By Sharon Hudgins • Photographs Courtesy Mary Beth Strickler
It’s that time of year again, when the stores are filled with pastel-colored Easter baskets, boxes of candy eggs, fuzzy stuffed bunnies and cute little chickens. Parents are teaching their kids how to dye eggs, and cooks are planning their big Easter menus.
In Germany and other parts of Central Europe, holiday markets sell hand-painted eggs and other springtime ornaments, many of them fine examples of folk art. Shop windows and home tables showcase long branches of budding pussy willows and blooming forsythia arranged in pretty vases, with beautifully decorated eggs hanging from each branch.
The shelves of pastry shops and grocery stores are lined with Easter lamb cakes, miniature effigies of the real lambs that are born in the spring. These sweet little cakes not only celebrate the rebirth of life in this season, but also symbolize Christ as the sacrificed Lamb of God. (See At Home, February/March 2020)
Most of these traditional lamb cakes are baked in freestanding three-dimensional metal or ceramic molds. Smaller lamb-shaped molds are used for making Easter confections from chocolate, sugar paste, and marzipan. Sometimes these little lamb confections are used as decorations on Easter-themed cakes baked in square, round, or fluted molds.