Pope Family Lamb Cake – Eight Days Of Lamb Cakes

Posted on Apr 4 2012 - 6:48am by RetroRuth

Welcome to Day 4 of our 8 Eight Days of lamb cakes!  I hope you guys are enjoying the tested recipes!  Today we have a great one, which was sent to us by Natalie Pope.


Cute, huh? Natalie writes:

Ms. Clark:
I saw the article in today’s WSJ. I have been making this lamb cake successfully for 25 years, as my mother and grandmother did for many years before me. Attached is the recipe, it makes 2 lamb cakes.
Natalie Pope


This batter was time consuming to make, but it tasted soooo good. Not, you know, that I eat cake batter straight out of the bowl or anything. Cause that would just be silly. Especially after how much I go on about not using raw egg whites in food.


It baked up well, but depanning was a little difficult.


And don’t forget, like me, that the recipe is for two lambs! But if you do forget it makes about a dozen extra cupcakes that are very yummy.


See?? Good texture!

Oh, and the frosting for this recipe came from Martha K.’s mega stash of cake mold recipes. It is a recipe from the Animold Cake Mold pamphlet put out by M.G. Merz Aluminum Foundry, and the recipe is called “Frosting for Animold Bunny Cake.”


From the lamb cake testing notes:

Very good. Buttery flavor, dense but moist. Good texture with an almost caramel flavor.

From the frosting testing notes:

Good taste, but frosting was a little gritty.  Was very melty – do not make in hot weather!

The Verdict:  Excellent cake. This one was a very good cake with a pound-cake texture. It was easily Tom’s favorite, and the only cake that he ate right down to the ears. Thanks so much, Natalie and the rest of the Pope family! The frosting was good, but not our favorite. And it was very runny in hot weather.

*UPDATE – This recipe was made by Jenny over at Jenny’s Jaunts, Jottings and Junk, and she and her family loved it! It was also made by Lynn over at Fidlstix, and turned out so cute!

Pope Family Lamb Cake

Pope Family Lamb Cake

A nice, dense lamb cake with good flavor and texture. Tom's favorite lamb cake we tried, and something we will be making again.


  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 beaten egg yolks
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole milk


  • Cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks, salt and vanilla.
  • Sift together flour, cornstarch and baking powder. Add alternately milk and flour mixture to creamed ingredients.
  • Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.
  • Grease and flour pans, put toothpicks in ears and popsicle stick in neck and cover with batter. Bake at 350 degree oven for 55 mins.


This recipe makes enough for two vintage lamb pans, or one lamb pan and a dozen cupcakes.


Frosting for Animold Bunny Cake

Good taste, but a little gritty. Make sure you beat it well!


  • 1 1/2 T butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 1/2 T cream


  • Combine butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.
  • Add cream and beat until fluffy. Use immediately.



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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit in...to 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 (www.midcenturymenu.com), No Pattern Required (www.nopatternrequired.com), and I Ate The 80's (www.iatethe80s.com).

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

  1. Sara In AZ April 4, 2012 at 10:32 am - Reply

    Hmmmmm, this one sounds pretty darn good if he ate it all the way down to the ears! 🙂

  2. Jenny April 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    I tried this recipe and it truly was an excellent cake!!!

    • RetroRuth April 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm - Reply

      That’s excellent, Jenny! I am SO glad it turned out for you!

  3. Jennifer April 6, 2014 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    When you say this makes 2 vintage lamb cakes do you mean 2 lambs or 2 halves of a lamb?

    • RetroRuth April 7, 2014 at 8:19 am - Reply

      It makes two lambs! So, fill the face side completely, put on the back and tie the mold shut and bake. There is enough batter to do that twice. If you don’t want two lambs, you can either cut the recipe in half or make cupcakes with the extra.

      • Jennifer April 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm - Reply

        Oh okay, thanks! Was this the recipe you ended up choosing to make for Easter? I couldn’t find the post where you said which was was the winner.

        • RetroRuth April 7, 2014 at 3:07 pm - Reply

          Hi Jennifer! I actually ended up making the Renalde Lamb cake, which you can find here: http://www.midcenturymenu.com/2012/04/renalde-lamb-cake-recipe-the-eight-days-of-lamb-cakes/

          Just ignore the horrible frosting on it, because it is a great cake. It was my favorite, but Pope Lamb cake was Tom’s favorite. Both cakes are excellent cakes, but the Pope cake is a heavier texture, more like a pound cake, while the Renalde cake tastes more like a Twinkie in texture!

  4. Bernadette Miller April 19, 2014 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    I made the Popefamily recipe today and it turned out very well.. Thanks for your tutorial as that helped immensely.

