Easter Lamb Cake(Serves 8-10)
"Torta di Agnello"
Italian pastry shops have an array of lamb cakes available at Eastertime. Some are filled with almond paste
and others have candied fruit and nuts in the batter. Make one as a centerpiece for your Easter brunch or
dinner table or to give as a charming gift. To make the lamb cake you will need a 2-piece lamb cake mold approximately 10- by 4-inch in size. We are also providing you with a recipe for Vanilla Buttercream Icing and step-by-step photos for decorating your lamb cake.
Traditional Lamb Cake
2 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup finely ground nuts
Vanilla Buttercream Icing:
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Pinch of salt
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Brown, pink and green food colors
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease lamb cake mold and dust it with flour.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar. Beat in the zest, vanilla, and almond extracts. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the flour mixture. Fold in the nuts. Spoon the batter into the bottom half of the mold. Place the top piece of the mold on, according to pan directions. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until cake tests done. Remove the mold to a rack to cool completely.
To make the icing:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed until the butter is nearly white in color and very fluffy, about 7 minutes. Frequently scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the confectioners' sugar, salt, heavy cream, and vanilla. Mix on low speed until blended, then increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes, frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl.
NOTE: When making the frosting, be sure to beat the ingredients for the full time indicated. It may seem like a lot longer than you usually beat frosting but the extra time makes the frosting extra fluffy, light, and very creamy ... so don't cheat!
Easter Lamb Cake
Mound the tinted coconut around the base of the cake. Press jelly beans into the coconut. Tie a ribbon carefully around the neck. To serve, cut into thin slices.
How to Decorate a Lamb Cake
Remove the cake from the mold. Place upright on a platter or work surface. If the cake doesn't sit flat, trim it slightly. Use a little icing to adhere it to the platter and help prevent it from moving while decorating. Place about
1/4 cup of the icing into 2 separate small bowls. With food coloring, color one portion dark brown and the other portion pink. Set aside.
Cake removed from mold sitting flat on cardboard work surface
Cake with a crumb coat applied with small spatula
Use a small spatula to apply a thin layer of icing all over the cake ( this is called a crumb coat.) It doesn't have to be very neat, it's only done to prevent a lot of cake crumbs on the finished cake. Apply a thicker layer of icing over the face area and smooth it as best you can. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Use a small round decorating tip in a pastry bag to pipe the brown icing for the face and pink icing on the ears and nose. Then fill a pastry bag with a medium open star decorating tip with the white icing. Create stars or swirls all over the cake to simulate wool.
To make the green coconut for grass, put a couple of handfuls of coconut in a bowl and add 2-3 drops of green food coloring. Stir with a spoon until the coconut is well coated; add more coloring to get the desired shade of green.