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Lemon Easter Lamb Cake (Osterlamm, German Kuchen)

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This Lemon Easter Lamb Cake is an easy, foolproof dessert traditionally served on German Easter tables and called Osterlamm. It’s a moist and tender pound cake recipe baked in a festive mold. The lemon flavoring and rich buttery crumb taste like Easter in every bite!

Side view of Easter Lamb Cake with a blue ribbon and a coconut butter cream frosting coat.

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Lemon Easter Cake Recipe Overview

A simple-to-make lemon pound cake recipe that’s so incredibly moist and tender yet effortless to make.

  • Recipe Time: 10 minutes of prep, 45 minutes of baking
  • Kitchen Tools: Baking tools plus a lamb cake mold
  • Servings: About 8 servings

What I Love About Easter Cake

Easter is a special time of the year. Not only does it signify a changing of seasons toward hopefully warmer weather and longer days, but it also represents new life and hope and renewal.

It’s a beautiful holiday of fun and laughter and for us, feasting and very, very competitive Easter egg hunts. Where the elders hide the eggs and us “kids,” now including grands and great-grands, search high and low for plastic eggs containing prizes you wouldn’t want to miss.

An early Easter morning with my mom — and my bunny cake.

Since I was little, Easter cakes, Easter baskets, and Sunday dresses have been the all-important parts of the holiday.

The Easter bunny cake I grew up with has transitioned to Easter Kugelhopf, and now Osterlamm, in recognition of our deep German roots.

This Lemon Easter Lamb Cake is easy and foolproof to make and fun to decorate.

If frosting cakes isn’t your thing, simply dust the cake with powdered sugar, as is traditional for Osterlamm, add a few Easter eggs and a pretty cake stand… and you have a cake worthy of Easter.

Plus, this lemon pound cake is so incredibly moist, tender, and delicious! It tastes like Easter in every bite!

Happy Easter, my friend!

Side view of Lemon Easter Lamb Cake on a white Easter cake stand and decorated with vanilla frosting and coconut flakes.

What is a German Osterlamm Kuchen?

A traditional German Osterlamm is a vanilla or almond flavored cake (or kuchen) often found on German Easter breakfast tables or tea tables and are baked in a lamb-shaped three-dimensional cake mold or pottery mold.

What is the Tradition of Lamb Cake on Easter?

In Germany, lamb cakes are baked on Holy Saturday, and like Paska and Kulich, were brought to church for blessings before arriving at the Easter table.

Once baked, lamb cakes are traditionally dusted with powdered sugar or drizzled with a light glaze, much like a Lemon Drizzle Cake. Some are covered with white frosting, often garnished with shredded coconut (as I’ve done) or even shredded almonds.

The lamb’s eyes can be made from raisins, whole cloves (or even coffee beans), and many have a small ribbon tied around its neck, often in red to symbolize the blood of Christ shed on a cross. A sprig of fresh rosemary (symbolizing remembrance) is also used.

What is the Symbolism of a Lamb Cake at Easter?

A lamb cake is significant in Easter traditions. In Christian symbolism, the lamb symbolizes Jesus Christ, also called the “Lamb of God” in the New Testament.

It stems from the sacrificial lamb offered in Jewish Passover rituals, foreshadowing Jesus’ sacrifice for the redemption of sins.

The lamb cake then poignantly reminds us of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection, the central themes of Easter celebrations. Additionally, the lamb symbolizes innocence, purity, and renewal, reflecting the spiritual rebirth and forgiveness that Easter represents.

Side view of Nordic Ware Lamb Cake Mold.

Where to Find Easter Lamb Cake Molds

While I’m still looking for an antique lamb mold, I purchased this one at Amazon. It’s simple to use, holds about 3 cups of batter, and I’ve not had any trouble with the cake releasing from the mold.

Here are some lamb mold ideas at Amazon:

  • Kaiser ‘Osterbäckerei’ Lamb-Shaped Cake (at Amazon).
  • Nordic Ware Lamb Cake Mold (at Amazon, this is the one I purchased).
  • Nonstick Zenker Steel Mold (at Amazon, made in Germany).

Easter Lamb Cake Ingredients

The recipe card at the bottom of this post contains ingredient measurements, but here is a quick list of what you will need for this lemon pound cake recipe.

