Joilene believes everything in life should be made beautiful, and each day deserves a holiday-worthy touch. So smile and love.
A Perfect Cake for Easter or Anytime
My family raises sheep, and we adore them. So I had long wanted a lamb-shaped cake mold. One day while out with friends, I found a copper mold in good condition at a garage sale, and I snapped it up.
It came with no directions, but I figured using it couldn't be that complicated. I jumped in as soon as I had a couple of hours clear, and I did what seemed right. I had a chocolate cake mix lying around, and I soon discovered that an average box mix just fills this medium-large mold. The chocolate flavor meant the finished cake looked very much like our best ewe, Limo, who was born quite black with "blue" wool.
Use Any Cake Recipe
Of course, you may use any cake recipe that you think will hold up to being shaped and jostled a bit. The mix or recipe should contain at least two full cups of flour of a type that will "grow" (rise) during baking. In other words, it needs gluten. I used all-purpose white flour.
What You Will Need
- Lamb-shaped cake mold
- Mixing bowl and spoon, if mixing by hand
- Stand mixer or handheld mixer, if you prefer
- Cake recipe with at least two cups of flour, so batter fills the bottom half of the mold. You are aiming for five cups of batter.
- Frosting and whatever decorations you like
- Time! See time breakdown below.
- Making the batter: 5-10 minutes if using a mix; 20 minutes if making your own batter.
- Baking: 1 hour (May vary depending on your recipe.)
- Cooling: At least 1 hour (Hot cakes are tender and break apart easily!)
- Decorating: 15-30 minutes to frost and decorate, if using traditional buttercream frosting.
- Total: 2.5 to 3 hours (This assumes you do whatever clean-up you can while the cake is cooling!)
- Preheat the oven according to the recipe directions: usually 350° to 375°F. If you are unsure, go somewhere in the middle of these two settings, and try to use your nose to tell you when the cake is done, as you will not be able to check it for gooeyness by poking the center with a toothpick.
- Mix the cake according to recipe directions. Use any kind you like in any color that appeals, so long as it's not too chunky (no large nuts, pieces of fruit, etc.), which will make it susceptible to falling apart. If you choose one you have made before, you'll know how it usually turns out, and how much volume of batter you get. Aim for roughly 5 cups of batter.
- Thoroughly grease and lightly coat the interior of the mold with butter and a dusting of flour.
- Scrape the batter into the mold so it nearly fills the bottom half.
- Snap the two halves of the mold together.
- Bake according to recipe directions. If there is a timing suggestion for dark pans, use that one. If you are unsure, aim for about 40 minutes, and smell carefully to see when it smells done. Slightly overdone is better than underdone, as it will have less chance of falling apart or collapsing.
- Cool thoroughly, for at least 1 hour. If your house is warm, 2 hours or even overnight isn't too long. Just remove the top half of the mold once it is it's handleable, so that your cake won't continue to steam itself.
- Once the cake has completely cooled, gently unmold the cake. Place it on a pretty plate, platter, or stand, and decorate as you wish. Depending on the mold shape and balance, you may need to prop it up on the backside. A piece of dry bread wedged under the weak area works fine, or you may use something decorative, including a frosting base resembling grass. An egg would be good for Easter. If the egg(s) is dyed, allow the frosting on the cake to set first, so the color does not run or transfer.
Troubleshooting: Baking Time and Temperature
You'll be able to see by how your cake turned out that whether or not you chose the right temperature and baking time.
- Cracking may mean that you had too much flour in proportion to fats and liquids, or that your baking temperature was too hot. When this is the case, the outside of the batter will crust too quickly, while the middle remains soft, which will then burst through when it rises.
- If the temperature was too low, your cake will probably have risen quickly and become spongy. As long as it holds together, this will not drastically affect your lamb shape, although it may blur certain details, such as the eyes or the nose.
Most defects can be hidden with frosting, and should be viewed as a learning experience, not a tragedy.
Photo Tutorial: Cake Decorating
Decorating Inspiration: Sheep in All Shapes and Colors
Limo and Freckles: Two of Our Flock
- How does cake batter consistency affect outcomes? - Seasoned Advice
A discussion of how different cake recipes and batter consistency affects results of volume and texture.
- How many cups of batter does a cake mix make? - Seasoned Advice
Cake recipes and even box mixes vary by as much as 2 cups on their volume of batter. However, the average seems to be that they make about 5 cups of batter.
© 2019 Joilene Rasmussen