The way I see it, we need a little spring. As they say, reality is something you rise above, so let’s do that today! Let’s rise above! Get a cup of tea Girlfriends, turn on the MUSICA, put your face close to the screen so even your peripheral vision is enveloped in bloom and enjoy your. . .
It’s spring fever. You don’t quite know what it is you want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so bad. ♥ The Adorable Mark Twain who knew.
Can you smell the fresh ocean air up from the harbor, still cold, filled with flowery scents of spring? Whoosh! The wind blows through the petals. Wrap your sweater a little tighter. Mmmm, we are so lucky. Don’t you just love the internet?!
We can see last year’s weeping cherry trees in full bloom even on a snowy day . . . makes you want it so bad, your heart just aches for it. It’s coming Girlfriends. The waiting is what makes it so wonderful. ♥
Right now we are still having our most delicious dinners of deep dark and delicious homemade Chicken Soup — but today we are looking for COLOR and so it’s time out for . . .
We love to do the chicken dance — here’s my recipe for Carrot Cupcakes which I think you will want to save. SO good, filled with fruit and nuts, lots of shreded carrots, pineapple and coconut. Cream Cheese frosting. The recipe will also make a three-layer cake ~ with so much batter you will have extra cupcakes, enough for your spring-starved girlfriends, chicken hearts and wolfmen too.
We just got in a new batch of these festive easy-to-make kits for darling dancing chicken cupcake toppers in case you’d like one.
And we still have the Cupcake Garlands that Janie made for us. It’s these happy colors I love to see. But you know, I’m on a lamb kick right now.
They are just so darn cute. They baaaa “Spring.”
And here’s my newest concoction. We found perfect old-fashioned Lamb Cake Molds for our web store . . . I made the cake using my Grandma’s homemade Lemon Daisy Cake recipe because it makes a firm cake, almost a pound cake but not quite, a cake that isn’t too crumbly and holds together. But a box cake and frosting will work too and I’m not against anything that makes a lovely smell come from the oven (there’s one boxed white cake I’ve used that has confetti colors in it that I think might be perfect for lamb cake) ~ the directions that come with the pan tell you to make it using less liquid. ~ in case you feel a need for speed. I’ll show you how to make the Lemon Daisy Cake, and I’ll put the full recipe at the end of this post so you can print it out.
So here we go. First tip: Successful unmolding of your cake is paramount. The way to do that (for any molded cake) is this: Melt a couple tablespoons of Crisco and brush it into ever nook and cranny of your mold. The mold should be cool when you do it so the oil will stick.
Also, take the time to flour your pans. Just shake flour over the oil until it sticks everywhere and shake out any extra. Notice we have kitchen twine, toothpicks and wooden skewers? You will need these … as you’ll see later. Put your prepared pan on a cookie sheet with the lamb face down. Preheat your oven to 375º ~ feel your kitchen getting warm and cozier by the minute. Pop an old movie into the player . . . I watched/listened to Gosford Park while I cooked — here’s the MUSICA from it …
This recipe and lamb cake is really so easy! All ingredients should be at room temperature. Two sticks of butter and two cups of sugar go into a large mixing bowl.
Put four roughly measured cups of flour into your sifter and sift three times . . . then measure out 3 cups. You want to measure after sifting. Any extra flour goes back into your container. Put the sifted flour back into the sifter, add one TBSP baking powder and 1/4 tsp. salt and sift again two more times. Use my waxed paper method for sifting unless you have a method you like better.
Allow all petty pets to watch your every move.
Now cream the softened butter and sugar together with an electric mixer . . .
. . . until light colored and fluffy
Then, one at a time, add the yolks of four eggs (save the whites in another bowl), beating well after each.
Once the eggs are incorporated, sift in dry ingredients by thirds alternating with buttermilk ~ little bit of flour, a little bit of milk, repeat~ beat until smooth after each third.
I like the old-fashioned tangy flavor the buttermilk gives this cake, but if you are at home and all you have is regular milk, that will do just fine.
Stir in the grated rind of two lemons . . . so easy to do with the wonderful Microplane Graters (← let me demonstrate!) . . . Miracle things no kitchen should be without. Like little razor blades for fast easy no-more-knuckle-in-the-food cooking.
