The lamb cake is a tradition here, there’s no important catholic celebration without it as the centerpiece of the coffee table. Christening: lamb cake for the reception after church. First communion: lamb cake for coffee. Easter Sunday: lamb cake for coffee. Easter Monday: leftover lamb cake for breakfast… You get the drift.
I managed to dig my great grandma’s cast iron lamb mold out of the basement a few years ago. It was in questionable shape and a bit rusty, like most of my cast iron when I acquire it, but I had it quickly back to its deep, dark glow.
The secret to a good looking lamb cake is picking a recipe that’s rich in eggs and butter. You don’t want anything low fat (at least not in the cast iron), or things will get really sticky really fast. And there’s nothing worse than a celebration with a lamb cake that’s missing half its face because it’s stuck in the pan. I have my great grandma’s recipe, but kept messing with it over the years. Now, the lamb cake is always a different one. This one is half whole einkorn.
But let’s start at the beginning:
Make sure your cake mold is clean(ish), then grease it properly. I use my homemade pan grease for my cast iron, it releases all the baked goodies like a charm. Give the pan time to soak up a bit of the grease while you make the batter and you’ll see if you need to add a bit more in certain spots.
- 300g butter
- 250g sugar
- 250g eggs (5 medium)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp rum
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 2 heaped Tbsp greek yogurt
- 200g all purpose flour
- 200g freshly milled einkorn
- 130-150g milk
- pinch of salt
Beat butter, sugar and eggs until creamy, then add everything else. Alternate the milk and flour. You’re looking for a stiff batter, kinda like plaster.
Fill the batter into the face part of the lamb mold until it’s full to the brim. I use a chopstick to make sure there are no air bubbles in the nose and to carefully spread the batter into the ears.
I was a bit too generous with the ingredients for this recipe, there was enough batter left for 4 muffins.
Once the bottom part is full, carefully place the empty half on top and shove it on a cookie sheet into the pre-heated oven. 180°C / 350F, convection fan on. Let it bake for 45 minutes.
The cookie sheet is there to keep the mold level and to catch possible overflow before it starts sticking to your oven’s floor.
After those 45 minutes, take the mold out of the oven and place it on a wire rack. Ignore it for the next half hour, until it’s just warm to the touch and you can handle it without gloves. That way the cake can settle, IF there’s anything stuck, it can steam itself loose, and the cake will be sturdier and easier to handle.
Carefully take off the back half of the mold. There’s probably some spill, so the lamb will have a visible seam all around. We’ll deal with that later. For now, we just need to trim any excess dough at the ears, so they won’t break off.
My Dad told me that his Grandma always put headless matches into the ears to stabilize them, so you could definitely do that, but I’d forget that they’re in there and I really don’t like to be surprised by chewing on a piece of wood.
Then carefully tilt the mold upright and slide the lamb out so it lands on its base. Perfect release, you can actually count the lamb’s ribs.
Now you can use a pair of scissors to trim the seam. Wait at least another hour before you cover the lamb with powdered sugar (my preference) or swirls of buttercream.
Enjoy (with lots of coffee, of course ☕) and have a blessed Easter Weekend!
Today’s baking playlist (catching up on youtube):
- The Bite Shot
- Vincenco’s Plate
- Sizzle Brothers