipment

  • Lamb Cake Mold
  • Toothpicks
  • Baker's Twine
  • Aluminum Foil

Ingredients

For the lamb cake:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature, yolks and whites divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup shortening such as Crisco
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup whole milk

For the frosting:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoon whole milk

To decorate the cake:

  • Brown food coloring optional
  • Pink food coloring optional
  • Shredded coconut optional
  • Green food coloring optional
  • Jelly beans optional

Instructions

For the lamb cake:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously spray both sides of the cake mold with baking spray and dust liberally with granulated sugar (yes, sugar, not flour. Trust me). Shake out excess sugar if necessary.
    a hand sprinkles granulated sugar into a lamb cake mold coated in baking spray.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together the shortening and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate bowl with a hand mixer or whisk, whip the egg whites until thick enough to hold stiff peaks, set aside.
  • Add the egg yolks to the sugar mixture, one at a time, mixing well until fully incorporated, scraping down the bowl again as necessary. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Working in three batches, add the dry ingredients and stir to combine, alternating with an addition of milk (so, it should go flour-milk-flour-milk-flour). Just before batter is completely mixed, gently fold in egg whites, being very careful not to deflate batter.
    A woman mixes the cake batter for traditional easter lamb cake by folding in egg whites.
  • Place the front end of the cake mold face side down on a baking sheet. Fill with all of the cake batter (it’s going to be really full, y’all). Place toothpicks inside the batter along the lambs ears, head, and neck for added support.
    A lamb cake mold filled with batter and inserted with toothpicks for stability.
  • Place the back half of the cake mold over the top to seal. Tie together with butcher’s twine in a few places to ensure the mold will stay together (if you have one of the fancy cast iron ones that weighs a few pounds, this step isn’t totally necessary).
    A lamb cake mold is closed and secured with butcher's twine.
  • Wrap the head of the cake mold in a layer of aluminum foil and the ears in a second layer of foil before baking in preheated oven for 45 – 55 minutes. Yes, there is no way to tell if the cake is done, you can’t peak, you can’t check, you can’t test. Truly, you just have to go with your gut. Oven temps vary – mine typically hitting at 52 minutes, though I’ve taken it to 55 for a very golden brown cake.
    A lamb cake mold has its head wrapped in aluminum foil to prevent burning.
  • When you feel ready, remove the cake from the oven (if there’s been a little cake batter overflow, don’t mind it, that’ll come off no problem). Cool cake in mold on a wire rack for about one hour, or until just barely warm to the touch.
  • Remove foil helmet and butcher’s twine. Starting from the bottom of the mold, gently press the front end of the mold into the cake (and away from the outer, back half, of the mold, to release the cake at the seam). Continue all the way around the mold to begin releasing the cake. At this point, you should feel the cake loosen and become free from the back half of the mold. Remove the back half of your mold. Flip cake over on the cooling rack and gently pry the front of the mold from the cake. Behold the beauty you have created.
  • Cool cake completely on wire rack. (It’s at this time you should notice the beautiful crust created from the coating of granulated sugar!)
    A perfectly baked and cooled lamb cake sits on a serving platter

While the cake cools, prepare the frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together the butter and the cream cheese until smooth, about one minute. Scrape down bowl before adding remaining ingredients. Working in quick pulses to avoid a powdered sugar explosion, begin to incorporate everything. Gradually increase speed once powdered sugar is incorporated and whip frosting until light and fluffy, adding more milk if necessary. (For this recipe I like a stiffer frosting so that it holds the shape of the decorations better, but if you’re going casual with the decoration, a softer frosting will do just fine.)

To decorate the cake:

  • Take 1-2 tablespoon of frosting and color with a drop or two of brown food coloring. Place in a piping bag and snip the end off just a tiny amount (like a few millimeters). Repeat the process with the pink food coloring and another 1-2 tablespoon of frosting and set the prepared piping bags aside.
  • Take your totally cool cake and, if necessary, trim off any ridge along the bottom of the cake where the seams met for the two sides of the mold. Place a thin line of frosting along the same area and secure cake to a platter or cake stand.
    A baked lamb cake is secured to a serving platter with frosting
  • Around the face area of the lamb, gently cover with an even layer of frosting to provide a canvas for creating the lambs face.
    The face of a lamb cake is covered in frosting.
  • Using a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 22 tip randomly pipe swirls, rosettes, and stars of frosting around the body, head, and ears of the lamb to create the “wool.”
    Frosting is piped all over an Easter lamb cake in a random patter to create "wool."
  • To create the lamb’s nose and mouth: pipe a downturned pink triangle in the center of the face with a front facing “J” coming out of the bottom and to the left of the nose and a backwards “J” coming out and to the right.
    The eyes, nose, and mouth are piped onto an Easter lamb cake.
  • To create the lamb’s eyes: Carefully pipe two half circle shapes above and equidistant from either side of the lamb’s nose. Add lashes by simply touching the tip of the piping bag to the eye and dragging down. Clean up any messy areas with a toothpick.
  • If you want to have your lamb laying in a bed of coconut “grass” simply dye 1 – 2 cups of flaked coconut with green food coloring and mix well with a fork before spreading around the platter of the cake. A few scattered jelly beans never hurt either.
    Dyed coconut is sprinkle around the base of a lamb cake.

Notes

  • I added the egg yolks into this recipe (even though the original doesn’t call for it), for some much-needed fat and moisture, however this does not produce a ridiculously moist and airy cake. She’s gonna be thick and dense, moreso like that Sarah Lee Poundcake you can get from the freezer section.
  • Lamb cake is best served the day it’s made but can be kept, frosted, for an additional day if necessary.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 370kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 60mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 339IU | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 1mg