Beat your reserved egg whites until stiff, then fold them into the cake, and voila, Daisy Cake batter is done.
Fill the face side of your mold (you’ll be able to tell which side to fill because the other side has a tiny steam-hole in it). Big tip #2: Head-falling-off can occur, it’s a possibility you will want to avoid from the get go. Because if it does, you’ll try to glue it back on with frosting. Which puts a wide messy crumbly lump around the lamb’s neck. While you’re busy sticking the head back on, the ears fall off. It’s terrible. I’ve made that mistake, but no more. Now I am stick woman. Toothpicks for the ears and wooden skewers for the neck.
Then I tie the mold together with kitchen string, just in case. If, for some reason the batter tries escape out the sides, I’m ready. We want a perfectly molded little lamb here, on the first try. Pop the cake in the oven an let it fill your toasty kitchen with fragrance of lemon-baking heaven.
Set your timer for 55 minutes and take a look outside and see what’s going on.
There’s bound to be something.
After the cake comes out and is cooling, you can pull out your Summer Book and find my recipe for Old-Fashioned Boiled Frosting on p. 109. But just in case you don’t have that book, here’s the recipe . . .
This is another easy recipe that’s like science magic. You need a candy thermometer like you see here. I have it hooked on the side of a small heavy-bottomed pan that already has a third-cup of water in it . . . I’m adding a cup of sugar.
Then 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar and a pinch of salt gets stirred in ~ put the pan over high heat and boil without stirring until mixture reaches 240°.
While that’s going on, beat two egg whites until stiff.
When the sugar liquid is hot enough, pour it in a thin stream into your egg whites beating all the while, and watch it get thick, white and fluffy . . .
Just like this! Look at that! You are a genius!
When the buzzer goes off, Ta-Daaa your lamb cake is done. Pull it out of the oven, and now is where your patience must never come to an end. You have to wait until he is totally cool before you set him up to frost. You can cut the string, take off the top part of the mold, let him sit like that a while. Put the mold piece back on, turn it over, and do the same thing. Until he is completely cool.
Meanwhile you’ll have made your frosting . . . swipe the middle of your cake platter with a wide swath of frosting so the lamb has something to anchor him in standing position.
This is what we’ve waited for. He’s up! He came right out of the pan with no help. Look at him! He’s perfect. I didn’t have to do a thing but turn the pan into my hand and set him into the frosting smear. But then, how to frost him was my next question. I wanted to see if I could come up with something a little bit different than the way I usually did it (with raisin nose and chocolate chip eyes), make him more real. I needed inspiration and I knew just where to get it.
I pulled out the little book we bought in a bookstore in Ambleside in England filled with lamb pictures, all the different breeds.
I thumbed through it and chose this guy. That’s what I wanted my lamb to look like. Within reason.
So I started applying the frosting. I couldn’t hold the camera and frost at the same time, but there is no real trick in the frosting ~ it all goes pretty easily. For the corners like under his chin or around the ears, just put a good lump of frosting on the very end of your spatula or wide knife and plunk it right where you want it, spreading from there. You can wipe off the plate with a damp paper towel when you are finished.
Hello just-born lamb. Of course Lemon cake and coconut go together perfectly, and lambs need wool, so here is. If you press the coconut in a little bit, it keeps him from looking too hairy.
Just as sweet from the back. In the past I’ve decorated the plate with green-tinted coconut (like Easter grass) and jelly beans, and egg-shaped frosted cookies . . . but I was taking this cake to friends for dinner and it isn’t Easter quite yet, so I decided to leave it plain and my version of homemade-elegant.
So darling, always the cutest thing on the table at any party. (Just pulled out my lamb vase too — almost time to fill him with forsythia cuttings! I collected a few more lamb vases when I could find them on our cross-country trip in case you “need” one too . . .)
I wrapped him up, lamb cake-to-go-go. So that’s about it. I hope you enjoyed our springtime retreat and are all inspired to make a lamb cake of your own. And if so, you might need a lamb pan, and that is what I can help with.
