The Joy of Cooking Lamb Cake – The Eight Days of Lamb Cakes

Posted on Apr 7 2012 - 6:44am by RetroRuth

It’s Day #7, and here is the seventh lamb cake!


The recipe for this cute little guy was sent to me by Laura, who writes:


I am writing on behalf of my mother Susan who read about your Lamb Cake issues. She wants you to know that she uses the recipe from Joy of Cooking (page 601 edition 1931-1953) she made that cake for years and always had success (However, I think when my Kids were young and they strung black jelly beans behind the lamb and told her that the lamb was pooping she lost a little interest) Happy Easter PS She wants you to remember to be sure to put the lamb mold on a cookie sheet when you are baking it!!



Thanks for the recipe, Laura! The batter for this one was very thick, and the cake was very stable when I made it. This was one that probably could have done without the supports, but I added them in just to be on the safe side.


The frosting I chose for this one was Miracle Frosting, once again from the archives of the awesome Martha K!  Miracle Frosting is from the Renalde Cake pamphlet, which gave us the fantastic lamb cake recipe that most closely resembled by grandmother’s recipe.  I chose this frosting because I wanted an easy marshmallow type frosting that didn’t involve boiling sugar syrup. This frosting recipe was great because it eliminated the worry about your frosting “breaking” and sliding down the cake because you didn’t boil it or mix it for long enough!

The only thing about this recipe was the temperature. The orignal calls for raw egg whites, and doesn’t cook to the safe temperature for eggs. I tried this recipe with pasteurized egg whites and it was a complete failure. But I found that if you use raw egg whites from the shell, you can just let the frosting hang out over the hot water, stirring it, until it reaches 160 degrees. It does not change it a bit in terms of texture.


Then you can use it to frost your lamb!

And you don’t have to be worried about anything. Except that you might be feeding your husband too much lamb cake.


Lamb cake testing notes:

A little dry. Lamb has a bread-ish taste and isn’t very sweet. Could use a bit more flavoring, but was a very thick, stable cake. Would taste better with a sweeter frosting.

Frosting testing notes:

Stable, didn’t weep or slide. Would be better with a lighter cake. Looks great as “wool”, doesn’t need any coconut.

The Verdict: The cake was good, but would be a better cake with more flavoring and more butter. But otherwise very stable and easy to work with. The frosting was very good, and easier to work with than the boiled sugar-version. I recommend Miracle Frosting if you like your lambs with fluffy marshmallow icing!

Miracle Frosting

Miracle Frosting

A very easy way to make a nice, fluffy marshmallow frosting without having to worry about sugar syrup. Make sure the frosting reaches 160 degrees to be sure your raw egg whites reach the safe eating temperature.


  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 scant cup sugar
  • 3 T cold water
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • Combine all ingredients except vanilla in large metal bowl or top of double boiler.
  • Put bowl or top of double boiler over hot water. Beat 3-4 mins with beater at high speed.
  • After the frosting is of spreading consistency, leave over hot water until temp. of frosting reaches 160 degrees.
  • Stir in vanilla and use immediately to frost cake. Makes enough to frost one lamb cake.

The Joy of Cooking Lamb Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
A sturdy, dense lamb cake. Not very sweet and not very flavorful.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 T butter
  • 2½ cups plus 2T cake flour (sifted before measuring)
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¼ tsp salt
  1. Sift together try ingredients except salt.
  2. Cream sugar and butter until fluffy.
  3. Add dry ingredients alternatly with milk in three batches. Beat the batter after every addition until it is well-blended.
  4. Beat egg whites and salt together until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter.
  5. Bake cake at 350 degrees for about an hour.
This lamb needs a sweet frosting and coconut "wool"!


WordPress Author Box

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 (

Like us on Facebook
on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter
Follow @MidCenturyMenu on Twitter

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

Leave A Response

Rate this recipe: