This tried and true Easter Lamb Cake recipe has been passed down for generations. The rich and buttery pound cake recipe is paired with a sweet frosting that has a hint of orange. This delicious cake is the perfect way to finish your holiday meal.
This is also a great recipe for the entire family to help with. Kids will love helping mix the batter, fill the lamb cake mold and of course, decorate the adorable little lamb.
Keep reading for the step-by-step instructions on how to make an Easter Lamb Cake and start your own Easter tradition.
About Easter Lamb Cake
Every family has its own special holiday traditions. Growing up I remember huge chocolate Easter bunnies in my basket on Easter morning. That was followed up with an egg hunt and eating delicious food all day at my grandparent’s house.
When I got married, I quickly gained a new and delicious tradition: the Easter Lamb Cake! As traditions go, this recipe has been passed along the generations.
My mother-in-law learned this recipe from her mom, who got the recipe from a friend, who most likely got the recipe from someone before her.
And now the Easter Lamb Cake torch has been passed to our family. I’m excited to be able to keep the tradition alive and share this delicious recipe with you.
THE LAMB CAKE PAN
For this recipe, I used the heavy cast-iron lamb mold that has been used for decades in our family. I’ll bet it’s at least 5 pounds!
If you’re lucky enough to have a family heirloom like this, you’ll know how special it is. Each time you look at the craftsmanship, it’s like you’re transported to a simpler time.
But if you don’t already have a pan, you can buy one online or possibly at a store that sells cake decorating supplies. Wilton sells an aluminum 3D lamb cake mold on Amazon for under $20.
Choose The Right Cake For Your Lamb Pan
It’s important to choose the right type of cake for your lamb. A pound cake is ideal because it is a dense cake that is strong enough to withstand the unmolding process.
The lamb has a delicate neck and even more fragile ears. The dense pound cake used in the recipe helps ensure your lamb comes out perfect every time.
As you can see in the photo below, this is a sturdy, buttery cake. The gorgeous browned edge has almost a nutty taste to it. Yum!
How To Make An Easter Lamb Cake
There are 4 basic steps to making a lamb cake that we’ll cover in detail.
- Gather Pound Cake and Icing Ingredients
- Prepare Lamb Cake Pan
- Bake, Cool and Remove Lamb Cake From Pan
- Decorate Lamb Cake (Multiple Options)
Step 1: Prepare Cake and Frosting Ingredents
Lamb Cake Ingredients
Here is the basic ingredient list for the pound cake:
- Butter, room temperature
- Cream cheese, room temperature
- Eggs, room temperature
- Granulated sugar
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
Here are the basic ingredients needed for the frosting:
- Butter, room temperature
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Whipping cream
- Orange extract
- Light corn syrup
- Coconut flakes, raisins or jelly beans and ribbon for traditional decoration
Step 2: Prepare the Lamb Cake Pan
One very important thing in making a perfect lamb cake is preparing the pan. Make sure to carefully and thoroughly grease AND flour every nook and cranny in the mold.
Grease The Pan
I recommend using a pastry brush and solid vegetable shortening (Crisco). Or use your fingers if it works better. Just be sure to liberally spread the grease to every part of the pan to ensure it will pop right out after baking.
As a general rule of thumb …When you think you have enough, add a little more! And pay extra attention to those delicate little ears.
Flour The Pan
Don’t skip this step! After greasing the pan, sprinkle flour inside. Shake it around until every part of the pan has a light coating of flour. Tip the pan over to pour out any excess flour.
If you see any of the shiny spots of the pan coming through, be sure to touch it up with grease and flour to prevent sticking.
STEP 3: How To Bake A Lamb Cake
1. Preheat Oven
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2: Grease and Flour Pan
Thoroughly grease and flour the lamb pan mold.
3: Cream Butter, Cream Cheese and Sugar
Add the butter and cream cheese to a large mixing bowl. Beat until well combined. Add the sugar and mix again.
4: Add Eggs
Add one egg at a time, combining well after each addition.
5: Add Dry Ingredients
Slowly add the sifted flour and baking powder. Add a small amount at a time, mixing until incorporated each time.
6: Add Vanilla
Add the vanilla extract and give a final stir to combine.
7: Fill Cake Mold
Pour the cake batter into the bottom portion of the lamb mold. This is the side WITHOUT the vent holes. Fill the mold to the very top, but don’t overflow. Secure the top piece of the mold.
If you have any extra batter, you can add it to any cake pan to make another small cake.
When unmolding and decorating the cake, the lamb’s ears can be fragile. To help provide stability, you can place toothpicks in the batter. Gently press them down until covered with batter. Just remember to remove the toothpicks before serving!
8: Place In Oven and Reduce Heat
Place the filled and secured lamb mold on a cookie sheet, then put it into the preheated oven. Immediately reduce the heat to 300 degrees F.
