Once upon a time, almost six years ago now, I had a baby. And almost exactly five and a half years ago we (finally) got him baptized. And of course this needed, nay demanded, a cake. I’ll be three days dead before I buy a bakery cake. Instead I just made the cake that I currently wanted, which was Italian cream. And there was much rejoicing.
Once is as good as tradition in our house. Ever since that fateful sacrament, Italian cream cake has been Baptism cake. I make it for baptisms, and baptismal anniversaries, and last year I had the brilliant idea to make it in a lamb cake mold for Easter.
I did, and the head promptly fell off. No amount of icing could reattach it. It was a true cake wreck. But delicious.
This year I tried again, with a slightly modified recipe. Behold my success!
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup flaked coconut
- 1 recipe Basic Cream Cheese Frosting (without pecans for a lamb cake)
Butter and flour your cake pans. The whole recipe makes one 9″x13″ quarter sheet cake, three 9″ round cakes, two 9″ square cakes, or two lamb cakes*. I routinely halve this recipe for baptismal anniversaries and Easter, when I’m not serving a whole baptism’s worth of guests!
Cream together the butter, olive oil, and sugar. When it is fluffy and lightened in color, add the egg yolks and vanilla. Sift together the flour and baking soda, and add alternating with the buttermillk. Mix in the coconut.
Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks, and gently fold them into the rest of the cake batter. Pour your batter into your buttered and floured pans. Bake at 350F until a toothpick in the center comes out clean, about 25 – 35 minutes depending on which pans you’re using.
Frost when the cake is completely cool.
Lamb Cake Mold Instructions:
First, you must thoroughly butter and flour the cake mold. Don’t skimp. Don’t cheat and use a baking spray, even one of the fancy ‘flour’ sprays. Get the butter into every crevice, and then flour every bit of butter.
Fill the bottom of the mold. The top will have a hole for steam to escape. Don’t confuse the two. It will look like far too much batter, but mound it in there anyway. Now, grab some toothpicks, or bamboo skewers if you’ve got ’em. Reinforce the neck and ears by sinking a piece of skewer or several toothpicks into strategic areas. You must sink them, otherwise they’ll just float on the surface of the cake as it rises.
Put on the top of the mold. Tie the mold together tightly with kitchen twine.
Bake at 350F for one hour. You heard me. One hour. Don’t skimp. The exterior of the cake will be a little dry, and the delicate areas will end up crispy. But the point of a lamb cake is the presentation, and the cake will remain tasty enough to eat even if it is a trifle overbaked.
Let the cake cool in the mold on a rack until it’s cool enough to handle, then cut the twine and turn the cake out of the mold. Lay it on it’s back on the cooling rack and let it cool completely before standing it up.
To frost, use a whole recipe of the cream cheese frosting, even though you only made a half recipe of cake. Glue the cake upright to the platter with a foundation of frosting. Frost the whole cake, and sprinkle/press gently with about a half cup of flaked coconut. For the eyes and nose, dip the end of a skewer into some gel icing color and use this to gently tint the icing to give the lamb eyes and nose.
Not pictured, you can place some edible greenery around the base of the lamb to give the impression of grass. I purchased some mint for this purpose, but it withered too quickly. Rosemary worked better, and gives a better impression of grass, but I forgot to take a picture.
My flag is made from a couple of bamboo skewers. I cut one down for the cross bar, and notched both skewers so they fit together in the middle, then tied them with red embroidery floss. The flag is made of plain white sketch paper, drawn with marker, and pasted to the skewer.
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