Samstag, 7. April 2012

Easter lamb - sign bread

This is a very traditional german easter cake.

lamb shaped cake

It fits in the line of so called sign breads. These figural breads were offered on high holidays instead of the real thing: men, animals. In former times we had some interesting traditions as burning lots of people in one giant cage made of willow branches formed as one big human figure as offering for the gods (southern germany celts) or they used to strangle people and dump them in swamps (northern germans) so this little men shaped sign breads are much nicer: / (only in german language available but with some pictures).
Because the christian religious cults have been influenced by  former local cults  and traditions it is not easy to tell the true origins of sign breads.  Eastertime was a high time for babarian germans way before christianity came around (as in many cultures they celebrated the spring) but the lamb, easter egg and easter hare are based on christian religious sign culture: egg stands for the end and beginning, hare for trinity. The lamb is the picture of the agnus dei  (lamb of god, Jesus), the highest offering.
I baked it because my mother baked it and so did my grandmother and so on, just as family tradition. It is for our easter breakfast tomorrow.
You need a special mold (3-D!) made from two parts which will be connected by metal clambs. The batter has to be piped in the mold and baked. After baking the metal clambs will be removed and the cake released.
Rather new mold with cake
This type of mold is known since many centuries. Found some from 18th century for 120+ Euro on ebay (but did not buy it) You may buy cheaper and younger on flea markets or buy a new one. They were made from cast iron, pottery clay, copper, nowadays tin. The molds are still in production.
Most of the time a fluffy sponge cake dough is in use, but pound cake dough will do too. I made the cake after a recipe from Verpoorten Advocaat (again, it is nearly the same dough as for the little cakes before) but made with butter and starch and less Advocaat.
  • 125 g sugar
  • 75 g corn starch
  • 100 g flour
  • 125 g butter
  • 2 eggs (I added one additional yolk too)
  • 50 ml Advocaat (can be substituted with milk)
  • pinch vanilla pod seeds
  • pinch lemon zests
  • pinch salt
  • 8 g baking powder
  • icing sugar for dusting
Beat soft butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, yolk and Advocaat, spices. Add flour- starch- baking powder mixture (sieved) in a few batches and beat until well combined. Fill in the mold which has to be buttered and powdered with flour before or some parts of the cake will stick and break. If you watch carefully you may find the crack at the neck of my lamb - yes I messed it up. I will hide the crack with a ribbon later on.
The cake can be baked in a pound cake mold too if there is no easter lamb mold available. Bake at 160 C for 40 minutes. Dust with icing sugar.
Nobody was harmed and now it sits between the easter eggs (just hard boiled eggs wrapped in foil). I am going to transfer it to an easter nest tomorrow morning.

1 Kommentar:

Hiroyuki hat gesagt…

Thanks for explaining another interesting aspect of your Germain culture!