9: Bake and Test For Doneness
Bake for 1-1.5 hours or until cooked through. Test the doneness by sticking a toothpick or cake tester into the vent hole. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
Step 10: Cool and Remove From Pan
Place the entire mold flat on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes. Then remove the top half of the mold and allow to cool another 5-10 minutes.
Next, carefully remove the lamb from the bottom half of the mold. Stand the cake up to avoid indentations on the sides of the lamb from the wire rack. Allow the cake to cook completely, up to 4 hours, before frosting or decorating.
Step 4: How to Decorate Your Lamb Cake
When the lamb cake is totally cool, it’s time to frost and decorate. There are a few different options for finishing the cake to look perfect for Easter Sunday.
We’ll start with the traditional method that I was taught by my mother-in-law. For this, you’ll need to make some frosting. You’ll also need shredded coconut, raisins or jelly beans and a length of ribbon.
How To Make Traditional Easter Lamb Cake Frosting
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and shortening on medium speed with an electric mixer.
- Slowly add in confectioners sugar, beating after each addition.
- Add just warm whipping cream, vanilla, orange extract and light corn syrup. Whip until smooth and fluffy.
First, place some frosting on the plate or serving platter. This will help hold the lamb in place.
Next, you’ll frost the entire lamb with the buttercream icing. Be extra careful around the delicate ears. Work carefully but quickly to press coconut into the frosting before it starts to harden. If needed you can work in sections to frost, then add coconut.
Finally, it’s time to decorate the lamb’s face. Add raisins or jelly beans for the eyes and nose. Tie a decorative ribbon around the lamb’s neck.
If desired, you can add a few drops of green food coloring to some of the coconut to create green coconut grass to place around the bottom of the lamb. Or you could also use green Easter grass. Add in some jelly beans, candies or other spring and Easter decorations.
Alternative Decorations For An Easter Lamb Cake
Here are 4 alternative methods to decorate your lamb cake.
- If you don’t care for coconut, you can use a pastry bag to pipe fluffly rosettes on the lamb and omit the coconut.
- Or you can skip the white frosting entirely and give the lamb a delicate dusting of powdered sugar.
- Another simple option is to create a quick glaze to pour over the entire cake.
- One last option for a simple but stunning lamb cake is to dip the bottom half in melted chocolate.
Easter Lamb Cake FAQS
Q. How Should I Store An Easter Lamb Cake?
A. An undecorated lamb cake can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer for up to 2 months. If you have decorated the cake, it can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Keep it covered or in an airtight container.
Q. What Variations Can I Make To This Easter Lamb Cake Recipe?
A. Our traditional frosting recipe has a light and refreshing orange flavor. If desired, the orange extract can be omitted. Other flavors that would work well include lemon, coconut or almond extracts.
Q. Can I Make This Easter Lamb Cake Ahead Of Time?
A. This cake does take some time to prepare, so you may wish to have it ready ahead of time. Fortunately, this is a hearty cake and holds up well.
You can bake the cake and decorate it 3-5 days in advance. It should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap or tinfoil. Remove the cake at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
This cute and delicious cake is a perfect addition to your Easter table. With this recipe, you’ll be on your way to creating your own Easter lamb cake and starting a new tradition for your family. Enjoy!
For the pound cake
- 12 TB butter (1.5 sticks), room temperature
- 4 oz cream cheese (1/2 package), room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sifted flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the frosting
- 8 TB (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- 6 TB Crisco shortening
- 7 cups powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup whipping cream, slightly warm
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Thoroughly grease and flour lamb pan.
- Add butter and cream cheese to a large mixing bowl. Beat until well combined.
- Add sugar and mix again.
- Add one egg at a time, combining well after each addition.
- Slowly add the sifted flour and baking powder. Add a small amount at a time, mixing until incorporated each time.
- Mix in the vanilla.
- Pour the batter into the bottom portion of the lamb mold. This is the side WITHOUT the vent holes. Fill the mold to the very top, but don't overflow. Secure the top half of the mold.
- Place the filled and secured lamb mold on a baking sheet, then put it into the preheated oven. Immediately reduce the heat to 300 degrees F.
- Bake for 1-1.5 hours or until cooked through. Test the doneness by sticking a toothpick or cake tester into the vent hole. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
- Place the entire mold flat on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes. Then remove the top half of the mold and allow to cool another 5-10 minutes.
- Next, carefully remove the lamb from the bottom half of the mold. Stand the cake up to avoid indentations on the sides of the lamb from the wire cooling rack. Allow the cake to cook completely, up to 4 hours, before frosting or decorating.
- When cool, carefully frost the entire cake, then press coconut into the frosting. Add raisins or jelly beans for the eyes and nose. Tie a decorative ribbon around the lamb's neck.
The ears of the lamb are delicate. If desired, when filling the mold you can lay toothpicks in the batter near the ears. This will help provide more support when removing the cake from the pan and decorating. When cutting the cake, be sure to remove the toothpicks before serving.
Alternative options for decorating include sprinkling with powdered sugar, covering in a glaze or dipping in melted chocolate.
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