Thursday, April 12, 2012

Its Fleece Was White As Snow - More Easter Treats!

To keep the theme going with cute animal shaped desserts and Easter - I invited my wonderful friend Virginia to guest blog today! 

Happy Easter!  As my high school religion teacher used to remind us, Easter is a season and not just a day - so I can still say that.  And I can still tell you about what my family did for dinner on the big day …

I heard a lot of people talk about very traditional dinners this year - many parishioners at my church missed the Obama family attending the 11 a.m. service this year because, like us, they went to the 9 a.m. in order to have more time to get various meats into the oven.  (In our absence, the First Family was as well-dressed as always.)  Some people talked about making ham.  I’ve never had ham for Easter, as far as I can remember, because the vast majority of special occasions are celebrated in my family with lamb, and - Easter being a particularly appropriate time for it - last weekend was no exception.

My mother’s maiden name is Lamb - and so lambs have always figured prominently in our lives.  My grandma’s maiden name, Wight, made her married name even cuter when said out loud.  She had a lot of lamb-related tchotchkes around, including a framed picture of a wooly lamb which assured the viewer: “Ewe’s not fat - ewe’s fluffy.”

She also made lamb cakes with a special cast-iron mold - kind of like this one:

Apparently my sister and I had these cakes for our first birthdays, though there was sometimes a problem with keeping the head and facial features in place - I’m told that toothpicks were involved.  The mold we used this time didn’t give us this problem (my aunt has just found the old one - so we’ll see if we can find success with that one in the future).

Grandma also dyed coconut green to be the grass the lamb was lying on … we didn’t go that far, but we did make him nice and fluffy.  First, my mom made the cake, using a  Duncan Hines white cake mix.  It was really good - she made mini-lambs with smaller molds using the extra batter, and we sampled it the day before.  It tasted like angel food cake but not as insubstantial.  Then my dad made some “Seven Minute White Icing” from The Joy of Cooking, and iced the lamb.  Finally, I took over with the coconut.  It was not easy to secure coconut onto all the vertical surfaces of this cake.  I found I had more success when I focused and had the courage of my convictions.

You can use part of a maraschino cherry, if you like, for the nose.  We used raisins for the eyes, and borrowed two red jelly beans - really - from a neighbor, in order to give ourselves more than one shot at creating the nose.  I also think a pink jelly bean would be cute.

Earlier in the day, I had lived out a very recent dream and made a Sweet Potato and Roasted Peep Casserole.  I found the recipe online through a Facebook friend earlier that week, but didn’t initially think I’d actually go through with it.  But I’m glad I did - it was delicious.

This was the picture from the website:

We picked up the yams (they’re interchangeable, right?) and Peeps on the way back from church that day, so it’s possible we were not availed of the most complete smorgasbord of Peep options possible.  A Safeway employee had to help me find the only Peeps left, and it looked like the only options available were small pink chicks or small yellow chicks, so I took two packages of the yellow ones.  They were not big enough to make a nice complete ring like the website’s picture - so I spaced them out evenly when I put the casserole back in the oven to roast them.  They got bigger, but they really got bigger when we put them in right before dinner to warm up.  They kind of melded together at that point into an almost full ring, and while that may not be the ideal way to do it, it meant more Peepy goodness for our guests to enjoy.

I would definitely make the casserole again - the crispy yellow sugar is a nice addition to the sweet potato casserole experience.

So next year, if you’re going to put marshmallows on your sweet pototoes or yams, why not go the extra step and make them bunny- or chick-shaped, sugar-encrusted marshmallows?  And if you’re going with lamb, why not have two?  Until then, happy Easter!


  1. Yes but can your lamb cake do this:

    Love the Peep casserole - I am so doing that one of these days.


  2. Um, I only accept certain cakes from that Morbid School of Baking. And they are red velvet armadillos.