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Newbie Wants to Bake a Lamb Cake

renosteinke's picture

... and wants advice as to the different pans.


My mother has a cast iron mold for baking a cake in the form of a reclining lamb. Traditionally, shaved coconut is used to simulate the wool. Now it's my time to get my own mold.

I see there are cast aluminum pans available, as well as cast iron. I even think there are some pans made of stamped metal. Does anyone have any opinions as to which pans are better?

As for the decorating, I'd like to simulate different 'fur' than simple white wool. Can you, say, airbrush coconut with food coloring? For the local Humane Society, I'd like to simulate the patterns of some cats and dogs.

Suggestions are much appreciated!

GretchenTHE FIRST's picture

i truly wonder if a cast iron (post #71076, reply #1 of 15)

i truly wonder if a cast iron pan would cook a cake correctly. Just something to think about.o

I would suggest that the stamped pans would cook a cake better. I think you have to bake it twice and put it

together to make a "whole lamb" cake if that is what you watn.

I do't understand your comment about the Humane society.

Yes, I think the lamb "wool" is done as coconut --as in a coconut cake.

Does your mother still use her mold such that you can't have it--or was it given to someone else in the family. personally, I would ask for it rather than replace it.

renosteinke's picture

I appreciate your willingness (post #71076, reply #2 of 15)

I appreciate your willingness to help.

My mother's pan is several hundred miles away ... and I expect the lamb pan to be the only part of the estate to be someday fought over! It seems everyone wants it ...

The cast iron pan has served quite well. Let me explain a bit more about it ...

The pan consists of two halves. There are a few small 'keys' that make sure the two parts line up just right.  One half is the bottom pan, while the other rests atop it. The lamb is baked whole, at one time, and the two halves separated after cooling. The 'seam' runs more or less along the backbone of the lamb. If you use too much batter, the rising cake will separate the two halves, flow out the joint, and make an awful mess.

The completed cake sits 'up,' with the head and face executed in full 3-D several inches above the table. It really does look like a resting lamb.

The even heating of the iron, and the weight of the top pan, combine to make quite a decent pan.

I see newer pans of a similar style made of polished, cast aluminum. I expect the aluminum might heat quicker - but I wonder if the polishing really makes much of a difference in the tendancy food has to stick to aluminum. That's why I'm looking for some first-hand feedback.

FWIW, bunny-shaped pans are also made.

I am involved with the local animal shelter, and we will have our annual fund raiser / dinner in about a month. I am thinking that displaying / serving from cakes that call to mind the shelter residents would be a cute touch. If coconut takes food coloring well, I bet I could make 'calico,' 'tuxedo,' and tiger-striped cakes using an airbrush.

GretchenTHE FIRST's picture

That is quite an (post #71076, reply #3 of 15)

That is quite an undertaking.  I have had a cast aluminum bundt cake pan and gave it away because it was impossible to keep the cake from sticking to it.  The lamb pans I have seen are much thinner--and more like the bundt cake pan I DO have and I can successfully unmold them, with careful greasing.

Can't really speak about any other. I'd be pretty sure Michael's has them, and maybe someone there has first hand experience. Also, if Amazon carries them they have such a good review system.

cakebiz's picture

I vote for the cast iron pan. (post #71076, reply #4 of 15)

The cast iron are great. Cast iron bakes very evenly. You do need to season the surfaces before you use it and never use soap and water to clean it. It makes it easier to decorate because it will not separate when you are decorating it. Look on-line at how to "season" your cast iron, they will last forever...

renosteinke's picture

I actually found a lady who (post #71076, reply #5 of 15)

I actually found a lady who claimed to have had the relevant experience. Here's what I was told:

I was told that the cast aluminum pans work better than the cast iron, with the proviso that I use margarine (rather than shortening) to grease the pans. It was asserted that the aluminum bakes the cake more evenly than the cast iron. I have ordered an aluminum pan, and will have it in a week.

