My Cousin Denise reminded me of the most important Italian Easter traditions which is the baking and decorating of the Lamb Cakes!
My Grandfather and my Father, Jim both created these and sold them in their bakery in Chicago, Sarnos Pastry Shop. The image is from a bakery in St. Louis, which is the closest detail what our family created!
Here the Easter Lamb Cake is simply frosted with a star tube. What I enjoy most are the ones that are covered in fluffy coconut!
You may also color the coconut as well or toast it if you like. Many people don't take the time to dip the head in fondant then finish with a buttercrean then paint the features, you have to do this or your Lamb Cake will look like a Bichon Frise! don't forget the bows!
Serving your creation: Everyone starts from the rear and slices toward the head unless some kid (I'm not saying who) snaps off the ear or even worse cuts from the head! Bless me father for I have sinned, I ate the lamb cake head!
Easter Lamb Cake (Recipe) print version
- Thanks to Patricia for the detailed recipe!
2 1/4 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg whites
First, prepare your mold. Coat with vegetable oil, let sit for a few minutes then wipe clean with a paper towel. Then grease and flour your mold, making sure to get all the little areas.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Sift the cake flour, then sift again with the baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk. Stir the batter until smooth after each addition. Add the vanilla.
In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then quickly fold in the remaining whites.
Fill the face side of the mold with batter. Move a wooden spoon through the batter GENTLY, to remove any air pockets. Make sure not to disturb the greased and floured surface of the mold.
Put the lid on the mold, making sure it locks or ties together securely that the steam and rising batter do not force the two sections apart.
Put the mold on a cookie sheet in a preheated oven for about 1 hour. Test for donenes by inserting a skewer or wooden toothpick through a steam vent.
Put the cake, still in the mold, on a rack for about 15 minutes. CAREFULLY, remove the top of the mold. Before you separate the cake from the bottom let it cool for about 5 more minutes so that all the steam can escape and the cake can firm up some more.
After removing the rest of the mold, let the cake cool on the rack completely.
Do NOT sit the cake upright until it is completely cooled.
Frost with any white icing of your choice and decorate to look like a lamb.
To decorate your Easter Lamb Cake like the one above, follow these steps.
You want to make pourable fondant icing
- 6 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- In a saucepan, combine confectioners' sugar, water and corn syrup. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a temperature of 92 degrees F (33 degrees C.) Mixture should be thin enough to pour, but thick enough to coat the lamb cake cake.
- To cover the face of the Lamb cake: lay the lamb cake on a wire rack back down, with its face up. Pour the fondant over the face and ears of the cake. Repeat if necessary to have even coverage.
- Once the fondant has set up move your lamb cake to a serving dish or to a white cardboard cut to size.
- you may frost the remainder of the cake body including the back of the head and back side of ears. You can use a star or special frosting tip to create texture of wool by piping stars and then fluffing through with at toothpick. I personally like to use coconut to create the look of fluffy wool.
- You should have a white face and inside of ears, the remainder should be frosted and coated with coconut.
- To paint the face use non-water based food coloring mixed with the fondant to paint the nose, you could use the image on Cook-Italian.com as a guide
- Tie a ribbon around the neck where the fondant meets the frosting.
- Continue decorating the base of the cake which sits on the plate. Surround it with Gordon almonds, candied chocolate eggs, Easter grass etc.