  • Butter softened to room temperature
  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Large eggs, also at room temperature
  • Leavening: Both baking powder and baking soda for rise
  • Flavoring: Vanilla extract, lemon juice and zest, and a pinch of salt
  • Buttermilk elevates the flavors and aids in the cake’s rise as it reacts to the leavening.
Side closeup view of Easter Lamb Cake with Coconut Vanilla Buttercream Frosting on a blue and white serving dish.

Lamb Cake Frosting and Decorations

I like to make a simple vanilla buttercream frosting, but you could also buy ready-made frosting to make this cake even simpler. I love using Bob’s Red Mill Unsweetened Coconut Flakes for the lamb’s “coat.” The flakes are a little larger.

Here are the ingredients I use for the frosting:

  • Powdered sugar
  • Softened butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Milk to achieve desired consistency

How to Make an Easter Lamb Cake

Step-by-step instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this page, but here is a quick overview:

Preheat the oven to 375℉ and generously grease the inside of the lamb cake mold (both halves) with shortening, butter, or baking spray with flour.

Step 1: Make the batter

Top view of cake batter in a stand mixer bowl.

Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and lemon juice until light and fluffy. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest in a separate bowl.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Mix until the batter is smooth; about 2 minutes.

Step 2: Fill the mold

Top view of unbaked lamb cake with the bottom half of the mold filled with batter.

Transfer the batter to the bottom half of the mold. Place the top of the mold (the back of the lamb) on the top, interlocking the seams and place on a baking sheet.

Step 3: Bake the lamb cake

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the vent hole comes out clean. In my oven, the cake is done at about 46 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the mold for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the top half of the mold and continue to cool in the pan for another 5 minutes. Invert the mold carefully and trim the bottom of the cake if the surface is not flat. This helps the lamb stand.

Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve. Then frost or dust with powdered sugar and decorate.

Top view of Lemon Easter Lamb Cake slice on a pink and blue plate with tea.

More Easter Recipes

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Side closeup horizontal view of Lemon Easter Lamb Cake with raisin eyes and a blue ribbon on a Easter serving platter.

Easter Lamb Cake (Osterlamm)

This Lemon Easter Lamb Cake is an easy, foolproof dessert traditionally served on German Easter tables and called Osterlamm. It's a moist and tender pound cake recipe baked in a festive mold. The lemon flavoring and rich buttery crumb taste like Easter in every bite!
4.6 from 5 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice about 1/2 of a large lemon
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk

Vanilla Frosting

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • milk or cream to achieve desired consistency (about 2 tablespoons)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375℉ and generously grease the inside of the lamb cake mold (both halves) with shortening, butter, or baking spray with flour.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and lemon juice until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest in a separate bowl.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Mix until the batter is smooth; about 2 minutes.
  • Transfer the batter to the bottom half of the mold (the half with the lamb's face). Place the top of the mold (the back of the lamb) on the top, interlocking the seams. Be sure the vent hole on the back of the lamb's face is on the top, allowing the steam to escape during baking. Place filled mold on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the vent hole comes out clean. In my oven, the cake is done at about 46 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the mold for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the top half of the mold and continue to cool in the pan for another 5 minutes. Invert the mold carefully and trim the bottom of the cake if the surface is not flat. This helps the lamb stand.

Decorating the Lamb Cake

  • If frosting the cake, I find it best to refrigerate or freeze the cake until completely cool and chilled. This helps make a firmer surface for the icing. When ready to frost, place a dab of icing on the bottom of a serving plate and stand the cake upright. Frost with vanilla buttercream or your favorite frosting. I like to add shredded coconut to resemble a lamb's coat.
  • Or, you can also dust the cake with powdered sugar (which is more traditional in Europe) and tie it's neck with a sweet bow.

Vanilla Frosting

  • Combine powdered sugar and butter. Then stir in the vanilla and 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Beat until the frosting is smooth and has a spreading consistency. Sometimes, I double the recipe depending on how thick I want the frosting to be on the cake.

Notes

  1. Filling the lamb mold: Be sure to fill the mold to just under the seam line so that it fits tightly without batter in the seams.
  2. Frosting: If you want Lemon Frosting, omit the vanilla and substitute lemon juice for the milk.

Nutrition

Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 488mg | Potassium: 57mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 415IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, German
Keyword: Easter Lamb Cake, Osterlamm

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