Hello again and welcome to another fun vintage recipe test!!! This week we have a very important and serious thing to talk about.
Every year since I have been about 16 I have tried to make a cake in the shape of a lamb for Easter. I inherited a fantastic and superior lamb cake pan from my grandmother, and SHE used it to make an Easter Lamb for my Dad’s family Easter every year. I remember the lamb cakes very vividly, although I don’t really remember how they tasted.
Which is sad, because I didn’t inherit a recipe to go with my lambie cake pan. And I am pretty much on an eternal quest to find THE perfect lamb cake recipe.
In the past I have made a lot of lambs. Cake mix lambs, pound cake lambs, chocolate lambs and even carrot cake lambs. The latter has been a standard for the last two Easter dinners, but this year I found a new recipe to experiment with.
This recipe comes from Festive Foods, which was published in 1965 by Milwaukee Gas Light Company. If you are from the Milwaukee area, then you know what this means. It means that this book is a classic that is jam-packed with great recipes. These cookbooks, which were put out annually, always had the most amazing recipes in them. Especially the cookie recipes. In fact, the cookbook recipes were SO popular that a few years ago they put out a “best of” cookie cookbook for the Christmas season, which was a must-have on my Christmas list.
Needless to say, I had high hopes for this baby.
Unfortunately, my mom and I gabbed so much while we were baking that I completely forgot to take pictures of the process. But here is the finished cake:
Ok, ok. I can hear you all yelling. I know. This is not a true lambie cake. This is a travesty. It’s laying down for God’s sake. Everyone knows a true lamb cake sits up, proudly showing off it’s fleecy, sugary frosting-coat encrusted with tinted coconut. But let me just explain what happened. This is honestly the best I could do.
Mom and I followed the recipe exactly, but it didn’t turn out at all. The lamb crumbled coming out of the pan. And I don’t just mean it cracked. It actually shredded. There was nothing left but a head and some chunks. The rest of it was basically dust.
As I was standing over the crumbs, wailing, my Dad sauntered over and snagged a bit of cake and popped it in his mouth. Then Tom did it. Then my mom. Someone even popped a piece in my mouth to get me to shut up. Soon we were all standing around the crumbled lamb, eating it bit by bit.
“This tastes like something,” my Mom said, “but I can’t think of what.”
“Cake,” Tom said.
“It almost tastes like a muffin or something,” my Dad said.
“I’ve got it!”
“Cornbread! It tastes like cornbread!”
And it did. It tasted like cornbread. Shredded cornbread.
I commenced wailing again. I didn’t want to serve a cornbread-tasting shredded lambie for Easter. I wanted a glorious cake. Cake!!!
“We’ll just paste it back together with icing,” Mom said as she gnawed on the lamb’s backbone. “You’ll see. Here, have some face.”
So, I sadly ate a piece of cake as I whipped up my carrot cake sheet cake base the lamb was supposed to sit on, and I thought of what to do. Then I thought some more as I made the cream cheese icing for the carrot cake.
Sure, I could glue the lamb together with frosting, but we had eaten most of the crumbs already. There wasn’t nearly enough to even begin a pasting job. Besides, I had picked an incredibly light frosting for the top (PW’s That’s The Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had) , one that wasn’t suitable for gluing anything to anything.
Suddenly, I knew what I was going to do. I reached out and slapped the piece of the lamb’s leg out of my Dad’s hand. “I have a plan,” I said, “get out of the kitchen and stop eating the lamb!”
Thinking of the Pioneer Woman had, in some strange way, jolted my brain into action. I knew what to do with the crumbled lambie. I would cake-pop him.
By now, pretty much everyone knows about Bakerella, and her disgusting/decadent (disgustingly decadent?) cake pop creations. And they are really, really simple to make. All you need is a crumbled cake (check!) and enough frosting to mix it into goo. The resulting goo is then formed into balls or formed around a stick to be a pop, and then decorated. And if they can be formed into a ball, there is no reason why a crumbled lamb can’t be mixed with lemon curd and then pressed back into his mold, is there??
Nope. No reason at all.
And that is how the Lemon Lamb was born. And he was go-ood. But, as LeVar Burton would say, you don’t have to take my word for it.
The Verdict: This was NOT the ideal lamb form cake. It needs tweaking. The resulting cake was dry on the outside before it was even cooked in the center, and crumbled when it was removed from the pan. It also tasted like cornbread without the cornmeal. I have had better luck baking carrot or pound cakes in the separate lamb halves and then gluing the two halves together with icing. However, if you are looking for a good, dry cake to make into cake pops, this made an excellent base when mixed with lemon curd, which is even more moist than frosting!
Lemon Curd Lamb was a stroke of genius!
Oh so sad! I’ve always wanted a lamb cake at Easter as well as a butter turkey for Thanksgiving. 🙂 Good thinking with the cake pop, he turned out ok!
When I was a kid, my mother would occasionally bake panda bear cakes. She had a complete set of pans (there were four or five for different body parts that had to be baked separately) and a recipe that had come with it. The cake was a chocolate-vanilla swirl, and the decorating instructions also called for some parts of the final construction to be dotted with black icing and other parts with white.
The whole process was quite elaborate, and as the years passed, my mother became less and less interested in going through it all. (At the same time, my younger brother and I came to want those cakes even more, as we grew older and appreciated how awesome they were.) She also believed during this period that she was developing some kind of chocolate allergy. I think when we moved, Mom used that as an excuse to give away the whole set. It’s too bad, because I would have liked to make those cakes with my kids now.
Buzz – I don’t think I have wanted anything more in my life than I want those panda pans right now! Curse you and your amazing story!
It was an Easter miracle!
Thanks, Miss RM!
Awwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Poor, poor baby lamb, broken and crumbling all over. That sure was a stroke of genius by cake-popping him back together. Glad it turned out good (in a way), even though the cake was maddening.
You are truly a genius under pressure, Ruth, I probably would have been crying over my ruined cake! (This is why my teenager is in charge of dessert baking, LOL) The lemon curd lamb does look really tasty, though!
Sounds like we have a mission — bake a panda cake for Buzz Jr’s birthday!
Thanks, Andrea!!!! I did cry, for a bit, so I am with you there. 🙂
Thanks, Sara! I thought it turned out surprisingly good myself. 🙂
I love that even though you were quaking, you kept your wits about you and pulled it through in the end! I think that the lemon lamb should be the new tradition. He really WAS cute!
That was a great lamb cake (but the lambcake backbone I snagged was better!!!)
Glad you liked it, Meeem! 🙂