When I had my cast iron business, Linda signed on with me as the “Pan Apprentice.” One year I gave her a restored vintage Griswold Cast Iron Lamb Cake Mold for Christmas. Linda’s last name is “Lamb,” so it seemed appropriate.

Linda with her Griswold Lamb Cake Mold

In the following months, Linda repeatedly said she was going to make a lamb cake in the mold, but she procrastinated (she doesn’t refer to herself as “The Queen of Procrastination” for nothing!)

Brenda, Master Cake-Baker

When we went to a Griswold & Cast Iron Cookware Association (GCICA) annual convention in Fargo, however, Linda was motivated to try the lamb cake after talking to fellow GCICA member Brenda Bernstein. Brenda is a master cake-baker-froster, and she gave Linda tips about making cakes with Griswold cake molds.

Brenda Bernstein, master cake-maker-froster. Photo by Chris Kendall.

griswold cast iron lamb cake mold bake baking old antique vintage

The “Brenda” standard: one of Brenda’s lamb cakes. Made with a pound cake mixture in a Griswold cast iron cake mold.

Linda’s First Try

Linda decided to give her lamb cake mold a try for a family Easter holiday meal. (Note: Linda now knows that it is not the wisest course of action to make a tricky cake for the first time the very day it is to be served at a large celebration). The chest crumbled and the ears fell off.  The family did not have lamb cake for dessert.

Not to be dissuaded, however, at their next encounter Linda asked Brenda for insight about what went wrong with her Griswold lamb cake effort. Brenda emphasized the necessity of burying toothpicks into the batter of the ears to hold them to the lamb’s head upon removal of the cake from the pan.

Linda’s Second Try

The next time Linda tried making a lamb cake, the ears stayed on, but the lamb’s head fell off.

Discouraged, Linda put the mold away in a closet.

Third Time’s the Charm? 

A few years later, Linda dug out the mold, once again determined to make the lamb cake for her family’s Easter dinner. However, she failed to heed her own advice about making a practice cake in advance of the big event.

This time, the ears remained fixed to the head and the head to the body given the embedded toothpicks but the front, and back of the body were ripped asunder. Once more the lamb did not meet the “Brenda” standard, and the family did not have lamb cake for dessert.

Linda Begs Brenda for her Cake Secrets

At the GCICA convention in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Linda talked to Brenda about her persistent difficulties with the Griswold lamb cake mold. I overheard Brenda telling Linda, “Baker’s Joy! Lots and lots of Baker’s Joy!”

Linda vowed anew to prepare a Griswold lamb cake to the “Brenda” standard. She determined to take her own advice and to make it to the “Brenda” standard in advance of any celebration. “Practice makes perfect” became her new motto.

Effort Number Four Takes the Cake?

On a weekend away at our friend Mary’s cabin on Lake Superior, Linda brought all of the tools to make a Griswold lamb cake to the Brenda standard.

Per Brenda’s recommendation, Linda decided to use a pound cake mix, instead of following the original Griswold recipe.

Griswold cast iron rabbit lamb cake mold recipe antique vintage cookware

Hangtag for Griswold Rabbit and Lamb Cake, with original Griswold recipe

Linda took her time; determined to succeed this time. She carefully cracked the eggs into a bowl, added the pound cake mixture and milk, and mixed the ingredients together with a fancy blue Kitchenaid hand mixer.

Mixing the batter.

Linda placed the front half of the mold upon a cookie sheet. She then thoroughly sprayed the front half of the mold with a faux Baker’s Joy concoction (using what Mary had available), and carefully poured the batter into the front half of the mold, stopping just short of the mold edge. She gently planted skewers into the ears and neck of the lamb, just as Brenda had recommended, and carefully covered the skewers with batter.

As she was doing this, Linda barked orders at me to take photos of each step so that she could show the world that she had perfected the “Brenda” standard. Linda pulled me away from the task I was doing (I was busy either making driftwood crafts or trying to get wax off of Mary’s floor as a byproduct of my efforts to make pinecone fire starters) to document her pouring the batter into the mold. “Mary!” she hollered, “I am about to pour the batter!”

Getting ready to pour the cake into the mold

Almost ready!

Inserting the skewers into the ears to hold them in place.

 

Linda carefully placed the back half of the mold upon the front half, and slid the mold into the oven, instructing me to set a timer for 20 minutes. I did so.

The second half of the mold was placed on top of the filled cake mold for baking.

After 20 minutes, Linda carefully flipped the lamb mold over and placed it back into the oven, and instructed me to set the timer for another 20 minutes. I did so.

Once the cake had baked for a total of 40 minutes, Linda pulled the mold from the oven and very carefully removed first the back, and then the front half of the mold pieces.

The back of the mold was removed first.

Voila! A Lamb is Born!

Griswold cast iron cake mold lamb baking bake old antique vintage
Linda’s beautiful lamb cake.

We all danced and clapped at Linda’s success with the lamb cake, happy that she would be able to finally create a Griswold lamb cake to the “Brenda” standard. I think we might have popped a bottle of champagne.

And then, we let our guard down

Because we had to leave to catch the ferry soon, Linda decided to pack up the lamb cake and frost it upon her return home. She lovingly and carefully packed the lamb in aluminum foil, and delicately and oh so carefully placed it and the mold into her large plastic tote to pack it into her car for the long journey home.

A short time later, we heard Mary scream, “OH NO!!” 

We rushed to the scene. Hunter, Mary’s 12-year-old West Highland White Terrier, had crumbs on his face. Crumbs were scattered on the floor. Hunter had decapitated Linda’s lamb and eaten the head.

One decapitated lamb.

Hunter, sly Westie that he is, would not let us take his photo.

Linda has high hopes for next year.

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