Because I washed my lamb cake mold, dried it and tied it with a ribbon, and here it is, all freshly imbued with successful lamb-cake baking DNA ~ and I hope you will leave me a comment at the bottom of this post, because if you do, you will be entered in my drawing, and he can be your very own. In the next few days, our darling girl Vanna will pull one of your names out of her Easter Bonnet (the one with all the frills), and one of you will be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade. Or, at least you will have a new, slightly used, lamb cake mold. ♥
Now one other thing I wanted to ask you. Do you have this book? Because if you do, you will know how inspiring it is. I found this one years ago in a used bookstore and have loved it ever since. It’s my go-to, never-gets-old classic; a small, inviting garden book, where every word is a pearl. Planning a garden takes a little time, and this book will help you get in the mood. You feel as you should when you read it, as part of the earth, part of the ebb and flow of the seasons and the ancient practices of sowing and reaping from the precious green earth that God has given us. You can smell the warm dirt, taste the crisp, still-warm-from-the garden organic vegetables, hear the bees buzzing in the rosemary. That’s how you feel when you read this little book. ♥
The charm doesn’t end with the wonderful words of Mary Mason Campbell, it continues with darling drawings by Tasha Tudor. Kitchen Gardens was published in 1971 and describes the art of gardening as the simple and wonderful thing that it is.
And this book is for you too. I have two, and you get one. I signed it and when I find out the name of the winner, I will put their name in this lovely old book and off they will go, Lamb Cake pan and Kitchen Gardens, hopefully to make someone’s day. I have to say, you deserve to win after reading all this! It’s getting long — I’m so sorry!
And now, one last thing, just so you can see ~ this is where we were going for dinner the night I made the lamb cake . . . Isn’t it pure fairy tale? Our friends Arnie and Paula live here. When I see visions such as this, I think maybe winter’s not really that bad! Here’s your recipe:
LEMON DAISY LAMB CAKE
You will need melted Crisco and flour to prepare mold, plus two wooden skewers and two toothpicks for lamb.
- 2 sticks butter (1 c.), room temp.
- 2 c. sugar
- 3 c. sifted cake flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 4 eggs, separated, room temp.
- 1 c. buttermilk
- zest of two lemons
Grater, in case you need one . . .
Preheat oven to 375°. Paint the inside of your mold with melted Crisco, sprinkle with flour and shake out extra. Cream softened butter and sugar together with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Measure your dry ingredients: sift approx. 3 c. flour three times before measuring out three cups and putting them back into the sifter (any extra flour just goes back into your container) ~ add baking powder and salt to sifter with flour in it and sift two more times. Set aside.
Add egg yolks, one at a time, to butter-sugar mixture; beat well after each ~ put the egg whites in another bowl.
Sift in flour mixture by thirds, alternating with buttermilk, beating until smooth after each addition. Stir in lemon zest. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold them into the batter.
Fill face part of lamb mold (the side that doesn’t have the hole in it) full and put it on a cookie sheet. Lay toothpicks in centers of lamb ears, put clipped wooden skewers or a popsicle stick in center of neck down to body for support. Press them down slightly into batter. Put on the top of the mold and tie it together with string. Put the cookie sheet with the lamb cake into preheated oven and bake 55 minutes. Remove from oven, cut string, allow lamb to cool 15 min; remove top, cool longer, turn it over, remove other side of mold, allow it to cool competely before frosting.
You will have extra batter — enough for one 8″ single layer cake, or several cupcakes. With my extra batter, I made a bunny cake… with a vintage bunny cake mold I found somewhere on my travels. Lambies and chickies and bunnies . . . oh my!
CLASSIC OLD-FASHIONED BOILED FROSTING
You will need a candy thermometer for this. Pour 1/3 c. water into a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, then stir in 1 c. sugar, 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar and a pinch of salt. Hook the thermometer on the side of the pan making sure the tip of it is in the mixture. Boil until the mixture reaches 240°. Meanwhile beat 2 egg whites until stiff. Pour the 240° syrup over the whites in a thin stream, beating constantly until thick and glossy. Lay a wide strip of frosting down the middle of an oval serving plate. Tip the lamb cake out of the pan into your hand and set it in the strip of frosting to anchor it. Frost the lamb; pat and sprinkle coconut onto sides. Press coconut in slightly to keep the lamb from looking too hairy. Voila, he is done, and you are amazing! Happy Spring Girlfriends! I think I have delighted you (in the immortal words of Jane Austen) long enough! ♥
This is my first introduction to your website. It is beautiful and inspirational!! We are having snow ~ snow globe-y’, large snowflakes gently falling which is unusual for the Dakota prairie…usually the winds make the wa (Lakota word for snow) fall sideways!!!! 🙂 🙂 I would be thrilled to win the lamb cake pan and book. But will be happy for whomever wins it!! I’m just glad to be introduced to your site. Thank you Tasha Tudor family!!!!! 🙂
What a great blog and beautiful pictures.