  5. P'Gell April 26, 2014 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    I used this recipe for my Lambie Cake this year. My dad and step mom have Easter, so the cake has to be transported. I’ve used pound cake recipes in the past, and they transport well, but they don’t rise into the mold properly all the time.

    This recipe took a bit of time (as multi bowl cakes do) and I filled the Lambie mold and then added some cocoa powder, oil and a TBS of sugar to the leftover and put it into my Easter Bunny mold.

    Lambie came out nicely, I frosted her and set her up for transport in a box, as I always do, with skewers in the cake to support her against the sides of the box. We got to my dad’s house (about 10 miles from our house) and Lambie had disintegrated! I was very sad, trying to put her together. The Lamb cake tasted good, but it didn’t hold together, even though I had used skewers inside before baking. The bunny cake (I was given a Lamb mold along with a bunny mold years ago) was…. inedible. It was dry and had a texture like stale bread. I always simply add some cocoa powder, oil or melted butter and a bit of sugar to whatever Lambie cake recipe I’m using to make the chocolate bunny cake but I’ve never had a failure like this before.

    Some recipes are more amendable to changes I guess. I may use this recipe again, but I wouldn’t make any changes to it. Pound cake recipes are more forgiving than beaten egg white cakes, anyway. 🙂

    Next year, I’ll try a different one. 😀 Maybe I’ll transport the cakes lying down in cake takers and frost them and set them up once we get to Dad’s house.

  6. Amanda October 1, 2014 at 10:49 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! I used the Pope recipe with a lambie pan I got at a yardsale. It was perfect. I used Alicia Paulson’s Cloudburst Frosting and it was beyond perfect! You should try it. Just google those words and it will pop up.

  7. joanne dover March 24, 2015 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    Hi…I am going to try this one for my lamb cakes this year. Just a question…It calls for 3 cups sifted flour and then in the instructions it says to sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Now, 3 cups of sifted flour is a different than 3 cups of flour. The end result is different. Please let me know if you measured our 3 cups of flour and then sifted it. Really enjoyed reading your journey…thanks…Joanne

    • RetroRuth March 24, 2015 at 2:44 pm - Reply

      Hi Joanne! The flour is double-sifted. Sift, then measure three cups of the sifted flour, then sift it again when combining with the baking powder and salt. Good luck! 🙂

  8. joanne dover March 24, 2015 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    Thank you….I thought so, but wanted to be sure….j

  9. Heather Brown April 5, 2015 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    Hey ya. Thanks for the recipe. I used it but substituted Goya coconut milk for the whole milk. It baked up into a dense and a tad crumbly cake but with an awesome flavor. I used the extra coconut milk to make icing ( the old Crisco, powdered sugar, pinch of salt standby). I let my daughter do the decorating. It involved Peeps and resulted in a pack animal looking lamb:-D , but the taste was very good. It was sweet and dense, but not cloying or over the top. We plan to make this recipe again next year. Thank you so much for doing this.

  10. Anna M. Krause April 14, 2017 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    When I was a child my grandmother would have all 6 grandchildren over to bake the lamb cake. It was an awful cake, dry, crumbly, and every one came with a warning be careful of the toothpicks. It’s ears would fall off, it’s neck would break, it would partially stuck in the pan; she hated making it. Traditionally it was decorated with white frosting, covered in coconut, clove nostrils & eyes, and red cherry slice mouth, with a satin bow around its neck and nestled in Easter hay with jelly beans…no one ever wanted to eat the head. It occasionally came with a popsicle stick fence because it had a broken neck-it was truly an awful cake and mold. My mother thought it was a good idea for both her daughters to have a lamb mold and for us to continue the tradition…I dyed my batter red one year and that got me out of the task for a long time. This year the cousins (we’re mostly in our 50’s) are having a lamb bake off…in honor of sooo many flops. Thank you so much for the tutorial and ‘lamb baking tips’!-My ears are on! My neck is intact, and the cake is tasty! So far so good, and soooo much better than our family recipe. i am going to use a cream cheese frosting on mine this year…dyed black.

    I have it on good authority that one of my cousins has made three practice lambs one of which she made into a birthday cake for her husband and its neck broke. Prizes will be given, most original, most unique, best flavor, most number of toothpics, the ugliest, the most attractive…you get the point. Liquor may be the reward-which has yet to be decided,…but with your tips and the Pope family recipe black sheep or not I’m thinking I might win! Happy Easter, Happy Spring!

    • RetroRuth April 14, 2017 at 8:13 pm - Reply

      Hi Anna! Thank you for a wonderful story, and so glad you and the cousins were able to inject some fun back into lamb making! I would absolutely love to see some pictures if you manage to grab some shots of the fun. Fingers crossed for you and your black sheep!

      • Anna M. Krause April 15, 2017 at 10:12 am - Reply

        Will do Ruth! I’m crossing my fingers too!

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