Every Easter, boxes of lamb cakes – each decorated with a pink jelly bean nose and resting on a bed of grass made from green coconut shavings – fill super market shelves and bakery windows across Michiana.
Lamb cakes are a part of the Catholic celebration of Easter, especially if you’re Polish. They’re ubiquitous on the west side of South Bend, but they’re not uncommon to find around the region.
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As a religious symbol, lamb cakes represent the resurrection of Christ and are decorated with a cross-emblazoned flag, the Resurrection banner, while their secular symbolism aligns with rebirth and the return of spring.
Symbolism aside, they’re darn cute, delicious and easy to make.
The batter is made by following any pound cake recipe you may have (one from the back of a box is fine) and placing it in a mold.
Through trial and error, my family has discovered that adding pudding mix to the batter prevents the cake from drying out, which is a common problem in store-bought lamb cakes.
Toothpicks may be added to the batter to help support the ears after baking, but don’t forget they’re there when you go for a bite!
My family makes our own frosting from a mix of butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar — the consistency should be pliable.
We place our cakes on a piece of card board covered in foil, with a bit of frosting applied to the bottom of the cake to keep it in place.
Often, lamb cakes are decorated with jelly beans and green-colored coconut shavings around the base.
If you make a cream cheese frosting, don’t forget to refrigerate your cake between servings or your lamb cake will quickly begin to look sad.
Does your family make lamb cakes to celebrate Easter? Show off photos of your masterpieces in the comments!