Oh my goodness I just found your blog and it is heavenly. Of course I would love to win that lovely book and cake mold. Okay, I’m off to explore…
This post made me smile! Years ago I made my first lamb cake for Easter and when I brought the cake to the table for serving my niece, Hallie, politely told me how cute my ” Snow Dog” was. To this day whenever we have serve a lamb cake in our family he is always known as the “Snow Dog”. Thanks for a great post, it is making me wish it was Spring! Your blog is the best!
Love the lamb cake mold and book. So ready for spring!
I would love to be entered in the drawing!
Love the lamb brings back such fun memories of making this cake for my children.
love your blog
I remember those cakes from my childhood, LOVE them. I would love that Kitchen Gardens book, because I adore anything Tasha Tudor. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway!
Love everything you do…..
Your whole blog is peaceful and how fitting for the lamb cake. It calms me down each time I read.
How lovely to find kindred spirits in this world! Thank you for all you do to embrace and exude all that’s nice and sweet and fun and the best of “old fashioned”. : )
I came to your website after reading A Fine Romance. Lovely site…I’d love to make a lamb cake for Easter.
Love… Love… Love… your blog!!
My dear mom just passed away, and your website has been such a comfort to me today, as well your wonderful book that I have been reading. They are soothing to my soul. Thank you, Susan.
How nice your sweet lamb cake turned out! My Grandmum had a similar cast iron lamb cake mold. The rabbit cake is cute, too!
Just love Tasha Tudor’s illustration of the lady on the porch with her corgi and her kitty looking out upon the garden! Reminds me of sitting on Tasha’s porch sharing conversations with Tasha about corgyn, gardening, and spinning!
I love the cover of “Betty Crocker’s Kitchen Gardens”, too, as it has many of my favorite things!
How cute! Would love to win the lamb mold, but since you added the Tasha book too —Wow! Spring is badly needed in my neck of the woods.
The problem with getting older and trying to downsize, is getting rid of things, (lamb cake pans) and then regretting it!! Maybe I can win another.
That’s why I’m putting it off as long as humanly possible!
Yes, we do need a little Spring! Love the lamb cake! I have that little owl timer sitting on my desk in my owl themed kindergarten classroom. God bless! Can’t live without your calendars and cook books!
Love the lamb cake!!!
Everything I read and see her makes me smile.
The lamb would be a treat for my nine grandchildren.
And of course. Tasha Tudor art is wonderful.
Happy happy spring
Ah, now I am in the mood for spring. But after several balmy days, we are back to our regularly scheduled winter temperatures. It’s still much too early here in the northeast. Someday!
FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZING here this morning. It was all a trick these last few days, a wonderful, refreshing trick!
Love all of your products and books and surely want to be entered in this latest drawing. Would love to win anything you’re giving away to loyal fans.
I am sooo in the mood for colorful Spring, and this post has colorfully and joyfully lifted my N.Y. “state of freezing cold (often gray) mind”!
But you know what thrills me the most? Is that there are over 1,722 (1,723 now with me) “Girlfriends” that have left you their Girlfriend thoughts… because quite frankly you ARE THE BEST GIRLFRIEND EVER!!! REALLY you are! You just make us all feel so pretty darned good!!
Thank you Susan for sharing joy!!
Many many Blessings, and Happy “Spring Is On The Way” tweet tweet,
P.S. Yummy Lamb cake ;-D
It thrills me to the tips of my toes, such a wonderful surprise and if you get a moment to read these comments, you will fall madly in love as I have! We are the funnest girls ever! xoxo Linnie, thank you!
Thank you, Susan, for spreading happiness and generosity all around.
