I don’t know what is more delicious about this post, the cutest little girl guest poster EVER or the adorable lamb cake they made for easter!? So crazy precious I could scream! (Maybe it’s my baby fever since I’m typing this just hours before I have a baby girl!) Here’s what Jeanne had to say:
My husband’s Grandma, Jane Anderson, was loved for a lot of reasons – she had a wicked sense of humor, was fiercely protective of her family, and was a downright fantastic baker. In fact, one of my husband’s favorite holiday recipe memories is of her traditional Easter Lamb Cake. This year, we’ll have our first true celebration with our 15 month-old daughter, Audrey Jane, at which she’ll get a big Easter basket, go on an egg hunt, and of course, eat her first homemade lamb cake. We’ll also make sure it features Grandma’s signature twist — an extra big booty full of frosting. (Did I mention Grandma had a great sense of humor? She padded the lamb’s rump with extra icing and thought it was hilarious when the grandkids would fight for the lamb butt.)
As far as cooking with my kid goes, this was a bit dicey. I figured Audrey, at only 15 months, would appreciate very little of it and would be hard to manage through the process. (She’s going through a big “no” phase right now.) It ends up I was right. She liked sifting flour, but quickly tried to grab it and shake it all over the kitchen. When I turned on the mixer she grabbed my neck in fear and started crying. And despite my best efforts, I couldn’t get her to taste the batter. In fact when I asked her, “Don’t you like sugar and butter?” she pouted “No no no!” and threw a wooden spoon at me. Oh well. Traditions aren’t built on records of perfection. They’re built on the love you share along the way. And with that, here’s my first attempt at our Anderson Family Easter Lamb Cake recipe.
Prep Time: 1 hr (my best estimate without 15 month old “helping”. With her, it was more like 1 hr. 20 min.) Cooking time: 1 hr
You’ll need a lamb cake mold. The Nordic Ware Spring Lamb 3-D Cake Mold is the one I’m using.
2 ¼ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups sugar
½ cup butter
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg whites
Prepare your mold. Coat it with a good pour of vegetable oil, let it sit, and then wipe it down with a paper towel. Then grease and flour your mold, making sure to get great coverage everywhere, including the lip of the mold. Don’t be afraid to over-grease and flour. (I really thought I did a great job with this yet my lamb still got stuck and I had to perform an emergency lamb retrieval using hot towels. What would I do without Google in these sorts of emergencies?)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Sift the cake flour with baking powder and salt. (Technically you should sift twice, but when Audrey started shaking the sifter all over the kitchen I worried I’d lose too much flour with a second round.)
In a large bowl, blend together the butter and sugar. They should get creamy, light and fluffy. Alternate adding the flour mixture with the milk. Stir smooth and add vanilla.
In a chilled metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter to lighten it.
Fill the face side of your lamb mold to the top with batter. Use a spoon to carefully even things out and make sure to avoid air pockets.
Put your (equally well greased and floured) lid on the mold, place it on a cookie sheet (face side down) and bake in the oven for 45 min. Test for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the steam vent hole in the mold. It may need 5 min more or so. Once you’re sure it’s done, let it sit on a cooling rack for another 10 min so it can cool and release steam. Then remove the top mold (carefully, due to the steam) and give it another 5 minutes to cool down before you remove the rest of the mold.
Let it cool completely before standing upright.
‘Baby Got Baaa-ck’ Frosting
Prep Time: 15 min Frosting time: 15 min
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ cup shortening
½ cup softened butter
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
You’ll also need some jellybeans for eyes and a nose (and general snacking)
Just plop all these ingredients together in a bowl, and as Grandma Jane’s actual recipe says, “beat beat beat!” It won’t look remotely like frosting at first, but give it time and you’ll get there. If you want to adjust the thickness, just add water.
To frost, hold back a 1/4 cup of the white icing to tint pink with red food coloring. Spread the rest of the white icing all over the lamb’s body (and don’t forget to give the lamb a juicy booty in honor of Jane!) With a knife, outline the area of the face and inside of the ears. Sprinkle big handfuls of coconut on the body and use your hand to gently press the coconut into the body of the lamb. (I suggest doing this while the cake is on a cooling rack so you don’t get piles of extra coconut lumped at the base of the lamb. ) Use the pink icing to add the insides of ears and a mouth. (I just put it in a Ziploc and cut the corner off to create a pastry bag.) Use jelly beans for a nose and eyes.
Note: In my final picture you’ll notice the lamb is sitting on another flat cake with green “grass” frosting. I don’t like coconut, so I decided to double the cake and frosting recipes and use the extra mixes for a rectangular cake base without it. (So, yeah, the lamb’s butt isn’t the only one that’s going to get padded this Easter!)