“A gluten free cake lamb cake?”, my husband asked when he saw the credit card bill for the lamb mold I’d purchased. “Why yes, of course!” I naturally responded.
His dumbfounded look necessitated a thorough historical response, covering the fact that there are many food traditions that go hand-in-hand with religious holidays. The Easter Lamb Cake is one with a wonderful history.
A tradition with origins primarily in Eastern European Catholic families, the lamb cake symbolizes the “Lamb of God,” the sacrifice of the lamb, and new lambs/new birth in the spring at this most holy of Christian holidays. Made in cast medal molds passed down through the generations, these cakes often have deep sentimental roots as well.
I decided to invest in one of the heavy cast aluminum molds that I could pass on to my children (hey, there’s no time like the present to start a new family tradition!), because I knew I would love making this cake. As you can see, I made a chocolate cake so that my cake would be a Suffolk Lamb, with distinctive black faces and white wool (you could tell it was a Suffolk Lamb, couldn’t you?).
My husband had to admit he was impressed when all was said and done. And it made a lovely Easter dinner centerpiece! Make this gluten free Lamb Cake a part of your family’s Easter tradition with this delicious recipe!
Make cake batter according to scratch recipe (link above).
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Prepare the lamb mold by oiling it very well, particularly the nooks and crannies (i.e. the ears, nose, etc.). Fill face side of the mold to within 1/4 inch of the rim. Place the back side of the mold on top of the filled mold. Place filled mold onto a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Test for doneness by lifting off the top side of the mold using potholders and test with a toothpick. The cake is done if the toothpick comes out clean. Remove to completely cool before frosting.
(*Note: if your mold comes with directions, follow the specific baking directions prescribed for your mold. For example, if your mold is not made of a heavier cast metal material, you may need to tie a string around the two mold pieces to keep them together during the bake.)
Since my lamb mold is only 7 inches, I had enough batter leftover to make about 16 more chocolate cupcakes (bonus!).
To frost, make your favorite white frosting and fill a piping bag with frosting and a small star-shaped tip. Place stars of frosting all over the cake where the “wool” should be. Go around the stars loosely with a toothpick, swirling the stars into puffs of “wool.”
To make the green “grass,” fill a small zip-top bag with shredded coconut and 3-4 drops of green food coloring. Shake to distribute, then sprinkle around the cake.
If you have extra cupcakes and any extra colored coconut, consider making another Easter treat: Easter Basket Cupcakes!