Easter is such a strange holiday. I think it has an identity crisis. It doesn’t happen on the same date every year like other holidays, it can’t hold a candle to Christmas and it quite often gets lost in the shuffle of spring break. And for the life of me I can’t figure out why, but some of my most treasured memories are centered around Easter. My grandmother sitting on the back porch with windows wide open grating homemade horseradish, tears running down her face from the pungent root. The smell of vinegar as we prepared to color the Easter eggs. My grandmother bent over her sausage making machine attaching casings to it and using her breasts to push the lever that forced the sausage mixture into the casings. Peas and carrots sauteed in butter and cream and homemade bread, loaves with and without raisins.
Precious memories really but time marches on and traditions change. When my grandmother passed so did the days of homemade horseradish and sausage. The family grew older, spouses appeared on the scene and new traditions were born. And for me, the single most memorable new tradition became the making of the lamb cake. With an expanded family we now had two family dinners to attend and two lamb cakes were needed. They were lovingly made the day before, consisting of a boxed pound cake mix to construct the body and homemade mock whipped cream frosting for the lamb’s wool. The lamb was then dotted with coconut, adorned with a pink ribbon collar and placed on a beautiful platter surrounded by green Easter grass and multi-colored jelly beans. With my family it was given a place of honor on the table and was ceremoniously cut at dessert time. At my husband’s house, it was the battle of who could sneak in first and bite the head off the lamb. Initially I was appalled at the barbaric ritual but I eventually got used to the tradition and soon reveled in it.
And time continues to March on. Now our families are spread out all across the country and Easter for me has become a dinner for two. No need to make the lamb cake but I still wanted some of that tradition. So now, instead of a lamb we have a loaf cake but it’s till covered with that same homemade mock whipped cream frosting and dotted with coconut. Different package, same wonderful dessert treat. Whenever I post pictures of the cake, I am always asked for the recipe for the frosting. So here it is, enjoy and who knows, maybe it will become an Easter tradition in your family as well.
Mock Whipped Cream Frosting
3 Tbs. corn starch
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup shortening (preferably butter flavored)
1 cup sugar
3 tsps. vanilla
Combine corn starch and milk in a saucepan. Cook, stirring until thick. Remove from heat, stirring occasionally until cool. Combine butter, shortening, sugar and vanilla and beat until creamy. Add cooled mixture and beat until like whipped cream. This recipe will cover an 8″ cake with one border or two 9 x 2 loaf cakes.