Since my name is Mary, perhaps that “Little Lamb” will follow me and be sure to go home with me so I can bake up a darling lambie cake to share with friends at our Easter Gathering. Have a happy day.
Susan – You make magical moments for us all, everyday! Thank you for your warmth and continuous inspiration!
I love your blog and your books. My favorite is “A Fine Romance”. Made me feel like I was there in England with you. Seeing these places thru your eyes was amazing. You are one talented lady, someone I’d like to have for a friend, so reading your blog makes me feel like I am. 🙂
Hello! Made the delicious the Apricot Jam from the January calendar – twice! Once with cinnamon and once without – both amazing. Thanks for all the yummy recipes and ideas!
I need to make some more of that! So good! Thanks for the reminder Rebecca!
I was delighted to see your lamb cake – it brought back happy memories of birthday parties (my own!) from decades ago; there was always a lamb cake, and I absolutely loved it every single time.
Love the Lamb Cake!
Thank you so much for the beautiful spring blossoms!! What a perfect end to a wintry evening by the fire!
What a refreshing blog! Thank you for the lovely photos, and sunshine filled sayings!
This cake reminds me of a cake I made for my kids when they were little (now 44 &46) for Easter. It would be fun to make it for their kids now.
Love Tasha and love reading cookbooks, best place to be in cookin in the kitchen, therapy and beyond. Thanks!
Have just found your beautiful blog! Have always wanted to make a lamb cake– yours is perfect.
Discovered you through the Victoria Bliss Magazine, where I bought two of your “A Fine Romance, Falling in Love with the English Countryside” –a real delight!
Meant to say also that I am a big Tasha Tudor–phile! I love her video of the old fashioned Christmas at her farm 🙂
I tried to make a lamb cake for my mom once with a cupcake head. Yours is so beautiful! Thanks for the inspirational blog and wonderful pictures!
I so enjoyed your blog. Thank you for the beautiful pictures that now has me dreaming of Spring.
Love your blog. Can’t wait til Spring!
Your site & blog are always inspiring! 🙂 love to check in and have the peace that comes from seeing your pictures and posts~
Oh, you make me so hopeful. I love your pictures and recipes. Spring has sprung in my heart. I work in a library. I have been at that ferry and I just finished reading a mystery about the islands…and I know the characters were just where you are standing.
I would love a chance to win the lamb mould and book! I have my eyes on an old gardening book they have at my library, but I haven’t found another copy of it yet…
I have loved your books since I got my first one in 1990. I can’t begin to tell you the traditions in my children’s lives that started because of the ones of yours you’ve shared.. My books are spattered and scuffed and every special occasion or holiday includes something from one of them.
Tasha Tudor has been a favorite in my home for even longer as my mom had a Corgi and she loved giving my daughter a Tasha Tudor book every birthday. Now that little girl is grown and getting ready to have her first baby in just a few weeks and she will have her own set of your books to enjoy.
You’re a lovely person and I just wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you.
OOOOhhhhhh how most delightful is our little spring lamb . I can he it frolicking and bleating in the field full of sweet smelling grass. Please enter me cos I would love to make this for my family. My maiden name is lamb so this cake mould is perfect. Thankyou sweet Susan x
Beautiful blog!!! Please enter me in the drawing for the cookbook. I collect Tasha Tudor items and I don’t have this one. Thank you and keep the joy of this blog coming!!
Cute little lamb cake.
I’ve got to try this cake! So darn cute! I just bought ingredients for the lavender polenta cake and am excited to get to baking. The lavender part sounds so intriguing. I am one of the “strange” folks that have really enjoyed this winter here in Michigan (there isn’t much more cozy than watching the beautiful snow fall and realizing that you have no choice but to sloooow down), but the peeks at spring are also most welcome.
Thank you and enjoy your day!
The little flecks of lavender make this cake even more beautiful and special!
Love the lamb cake. Brings back warm and happy memories. And the book – a definite must have. Makes me smile how we are all kindred spirits under all of this snow!
Susan, you are certainly a treasure…you never disappoint!
