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How to make a lamb-shaped cake for Easter

How to make a lamb-shaped cake for Easter
Posted at 8:55 AM, Mar 18, 2024

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Lamb cakes are a spring dessert that your grandmother might have made for Easter. But baking a lamb cake is an equally fun and festive project you can do today.

The lamb is associated with Easter through the symbolism of Jesus being the sacrificial “Lamb of God.” Lambs, along with bunnies and chicks, are also popular springtime animals. Whether you see the cake in a symbolic light or just as a cute dessert for your spring-themed table, making a lamb cake is a tasty undertaking to try at this time of year.

The Lamb Cake’s Popularity

The height of the lamb cake’s popularity peaked in the mid-20th century (along with jello molds and other elaborately shaped foods). But thanks to the internet, vintage recipes like this one have seen a more recent second life as they recirculate online and home bakers find how-to tutorials.

A good example of this was when Ruth Clark of the Mid-Century Menu blog saw a lot of traffic to her website after an article published in The Wall Street Journal referenced her pursuit of the perfect lamb cake. For over a decade, she held an annual lamb cake decorating contest on her blog and shared her tips on how to make the perfect lamb cake.

I’ve enjoyed trying different versions of this Easter dessert, going back to when I first heard of it. I was in college and visiting my aunt and uncle for Easter. My aunt showed me how she used a vintage cake pan and her mother’s recipe to make a very cute lamb cake.

Later on, once my kids were old enough to appreciate one, I bought my own lamb cake pan to try to make a lamb cake myself.

Here are a few lamb-shaped cake mold options to choose from to make your own lamb cake at home.

Nordic Ware Spring Lamb 3D Cake Mold

Nordic Ware Lamb cake pan

$19 at Amazon

The aluminum pan I have is from Nordic Ware and available on Amazon.

Easter Lamb-Shaped Cake Mold

 

Kaiser lamb cake mold pan

$22 at Amazon

Another lamb mold option is this German-made one from Kaiser that includes clamps to keep the mold shut—a crucial component of the baking process.

3D Silicone Easter Lamb Cake Molds 

 

Silicon lamb pan

$27 at Amazon

Or there’s this non-stick silicone lamb-shaped cake mold option from Kamehame.

How To Make The Perfect Lamb Cake

Choose Your Batter Wisely

I followed some of the guidelines at Mid-Century Menu when I made my first lamb cake around six years ago.

I initially used just a regular white cake, which was harder to keep in one piece after baking. An ear crumbled off and had to be stuck back on with frosting, and the neck threatened to buckle.

More online research told me a key factor to a successful lamb cake is to make a pound cake, which is denser and will hold up better for this upright cake. (My aunt later backed up this tip.) The next time I made a lamb cake, I tried this, and the pound cake was definitely sturdier.

If you can find premade pound cake mix, that’ll make the whole process quicker. But I’ve also tried various from-scratch pound cake recipes over the years. For my most recent attempt, I decided to try out Meatloaf and Melodrama’s lamb cake recipe, which includes the retro-esque use of yellow cake mix, sour cream and instant pudding.

Grease And Flour Your Cake Mold

Lamb cake pan greased and floured
Anna Weaver/Simplemost

It’s important to grease and flour both sides of your mold before pouring batter into the face side of the cake. Give the filled mold a gentle shake or tap to help get rid of air bubbles, and make sure the batter settles into all the little nooks and crannies of the lamb pan.

Reinforce The Lamb’s Neck And Tie The Cake Pan Shut

lamb cake in pan
Anna Weaver/Simplemost

I highly recommend putting toothpicks, cut chopsticks, wooden skewers or other food-safe sticks in the neck and head of the batter for extra reinforcement after the lamb cake is baked and standing upright.

You must tie the two sides of your cake pans together, either with twine, string or some other method. This will keep the batter from oozing out of the sides of the two tins while baking.

Bake Your Lamb Cake

Lamb cake pan tied shut
Anna Weaver/Simplemost

You could also put batter in each side and bake them side by side, but then you’ll have to “glue” the two sides together with icing, and there’s a chance they won’t stick well. Plus, it’s more work.

Let The Lamb Cake Cool

After you bake the cake in the mold laid sideways on a baking sheet, let it cool for 15 minutes before opening one side, then let it cool a little longer before removing the other side. Don’t try to stand the cake up until it is fully cool.

Remove The Lamb Cake From The Cake Mold

Lamb cake cooked by pan
Anna Weaver/Simplemost

When I took the sour cream-pudding-cake mix pound cake out of the lamb cake mold this time, I noticed it could have baked a little longer. It stuck a bit on each side. This is also why it’s important to really butter and flour the pan sides. But luckily, the decorating process hides a lot of flaws.

Frost And Decorate Your Lamb Cake

I made the powdered sugar and butter-based frosting Meatloaf and Melodrama recommends, and it’s a tasty one. I spread the icing all over the lamb’s body and then patted on shredded coconut for the lamb’s coat.

I dyed some icing a dark blue for the eyes and added some light pink icing to the ears and nose. Then I used food coloring to turn coconut flakes green for “grass” and added some candy eggs. I used natural food dye for the green coloring, but if you want a more vivid shade, go with regular food coloring.

My final lamb cake was far from professional, but it’s still a sweet and adorable dessert. And my kids approved.

Lamb cake
Anna Weaver/Simplemost

Other Easter lamb cakes I’ve made were frosted with dots of icing all over (see below) or just simply covered in one layer of buttercream. You could also sprinkle your cake with powdered sugar for a naked look. If you’re a more skilled cake decorator, you could make swirls with a star tip (like Meatloaf and Melodrama’s lamb cake), use a ribbon tip for a ruffly coat or various additional methods to personalize your lamb.

Lamb cake
Anna Weaver/Simplemost

If you’re wondering if you can find any other uses for this very specifically-shaped mold, I’ve actually made a Daniel Tiger “lion cake” inspired by the messy cake from the PBS show’s first episode. With some creativity, the body shape could be used for other animals, too.

Daniel Tiger messy cake
Anna Weaver/Simplemost | PBS

Or, just enjoy making this classic Easter lamb cake dessert once a year! The pan doesn’t take up much space, and making this cake can be a tradition you look forward to every spring.


How to make a lamb-shaped cake for Easter originally appeared on Simplemost.com