Olde Square Inn


March 26, 2024

A Recipe From My Lancaster County Kitchen: The Story Behind The Lamb Cake

Easter cake shaped like a lamb, on top of green Easter grass with jellybeans.

Growing up, the week before Easter morning was chaotic excitement.

It was a flurry of pastel colors, frills, and the amazing smell of delicious desserts baking in the kitchen. With four daughters, in addition to all the baking, my mother was also busy ironing our new dresses for Mass, checking our Easter hats, and helping us dye eggs. My father’s job was the to take us to the Easter egg hunt in the park and make sure the yard looked good for company.

There was one thing, though, that truly meant Easter: The Lamb Cake!

Every year for as long as I can remember, my mother was baking up a rich pound cake in a lamb-shaped mold for our Easter celebration. The aroma of deliciousness would fill the whole house as the little lamb came into shape in the oven. We loved to watch the transformation from cake to fluffy lamb. Amazing buttercream frosting was topped with a coat of shredded coconut "wool." Golden yellow raisins made its eyes and nose. A ribbon tied around its neck completed the picture – a work of art!

Once completed, this magnificent creation couldn't be relegated to a plain old cake plate. No way. It was enthroned on a pile of bright green Easter grass with jellybeans and malted milk eggs tucked in around it, proudly displayed on our dining room table. My sister and I had a hard time waiting for that first taste.

But The Lamb Cake wasn't just dessert.

It was the centerpiece of our Easter celebration. It represented the beautiful holiday, love of family, and all the little pieces that made our house a home.

A Recipe From My Lancaster County Kitchen: The Story Behind The Lamb Cake, Olde Square Inn Even as we grew older and started our own homes, The Lamb Cake was always there. My mother would bake one for each of us, her army of lambs lined up on the table, ready to be frosted and sent on their journeys. Whether I lived in Hawaii or in Pennsylvania, The Lamb Cake arrived faithfully every Easter from its home in Indiana. How could you not love that?

As my Little Hungarian Mother got older and less sure-footed in the kitchen, it was my turn to pick up the torch (and the cake mold).

It was my turn to make sure the Lamb Cake continued to grace our Easter tables and bring our families together no matter how far apart we lived. It’s a tradition I continue to share with my kids and grandkids as well. I like to think each little bite is a connection to the aunties, uncles, cousins, and that tiny Indiana kitchen. You've likely sensed that The Lamb Cake isn't just about delicious cake (although it IS delicious). As our families continue to change and move around, The Lamb Cake is also a reminder of traditions, our shared memories, and of getting together. It’s a special a reminder that someone’s got you.

What do you do that is special to your family’s heart?

A favorite meal? A dinner with grandparents? Decorating cookies? Mass at 8am? My sister continues to have an Easter Egg hunt – now for the grandkids – with five thousand colorful plastic eggs in her back yard. (Very memorable!)  Here in Pennsylvania, along with The Lamb Cake, our added tradition is our Easter scavenger hunt where the kids follow clues to get to the surprise at the end.

Original Lamb Cake recipe What's your thing? What do you want to start? Whatever you do, big or small, it’ll be a custom special to your family. Someday your kids will be carrying on the tradition, sharing their stories of Easter day celebrations. Now, before you head out to buy all the candy for the egg hunt, here's the recipe for my Little Hungarian Mother’s Lamb Cake. Happy baking and Happy Easter!



2 sticks of butter 1 c.), softened

1 c. sugar (I’ve reduced this to ¾ c.)

1 ½ c. flour

½ t. baking powder

4 eggs

1 T vanilla

½ t.grated lemon peel or lemon extract

For Assembling :  Buttercream icing (recipe below), 7 oz. shredded coconut (1/2 pkg.),  3 raisins, Easter grass,   Jellybeans and malted milk eggs



  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Thoroughly grease and flour a lamb cake form pan.
  3. Sift together flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  4. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  6. Stir in vanilla and grated lemon peel or extract.
  7. Gradually stir in flour.
  8. Fill bottom of pan with batter and place back piece of form on top.
  9. Put filled pan on baking sheet and bake 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  10. Remove top piece of cake mold and cool in pan 5 minutes.
  11. After 5 minutes, remove cake by gently take a knife around the edges, then turn the pan over.
  12. Cool completely before icing.  (I like to put the cake in the freezer until solid for easier icing. Since I’m making many, I can pull out one at a time to assemble.)



2 sticks of butter, softened

1 t. vanilla

1 lb. powdered sugar (about 4 c.)

¼ c. milk


  1. Beat together butter, vanilla, and sugar and smooth.
  2. Add milk a little at a time until desired consistency is reached.  It should be soft enough to spread while still holding it’s shape.

To Assemble

  1. Stand cake upright and spread icing on entire cake. It doesn’t have to be smooth on its body since it will be covered with coconut. (You can also frost the cake on the serving plate to avoid having to move it when it's completed.)
  2. Smooth face area with a small spreader spatula or a butter knife dipped in water.
  3. After icing, press the coconut all over the body, leaving the face area uncovered.
  4. Place the raisins (or whatever you might choose) for two eyes and a nose.
  5. Tie a ribbon around Lambie’s neck and transfer to serving plate.
  6. Surround with easter grass, jellybeans and malted eggs. Voila!

Enjoy your holiday. And remember: something good is going to happen to you and through you! Easter cake shaped like a lamb, on top of green Easter grass with jellybeans.









127 E Main St, Mount Joy, PA 17552, United States | P: (717) 653-4525nancy@oldesquareinn.com

©2021 Olde Square Inn. All Rights Reserve. Privacy Policy | Accessibility Statement