This Easter holiday when making your ritual offering to the gods of Spring, why not create a golden lamb in effigy, and eat it? I’m sure the deities involved would be pleased with this sweet sacrifice.
Eating a lamb cake is perfectly in line with the traditional method of distributing edible portions of sacrificial animals among those attending the ceremony for consumption, and a cake animal is potentially just as valuable as a flesh-and-blood beast – especially a rich heavy cake like this one, full of eggs, rum flavouring and lavender sugar.
Just think, if lamb cakes had been an option in ancient Aztec culture, how many lives might have been saved?
To gain favour in the eyes of Ostara or the lion-headed sun-god Mithras, your cake should be heavily decorated with bright sweets, or even gilded.
Edible gold spray paint used to be a thing you needed to order from the interwebs, but since baking shows have come to dominate the TV schedules, you can usually find it now in the baking section of your local supermarket. Alternatively, you could coat the beast in white chocolate then dust it all over with edible gold powder.
Easter Lamb Cake
2 big eggs – duck eggs if you can get them
110g sugar – use lavender or violet sugar if you can find it or make it. You can infuse sugars at home by combining dried herb or flower petals with baking sugar in a sealed jar
160g plain flour
3 drops of rum flavouring
A pinch of salt – Icelandic rhubarb salt works well in cakes
1 teaspoon baking powder
The eastern European custom of lamb cakes representing the sacrificial lamb has become more widespread in recent decades, and you can purchase the 3-d cake moulds at LIDL or TK Maxx at this time of year.
Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites with half the sugar until stiff, beat the egg yolk with the rest of the sugar, butter, and salt until fluffy.
Mix baking powder with the flour, and stir into the mixture. Fold in the beaten egg white.
Grease the mould with butter, and pour the mixture in.
Bake at 180 degrees or Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes.
When it is baked, leave in the mould for 10 minutes, wrapped in a damp cloth. Then separate the moulds and stand the lamb on a rack to cool.
When mine came out of the oven, it hadn’t risen quite enough, so I poured white chocolate in to form a base for the beast.
The cake should ideally be served on a bed of grass, or a grass substitute made from green coconut.
Green food colouring
Place half a cup of coconut into a ziplock bag. Add a few drops of the green colouring, and shake, shake shake until the coconut turns green, adding more colour as you go until you are happy with the shade.
Traditionally, the creature should be surrounded by jellybeans (representing spring blossoms) chocolate eggs or dyed boiled eggs.
Bear in mind whatever decoration you choose, that the lamb should be both garlanded, crowned and constrained by either a ribbon or string around its cake neck, to show that it has been correctly prepared as a gift to the gods.
I used crystallized violets pressed into the chocolate to form a flower garland.
When the time of sacrifice comes, make an appropriate incantation, cut and serve the lamb to those gathered. Thanks to Joe Stephenson & Jemima Brown, who were in at the kill.
Remove the head first, with a single stroke. Just because it’s only a cake lamb, there’s no need to be inhumane.