Lamb Cakes are symbols of springtime, and Wilton makes it easy to bake and decorate your own little lamb. The origins of this treat are debated every Easter, but the Stand-Up Lamb Pan has been in the Wilton line for nearly 40 years. It’s the original precursor to 3-D cakes!
I love this project because it’s got a lot of “wow!” factor but it’s still really easy to do. Even if you bake a Lamb Cake every year, it’s a good idea to read through all the instructions for the pan before beginning because proper baking and cooling times are important for a sturdy finished lamb.
It’s important to use a heavier cake batter, like pound cake. Thicker batter won’t leak out of the pan before it has time to set up in the oven, and once the lamb is baked and cooled, it will be sturdy enough to stand up. The pan bakes perfectly with 5 cups of cake batter. You can easily convert a double layer boxed cake mix into a pound cake by following the formula at the end of this post, or use a homemade recipe for pound cake. Whichever way you choose to bake, don’t be tempted to fill the pan with more than 5 cups of batter – use any extra to make cupcakes.
Here are the steps:
Line the bottom of your oven with foil as insurance. If filled properly, the pan won’t overflow, but just in case, the foil will be easy to clean up. Preheat the oven to the temperature specified in your cake recipe.
Spray both pans well with Bake Easy™ or another nonstick cooking spray. If you prefer to grease and flour your pans, use a pastry brush to get into every nook and cranny. Dust insides with flour and shake out the excess. Cover any spots that are still shiny with more shortening and dust with flour.
Mix your pound cake batter and pour 5 cups of it into the bottom half of the lamb. Five cups will fill it all the way to the top, until it is almost overflowing. If your batter is so thick that it doesn’t flow evenly, spread it to the edges of the bottom pan. Line up the top pan with the bottom pan. It’s easy to tell the pans apart because the top one has a hole punched in to insert a cake tester or toothpick.
Using kitchen string, tie the pan together in 2 places (kind of like trussing a lamb to roast, only easier!). I like to tie mine at the neck and around the back end. The strings ensure that the rising cake batter won’t force the pan halves apart.
Bake the lamb cake in the center of the oven for 50-60 minutes. Test for doneness by poking a toothpick or cake tester through the hole on the top pan. When it comes out clean, your lamb is done.
Remember that I mentioned that baking AND cooling are very important? Now that it’s baked, the cake needs a chance to cool down and firm up. Remove the pan from the oven to a cooling grid and don’t open it for 5 minutes.
Snip the kitchen string and remove the top half of the pan, cooling like this for 5 more minutes.
Replace the top half of the pan, turn the cake pan over (use oven mitts – it will still be very hot), and remove the bottom half of the pan. Let the cake rest like this until it is completely cool, about 4 hours.
Remove the cake from the pan by placing one hand gently on the cake surface and setting the cake and pan upright on a serving platter. You’ll be able to carefully slip the top pan away from the cake. If the lamb does not stand level on your serving platter, trim the bottom or prop it up with icing.
Think outside the box too – this pan can be used for so many other things! You can pay tribute to your dog or kitty with a few different decorating techniques. One Wiltonite uses her Lamb Pan every Halloween, but she bakes a red velvet lamb and detaches the head to get into the spooky spirit.
Pound Cake from a Boxed Cake Mix
1 box (about 18 oz) cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 package (3.8 oz) instant pudding mix (use vanilla for white or yellow cakes, use chocolate for devils food)
Mix all ingredients according to cake mix instructions. For Lamb Pan, bake as instructed above.
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