Gluten-Free Lamb Cake: A Twist on a Springtime Tradition

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Happy Spring, Nerdship! It’s time to switch out your winter clothes for your shorts and bathing suits, fire up that grill, and raid the pharmacy so you can survive the annual coating of yellow pollen.

 

I’m here to share with you one of my favorite springtime traditions: lamb cake!

 

This cast-iron cake mold has been in my family for generations. My father’s mother used to bake this cake every year, and my father has fond memories of her homemade boiled icing. He took on the baking responsibility many moons ago. Last year, he made a gluten-free version just for me! (Yes, I have the World’s Best Dad.) He used a boxed cake mix, and it turned out just fine.

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This year, I wanted to try a new twist on the old tradition. We have a newspaper clipping from April 4, 1979, with the original recipe. I didn’t see any reason why I couldn’t swap out some of the ingredients to suit my diet. And the result was delicious!

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You’ve got to get creative with this little dude. Let your inner child go wild with decoration ideas. Make this cake your own. If you need a mold, Amazon and Ebay have a few. You can always save yourself some time by getting a box of cake mix and a tub of frosting. But if you want something amazing that you can’t help but bake with love, give this recipe a try!

 

As always, substitutions for any of the ingredients will probably work fine. Leave a comment to let us know how it turned out for you!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 c butter softened to room temperature (not melted)
  • 1 c coconut sugar (or regular sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1 3/4 c gluten-free flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 c corn meal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp grated lemon peel

TOPPING

  • frosting (either store-bought or the recipe included below)
  • 1 c shredded coconut
  • Jelly beans, dried fruit, black peppercorns, or anything else you fancy for the eyes and mouth

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DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat your oven to 375F.

2. Spray the cake mold with a cooking spray (or use a pastry brush to spread shortening around in every nook and cranny) and dust with flour. Shake out any excess flour. If ANY space on the mold looks bare, spray and dust again! Be sure to hit every inch. Dad’s tip: don’t let too much flour settle into the nose area, or else your lamb will have a stubby nose!cake1_lambcake_Allison_NerdsAndNomsense-6

3. Beat together butter and sugar until fluffy.

4. Blend in eggs and yogurt (or sour cream).cake2_lambcake_Allison_NerdsAndNomsense-7

5. Blend in the remaining ingredients, except for the grated lemon peel. Once everything is mixed in well, add in the lemon.cake3_lambcake_Allison_NerdsAndNomsense-8

6. Put the front of the mold face down on a baking sheet. Pour the batter into the mold. Tip: it’s a best practice to stick toothpicks in the ears so that they’ll stay attached, but don’t forget to remind your guests before they eat!cake4_lambcake_Allison_NerdsAndNomsense-9

7. Cover the mold with the back half.cake5_lambcake_Allison_NerdsAndNomsense-10

8. Bake at 375F for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (there are a few small holes in the back of the mold for this).

9. Cool for 15 minutes before removing the back side of the mold.cake6_lambcake_Allison_NerdsAndNomsense-11

10. Continue cooling for 5-10 minutes before removing the cake from the mold.

11. Cool completely on a wire rack.cake7_lambcake_Allison_NerdsAndNomsense-12

12. Once the cake has completely cooled, put a dollop of frosting on the bottom before placing it on a serving platter or cake container (that’ll help keep it in place). Cover it with frosting (either store-bought or using the recipe included at the bottom of this post).

13. Press coconut onto the frosting.

14. Use whatever you have handy for eyes and a mouth. Some ideas are cloves, black peppercorns, jelly beans, or dried fruit.cake-final-2_lambcake_Allison_NerdsAndNomsense-14

15. If you’re feeling fancy, get some of that Easter grass and spread it around for effect. My family also traditionally adds a nest of jelly beans. I’m not sure why, as sheep don’t lay eggs. Just be creative!
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LEMONY BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

  • 1 lb (2 sticks) butter softened to room temperature (not melted)
  • 3 c powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp soy milk

 

Directions:

1. Beat the softened butter with an electric mixer until somewhat smooth.frosting1_lambcake_Allison_NerdsAndNomsense-3

2. Beat in the vanilla, lemon juice, milk, and sea salt.

3. Add in the powdered sugar. Tip: I suggest mixing this in a bit, either with the mixer blades or a spoon, before you turn that puppy on so you don’t dust your kitchen with a spray of powdered sugar.frosting2_lambcake_Allison_NerdsAndNomsense-4

4. Beat until smooth and blended.

5. Use a knife or rubber spatula to frost your lamb once it has cooled completely!

 

 

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