Martha Meade Lamb Cake – Eight Days of Lamb Cakes

Posted on Apr 5 2012 - 6:24am by RetroRuth

Look at this face!!!


This adorable face belongs to lamb cake number 5, Martha Meade’s Lamb Cake.  This is yet another recipe that came from the huge stash of recipes from Martha K. (Hi, Martha!) and I picked this one to try out because it has something that not many of the other recipes had: Flavoring!

This recipe called for grated lemon peel, which I was really excited about. A lemon-flavored lamb!?! Yum! Unfortunatly, this recipe, while having the benefit of flavoring, also had the drawback of no baking directions. So, I was basically flying by the seat of my pants on this one. So, I went with an educated guess and baked the lamb at 350 degrees for an hour. Which was totally the wrong thing to do.


See?? Dry on the outside, and raw in the middle. Darn it, darn it!!!!

At least the frosting turned out.  After the melting frosting of lamb #4, I decided to make allowances for the heat wave we were going through and adjust accordingly.  This is “High Humidity Buttercream”, which is from an old issue of Mailbox News.  I have always wanted to try this frosting because it has Dream Whip powder in it!


But no matter what it looks like, Tom was still down with trying it. Sort of.

“Turn more sideways. And hold your fork up more.”

“Like this?”

“No! Not like that! More topwise.”


“And then try to look up and down at the same time.”


Tempers are wearing thin.


Tasting notes for the lamb cake:

Dry and crumbly on the outside, but raw in the center. Cooking time and cooking temperature needs to be adjusted.  Good lemon flavor, tasted good with the frosting.

Tasting notes for the frosting:

Good. Sweet, but not overly sweet. Tastes like bakery doughnut cream filling. Made a sugar “crust” when left uncovered. Slightly gritty.

The Verdict: The cake was raw, so the verdict is really out on this one. I think if the temp was changed, it would be an okay cake. But you might be better off just adding lemon zest to one of the better cake recipes.  The frosting was really good, and I would recommend it!

High Humidity Buttercream

From Mail Box News from Maid of Scandinavia

1 1/2 cups high ratio shortening

2 T dry Dream Whip Powder

1 T Vanilla

3-4 T unsifted flour

2/3-3/4 cup milk (lesser amount in hot weather)

2 lbs confectioner’s sugar

Blend shortening, Dream Whip Powder and flavoring in large bowl. Beat until light and fluffy like stiff whipped cream. Then add flour, milk and confectioner’s sugar. Beat until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Martha Meade Lamb Cake
A lamb cake with lemon flavoring. The baking method for this version hasn't been tested fully. Baking the cake at 350 degrees for 1 hour yielded a cake that was dry on the outside and raw in the center. Proceed with caution!
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ salt
  1. Cream butter.
  2. Add sugar to creamed mixture.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and mix.
  4. Add sift dry ingredients together and add slowly to batter.
  5. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 90 minutes.

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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15 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Eartha Kitsch April 5, 2012 at 9:18 am - Reply

    They’re just all SO cute though! I’m holding off on attempting my first lamb cake until you get through with all of the tests… I’m so excited!

    • RetroRuth April 12, 2012 at 6:28 pm - Reply

      Let me know when you finally get down to business, I can’t wait to see a pic of your lamb!

  2. Sara In AZ April 5, 2012 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Ooohhhh, this one does sound good with the lemon!

    • RetroRuth April 12, 2012 at 6:28 pm - Reply

      The lemon was good! But if only it hadn’t been raw…

  3. Amanda April 5, 2012 at 10:19 am - Reply

    I heard you on WPR this morning and had to stop by to visit. Love your site – very cute! Will be coming back often.

    • RetroRuth April 12, 2012 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Amanda!! Glad you caught the show and glad you like the site!

  4. Mia April 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    Aww…Cute (dry/raw) Little Lamb!

    • RetroRuth April 12, 2012 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      🙂 I know, poor baby! Oh well, at least he looked good…

  5. Martha K. April 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    Dear Ruth, If I ever come across the directions I will send them to you, I didn’t realize they were missing.

    In reference to the Vintage Bakery frosting: Did you use salted or unsalted butter?

    P.S. Our local A.J.’s market bakery had Lambie Cakes today! I couldn’t believe it. Of course, not any where near as cute as any of yours, but to the untrained eye they would get by.

    • RetroRuth April 12, 2012 at 6:30 pm - Reply

      Hi Martha!!

      Sorry I didn’t respond sooner. I used unsalted butter. When in doubt, go unsalted!

  6. veg-o-matic April 7, 2012 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    They still make Dream Whip? 😉

    What is “high ratio” shortening?

    • RetroRuth April 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm - Reply

      Ha ha, Veg!!

      High Ratio shortening is a professional shortening used by bakeries. It has added emulsifiers in it that allow it to hold more sugar and food coloring and has a less greasy mouth feel. I get mine through mail-order!

  7. Judy B. July 15, 2012 at 10:03 am - Reply

    My daughter just sent me the link to your blog…I love it! I immediately clicked on Lamb Cakes. I’ve always wondered where my mother got her lamb cake recipe. Now I know it was Martha Meade since it calls for the grated rind of one lemon. (Btw, you need to add that to your ingredient list in the printable recipe.) The lamb cake pan my mother had–and that I now use–makes a longer, skinnier lamb, so baking it at 350 for one hour works perfectly for us.

  8. Catherine April 4, 2015 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    I used the Renaldw cake recipe, it was okay, but still a little dry. Baking time was right on the money, and came out of the mold beautifully(this was my Very First Lamb Cake!)!!! I will incorporate the lemon peel in my next cake, but you don’t tell us how much…. I will try 2 teaspoons, and still use the vanilla, ’cause I love vanilla…
    Thank you for your tips, they really helped! I hate greasing cake pans, so I used my handy-dandy pastry brush to get ALL the nooks and crannies, then floured. Worked perfectly. The reinforcing neck and ears was also an inspiration, did you notice the shape of the cross….?

  9. Tamara Mahoney Kneisel April 5, 2015 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    So this is my family’s lamb cake recipe except that you add the zest of one lemon at the end… the noel thing that is different is that my grandmother’s recipe (for a cast iron mold) is baked at 350-360 degrees for 50 mins. Never fails. Frost with butter and powdered sugar frosting, then add the coconut (optional).

    But I sometimes think I could make this recipe better with vanilla or almond extract for flair… and it can be a bit dry. I may experiment in the future with banana or applesauce. It is however exactly the right amount of batter for the mold.

    Hope this is helpful to those of you wanting to try it!

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