My idea to air-brush the coconut with food color was dismissed. Instead, I was told to mix the coconut with powdered (not liquid) food coloring in a large zip-lock bag. I had never heard of powdered food coloring before. As a test, I tried the colored sugar with no effect. I then tried a 'gel' coloring, and the coconut will take this coloring. I will continue to try different things.

Pielove's picture

coconut coloring (post #71076, reply #6 of 15)

How did you combine the gel food coloring and coconut?  Did you dilute the gel?  I got Martha Stewarts' Cupcakes out of the library and she makes a cute cupcake with a bird's nest of coconut on top-- so cute.  

I look forward to hearing more about your lamb cake!


renosteinke's picture

OK, the results are in .... (post #71076, reply #7 of 15)

OK, the results are in .... Last night the cakes were received with great delight.

I used an ordinary white cake mix- about 45 min. at 350F. I used a cooking spray, and the cakes readily came out of the mold.

Fill the bottom form to the top with batter. The half with the nose is the bottom. Two boxes make three cakes.

You color the coconut by putting the coloring and the coconut in a baggie and shaking. Forget the gel - I found powdered coloring on the internet.

I made an orange tabbie and a calico. To get the stripes ... well, more research is needed. I'll try spraying them on with an airbrush.

The cakes don't stand too well. I placed two back-to-back and let them support each other. You also want to reinforce the neck and ears with a couple toothpicks.

Apply warm icing using your finger. Cool the cake and then add another layer- repeat as needed. Add the coconut to the last warm layer.

BTW, molds are also available in other forms ... bunnies, Santa, etc.

I was really impressed by how well the aluminum casting performed.

Pielove's picture

pictures? (post #71076, reply #8 of 15)

Wow, congratulations on your nice work!  Those sound great-- do you have any photos?


Gretchen25's picture

There's an excellent white (post #71076, reply #9 of 15)

There's an excellent white cake recipe on this site--Chiqui's ice water cake.

renosteinke's picture

Pictures? I was a coward, and (post #71076, reply #10 of 15)

Pictures? I was a coward, and deliberately chose not to take any pics... I just wasn't happy with the detailing.

That's the story of my life: great ideas, weak in the execution. I will post a pic when I get it worked out better.

Pielove's picture

no worries... (post #71076, reply #11 of 15)

Ha, it's okay-- no pressure.  Also, if you are worried that we would hold you to too high of a standard, check out this angel flop from last year...


angel_2.jpg41.73 KB
Dashx's picture

Congrats on your success! (post #71076, reply #12 of 15)

I appreciate you coming back to post about your lamb cake experience. I'll share mine here too for future reference. Your comment re the one item that will be fought over in the estate was on the mark for my siblings! The decision was to let the oldest be the "keeper" (she would also use it the most), and yes, the heavy cast iron pan did get shipped around the country many times. Our pan is over 50 years old and well seasoned.

A year ago Christmas, my sister decided to make us each a cake, and shipped it to us with all of the items needed to decorate the cake - icing, coconut, raisins, ribbon, bell, silver plate, etc. She made several cakes to test which cake would travel best. All 7 cakes arrived around the country intact, and we all had such fun decorating our cakes for the holidays.

We've lost the old family recipe used for making the cake. It was a dense spice cake, with a smoother texture than a carrot cake, like a bundt cake in texture/weight. I've used similar recipes with success in the mold. Lighter cake batters do not work as well in the cast iron.  The pan has as you described "keys" which hold the mold together while the batter bakes

As you can see, I had a heavy hand with the frosting! lol I've made prettier ones, but this was so special from my sis.

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Pielove's picture

Great story.... (post #71076, reply #13 of 15)

...and such a cute lamb cake!  


Adele's picture

What a heart warming story!  (post #71076, reply #14 of 15)

What a heart warming story!  The lamb looks perfect.

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

Debora_T's picture

i have the exact same cast (post #71076, reply #15 of 15)

i have the exact same cast iron mold that you are describing while my grandmother was still alive I bought a aluminum pan and was extremely disappointed in the finished products (tried way more than once). the cast iron is a bit more tricky but well worth it.