Food: Even lamb cakes can?t usher in Easter spirit this year
It always happens around Easter time. The two little lamb cake molds that reside on a shelf above my stove begin staring at me accusingly but I know their evils ways. They want to to be taken down, filled with cake batter and baked.
In years past, I’ve been suckered in by their innocence. I’ve taken them down with great anticipation; been pulled in by their charming nonchalance; been lured by their wide-eyed beseeching but not this year. This year I am standing firm.
I have never baked one of these beguiling Easter cakes without a huge flub-up. Over the years, my experience with these molds have revealed baby lamb heads that fall off with no provocation; broken, crumbly bodies that hold no hope of frosting adherence; and frustrated oaths spoken in a loud and annoyed voice that made the dogs hide under the bed.
A few years back, I did manage to successfully unmold one of these creations but its entire body needed to be supported by strategically placed toothpicks from within. This is a technique my mother always employed when she baked these cakes. Once the little body was properly supported, Mom would carefully frost the lamb, then tenderly pat shredded coconut all over it, using black jelly beans for the eyes. One further embellishment was a thin pick ribbon Mom would carefully tie around the neck. These lamb cakes are treats that can only be made with lots of patience and love.
And Mom never got discouraged. Every Easter during my childhood I can remember a lamb cake residing at our holiday feast or if we were traveling to a relative’s house one always accompanied us in the back of the station wagon. It was carefully supported in a sturdy box and Mom would pray that no sudden braking was needed on the journey.
Her diligence paid off though because when she walked in with her creation there were always lots of ohhs and ahhs. And when it was time to cut into this sacrificial lamb it was done carefully but not until the the supporting toothpicks were pulled from its fragile ears and anywhere else on the body that threatened to fall off before consumption.
I do have to admit though, I have been shooting guilty glances at this innocent pair lately, however I think my total lack of enthusiasm for making a lamb cake this year has been the weather. It’s a little hard to get into the Easter spirit with snow falling well into April. It’s hard to imagine bunnies, chicks and baby lambs when thought processes are more in line with reindeer and jingle bells.
But I am planning on enjoying a Easter feast. In fact, I will be a guest at my son Jake’s house and have been recruited to bring some deviled eggs and a salad. I’ve included those recipes for this week.
So if the lingering winter weather has you feeling a little un-Easter like don’t despair. Hope does spring eternal..it always does. Unless of course you are a lamb cake mold at my house. Then it’s just Baaaa-humbug.
Zesty Deviled Eggs
6 hard-cooked eggs
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried mustard
¼ tsp. cracked pepper
3 Tbs. mayo or salad dressing
½ cup finely shredded American cheese
2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
1 tsp. horseradish
Cut peeled eggs in halves and remove yolks to a bowl. Mash yolks and add the rest of the ingredients. Carefully fill empty yolks with yolk paste. Garnish with more parsley and refrigerate before serving.
Vegetable Medley Salad
½ bunch cauliflower
1 small bunch broccoli
1/2 lb. bacon, fried and crumbled
½ pkg. frozen peas, uncooked
6 green onions, chopped
8 oz. mayo
8 oz. sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate before serving.