One of our favorite Easter traditions is a Lamb Cake. It was my turn this year to make the cake, and my sister Marisa challenged me to make a Cannoli Lamb Cake. I decided to go with a box pound cake mix for the cake and a homemade ricotta and mascarpone cheese buttercream frosting.
Prep Time 4hours
Cook Time 1hour
Total Time 5hours
Servings 16-24 servings
116-ounce boxBetty Crocker Pound Cake
½cup(1 stick butter) room temperature
1teaspoonFiori di Sicilia or citrus flavoroptional
Baker’s Joy Spray
116-ounce tub of whole milk ricotta, well drained overnight
28-ounce tubsmascarpone cheese, room temperature
½cup(1 stick butter) room temperature
3tablespoonswhole milk or cream
24mini cannolis (from a good bakery)
A few assorted fresh flowers
2large-size chocolate chips for eyes
Broken bits of cannoli shell for ears and nose
To make the cake
Prepare the lamb mold with generously greasing the inside of both halves with Baker’s Joy or a combination of oil or butter and a flour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Do not use convection setting.
Cut a piece of cardboard slightly larger than the mold to use as a base for the cake.
Prepare the pound cake batter according to the package directions. Add the optional flavor if desired.
Place the “face side” of the lamb mold down on a sheet pan lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Pour the batter into the mold all the way to the brim. Be sure the ears are well filled. Place the other half of the lamb mold on top. Secure the mold with butcher’s twine if needed.
Bake for 60 minutes. Most molds have a small hole for testing the cake with a wooden skewer. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Remove the top half of the mold and allow to cool another 15 minutes. Using one hand and a clean towel, gently turn the cake out of the bottom half of the mold. It should come out easily. Place the lamb cake upright on the cardboard base and put the cake in the fridge to chill. If your serving platter will fit in the fridge, now is a good time to place the cardboard base and cake on the platter.
To make the frosting
Add the butter, ricotta, mascarpone and vanilla to a large bowl. With a hand beater, mix on low setting for about 1 -2 minutes, and then on medium setting for another 1 -2 minutes to fully incorporate all the ingredients.
Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low until incorporated. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and 2 more cups of powdered sugar and mix again until well incorporated. If needed, add 1 more tablespoon of milk if too thick, or another ½ cup of powdered sugar if too thin. The frosting should be thick and not drip at all from the beaters.
Remove the lamb cake from the fridge. Gently take the cake off the cardboard base. Add a large strip of frosting across the cardboard and place the cake back on top. Gently press the cake into the frosting. This will help adhere the cake for stability. With a pastry brush, brush off any crumbs.
Carefully spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. This crumb base will help the rosettes to adhere to the cake and cover any bare spots. Place the cake back in the fridge to chill for another 30 minutes.
When ready to decorate, place the frosting in a piping bag with a rosette tip. Remove the chilled cake again from the fridge.
Pipe the back half of the lamb with rosettes in rows. Try to get as much frosting as possible on the cake. Keep the rosettes thick and close together. Place the cake and frosting back in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill. This will make it easier to complete the decorations.
Finish piping the rosettes on the front half of the lamb cake. Decorate the face with chocolate chips for eyes and cannoli shell bits for a nose and ears. Keep the decorated lamb cake in the fridge until ready to serve.
Place the cardboard base and lamb cake on your serving platter. Add the green grass and fresh flowers. Arrange the mini-cannolis on the platter.
Cut the cake from the tail end in thin slices. Serve with a cannoli.