First time visiting your site, will certainly be back! 🙂
Loved this “conversation”, as I always do!! Here’s to waiting for Spring with you!! Love how cute the cake is!! 🙂 Have a HAPPY DAY!! 🙂
I love, love, love Tasha Tudor and have been an herb-girl since the 70s. I cannot believe I don’t know this book! After the cold and snow of this New Hampshire winter, I’d love to just sit with tea and an afghan, flip through the pages, dream of Spring and dirt and planting…
A very trying winter here in the UP of Michigan, but your pictures and thoughts add some much needed sunshine to my little corner of the world! Thank you!
It can’t last forever, have faith Jean! xo
I so enjoy reading Susan’s Blog. The pictures are wonderful and as always her wit and wisdom and artistic talent never fails to entertain and draw me in!
I’m happy you’re here Rene!
I just love your SPRING Blog ! I am going to try the “Lamb Cake” this Easter ! Thanks for sharing 🙂
As always so very creative but too cute to eat I think!!
Your blogs make my day sparkle!
Love your blog and a chance to win a Tasha Tudor illustrated cookbook!
It’s snowing here this morning on Maryland’s eastern shore, and your sweet Lamb cake not only made me long for springtime but it made me very hungry as well. Needless to say, I want a piece of it very baaaa-dly at this moment! Sorry, I just could not resist! Have a wonderful day Susan!
Just lovely! I enjoy your creativity and all you do to inspire me and well everyone! The lamb cake is so sweet, looks yummy, I will have to try it with my Grand kids.
Forgot to tell you thanks for the recipe. Even though I have had the molds, I have struggled to find the perfect cake recipe. Thank you! 🙂
So sweet is the lambie cake. We are in North Carolina with our grands and thinking how fun it would be to make it for them. But, unfortunately we will not be here at Easter so would have to make it for us! Back in Texas. Lovely post and a beautiful home where you were taking Susan’s little lamb. Spring is coming.
Dear Susan: Is always a real pleasure enter your blog is part of my daily life, it is as if he had a family far from that long ago that I do not see, and you want to always know of them. I am a big fan of yours, but in the distance from Spain, I’d like to know personally, but it is as if he knew it. I hope that I understand that my English is not very good. I am also a big fan of Tasha Tudor, so I love to have that book and be able to see your drawings. Susan, go ahead with his books, reviews, your blog, ultimately with their advice for all. I only have to say that I serve a great help to me.A very strong hug.Mª Carmen Duque.
Hello to M Carmen … it is so very nice to meet you! Your English is much better than my Spanish! XOXO come back soon!
that cake looks so delicious! and the book would be so interesting to leaf through with a cup of tea and piece of cake!
That book does look lovely. I see myself curled up by the fire planning gardens.
Loved this post ! The lamb cake was adorable. Loved all the details so that it would eliminate potential frustration. Nothing like the value of shared experience. I just finished reading “A Fine Romance” and loved every minute of it. The lamb cake reminded me of the picture of the “collection of sheep” picture you had in the book. I have been a Beatrix Potter fan and Peter Rabbit collector for almost 40 years. Your trip was my dream trip until I can get to the Lake District one day. My daughter who is an ESL teacher uses the Beatrix Potter books with her elementary students regularly. Her nursery was done in Peter Rabbit 36 years ago when finding PR items were hard to find. Couldn’t believe the coincidence of you also being a Tasha Tudor fan like myself. I have collected her books for many years but had never seen the one in this post. I think we may have been separated at birth plus we are both married to Princes. Thank you for bringing such a bright spot to my day with the lovely pictures, thoughts,recipes and the warmth in the way you enjoy life and share it with us.
You might enjoy reading more about my visit to Beatrix Potter’s House . . . click right HERE.
What a wonderful site! I just found you on Pinterest although I have several of your books and SO enjoy your beautiful artwork and recipes! Thank you for your inspiration to all of us! And thank you for the wonderful giveaway. You are SO generous!
Hi again Susan..I just made your Lazy Daisy cake in teh lamb mold and it turned out perfect:)
It’s for Easter but I will freeze it unfrosted..I have made wedding cakes that way and they have worked..
Was too excited to try it..and felt I needed a practice run..
Fun fun when he comes out so perfect.Big test will be when I add his wool:)
So thank you for this darling idea.
If you have a moment, go to FOSB Facebook page and see how Sheri decorated hers. So cute, and completely different than the one I did.