Tuesday, April 3, 2012


When I was growing up the store window of Buttercup Bakery at Easter time was filled with 3-dimensional lamb cakes frosted with white icing, sprinkled with coconut and decorated with blue ribbons tied around their necks. A lamb cake was a must on our Easter table. When I was a teenager my Mom bought me an aluminum lamb cake mold for my hope chest.

I never saw the cakes in a bakery when my children were growing up so I made my own with the mold Mom had given me. When my first Grandson was three, I went to Los Angeles to visit him during the Easter holiday. I put the lamb cake mold in my suitcase to take to him. Matthew, my son, happened to see the mold in my case and said, "You better bring that back." Oh, so I better buy two more lamb molds so each of my children will have one! I called a supplier only to find that the mold had been discontinued. I scoured junk shops to find two more and then discovered that kitchen shops still sell the heavier cast aluminum lamb mold.

Lamb cake.

Bob, my son-in-law, likes to tease Christy and I about all our family customs and the lamb cake took its share of jest. It was with delight I made him eat his words when I found out that the custom for lamb cakes originated in the same country as his ancestors, Czechoslovakia. There it is called "Beranek" and is traditionally baked on what is called "Green Thursday", the holy day that commemorates Jesus washing the disciples' feet. The white cake is made to serve on Easter Sunday where it is given a place of honor on the table and symbolizes the Lamb of God. Tradition dictates that a blue satin ribbon with a small bell be tied around the neck of the cake. It often isn't frosted just dusted with powdered sugar with raisins used for the eyes and nose.


My old cookbook where I found this recipe.

This recipe makes an excellent basic cake or cupcakes. I've used this classic recipe for over 50 years to make a 3-dimensional LAMB CAKE in a two piece cake mold. Cakes baked in a mold need to be firm and compact. If using a cake mix with a mold, use one that is just a plain cake mix not a super-moist one.

To bake a cake in a mold, the mold must first be heavily greased with shortening, then well dusted with flour or heavily sprayed with non-stick cooking spray with flour. Areas like the nose of the lamb can be reinforced by putting toothpicks in the batter. Be careful when serving to remove the toothpicks. Fill the side of the mold without steam vents; fill to the rim. Put top on the mold and wire or tie the mold closed.

Bake the filled mold on a cookie sheet at 350° F. for about an hour. Check for doneness by sticking a toothpick into a steam vent. Cool mold on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Carefully remove top mold. Cool another 15 minutes. Put mold back together and turn over and remove bottom mold. An alternate way of cooling, my favorite way, is to take the cake from the oven, place on a wire rack and immediately with gentle care remove top mold. After 10 minutes replace top mold, turn to other side and remove bottom mold. Repeat until cool.

Do not try to stand cake up until it is completely cool.

1/2 c shortening
1 1/2 c sugar
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 c cake flour*
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 c plus 2 T milk

*(A substitute for cake flour is a cup of all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons of flour taken out of the cup.  Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to the cup of flour to make up for the 2 tablespoons taken out of the cup.)

Ingredients:  Cake flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, shortening, eggs, vanilla, and milk.

Ingredients for baking:  Baker's Joy or Crisco cooking spray with flour, lamb mold, wire, and cupcake pan.
Toothpicks for support, if desired.  I usually forget to use them.
Ingredients for decorating:  Frosting or powdered sugar, canned icing for attaching eyes, nose, and mouth, blue ribbon, bell, waxed paper, raisins, blue candy, optional, and cherries.

Measure the flour, baking powder, and salt into a sifter or a sieve, sift or sieve the mixture a couple of times.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, or 8-cup glass measuring cup, cream shortening.  Gradually add the sugar and beat the shortening and sugar together until fluffy. Add vanilla and beat well.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add some of the flour mixture to creamed mixture. Beat until mixed.  Add some of the milk and beat until mixed.  Alternate adding the flour and the milk, a little at a time, beat after each addition till smooth. Begin and end with the flour when mixing.  Bake in 2 greased 9-inch round pans at 375° F. for about 25 minutes or follow instructions for Lamb Cake which bakes at 350° F.

What a cutie!


Marcia Wilz of Ohio lost her Mom, Dorothea, in 1969 when she was 11 years old. She remembers her Mom as a wonderful cook, but it wasn’t until 1993 that she discovered her Aunt Hilda had some of her Mom's "receipts". Seeing her Mom's receipts brought back all the memories of her Mom making Christmas candy, Easter lamb cakes and just beef stew. Memories made in the kitchen touch all our senses and are forever.

1/2 stick butter or margarine
1 1/2 oz. cream cheese
1 box (1 lb.) powdered sugar

Blend butter, cream cheese, several drops of milk and 2 tablespoons of sugar with an electric mixer until very creamy and smooth. Add alternately sugar and milk until proper consistency and amount desired is attained.

Lamb cake is more easily frosted when frozen. Frost head first, then back, the sides last. Sprinkle with coconut, if desired. Add raisins for the eyes and nose; a slice of maraschino cherry or piece of dried cherry for the mouth.

For the cake:  Put flour, baking powder, and salt in a sifter or sieve.  Sift or sieve a couple of times.
Set aside the dry ingredients.
Heavily spray the lamb mold with floured cooking spray.
Put the shortening in a mixing bowl and cream until fluffy.
Gradually add sugar, beating well, until mixture is fluffy and light.
Add vanilla and mix well.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Second egg goes in, beat well.
Gradually add flour and milk alternately.  Start and end with flour.  Beat until smooth after each addition.
Add some of the milk.  Beat until smooth.
Add more of the flour, beat until smooth.
Add some milk.  Continue until all the flour and milk are in the batter.
Check the mold and make sure all of it is well sprayed with floured cooking spray.  Re-spray any spots that need it.  Put the mold on a cookie sheet.
Fill the side of the mold, without steam vents, with batter up to the rim.
Reinforce ears and nose with toothpicks, if desired.
Put the top on the mold.
Wire or tie the mold tightly together.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for an hour or until toothpick put in steam vent comes out clean.
Make cupcakes with additional batter.
Baked cake.  Remove wires and put the mold on a wire rack to cool.
Very carefully remove top of mold.  Let the cake cool for 10 minutes.  Put the mold back together.  Turn over and carefully take the other side of the mold off.
Let cool for 10 minutes.  Put the mold back together.
Turn the mold over, remove the top of mold and let cool for 10 minutes.  Continue to do this until cake is cool.
To decorate:  Put pieces of waxed paper around the lamb to keep serving dish clean.
Frost head of cake, then back and finally sides OR put powdered sugar is a sieve.
Dust cake with powdered sugar.
Put a squirt of frosting on a piece of waxed paper.
Dip one side of blue candy or pieces of raisins in the frosting.  Attach the eyes.  Use a piece of raisin for the nose.  Attach it with frosting.  Use a piece of cherry for the mouth attached with frosting.
Decorate around the Lamb with colored eggs, chocolate eggs, Easter basket grass, or whatever you would like.
Even though the cake is compact and sturdy, it is still light and fluffy.  I like to serve the powdered sugared cake with crushed, slightly sweetened fresh berries, and whipped cream.  Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!!!!


  1. I found your blog last night when I googled fresh kielbasa.

    What wonderful stories you tell about your recipes. I love your Easter Lamb cake. I remember seeing them as a child but have never made one. We had a lamb molded from butter for our Easter dinner.

    I am looking forward to checking out the rest of your blog.

  2. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. Lamb molds are still available on the Internet.