Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lamb-entations

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Like the Mardi Gras King Cake, I suspect that the Easter Lamb Cake is just inherently Wrecky. I mean, this one Jamie B. sent in is a good one:

So really, it's like shooting apples* in a barrel to go after these things: just too darn easy.

However, I will go after the smoking lamb cakes:

I've seen several of these cigarette-puffing lamb cakes now, and I'm totally baffled. I get the lamb/Easter connection, but where's the cigarette feature? This one Monique R. found actually has a "Happy Birthday" sign around its neck, but most say "Happy Easter". Here's a better example:

What I find even more hilarious is the fact that it looks like both lambs are wearing chocolate yarmulkes.** Oy vay! An Easter lamb schmokin? What kind of mishegas is going on here?

Here's a variation, lest you think only one bakery out there is making these crazy things:


I'm guessing this is some kind of regional tradition, but I look forward to you lovely readers filling me with your wisdom. Explain this madness to me in the comments, so we can all learn something today, eh?

And before I leave you, here's one more photo sent in by Kat:

It's not really a Wreck; I just love that little girl's expression as she's preparing to lop off the lamb's head. You can almost hear the Responsible Adult going "Now, dear, let me help you..." as she's gleefully hacking away. Heehee! Oh, and that spot of jam is well-placed, too.


*Yes, I know it's supposed to be "fish in a barrel", but I would never shoot a fish. Too messy.

**For the record, this is the hardest word to learn to spell by looking up in the dictionary,
ever.

UPDATE: And the answer is....[drum roll]

I don't know. Yep, despite having lots of theories floated my way - each one seemingly more bizarre than the last - I still haven't heard a silver-bullet explanation for the smoking lamb cake. However, reader Rosemary was kind enough to compile the most prevalent/reasonable-sounding theories in her blog here, so check those out and see which you think it is.

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 321 of 321   Newer›   Newest»
Emily said...

P.S. No one "gives up" smoking for Lent. Smoking is an addiction and a habit, not something can be given up at will, like chocolate. Do you really think someone would quit cold turkey, go 40 days without smoking, and then just start up again? Doubtful.

HogsOfOldDC said...

Ok, since nobody else is stepping up to the plate to explain the smoking lamb, i guess I will have to.

Sit back and relax, this may take a while.

Long long ago, in a galaxy far far away...wait...sorry.

Long ago, around 100AD, the Christians of the time were looking to honor Easter in some way. Since Cadbury wasn't around with it's snot-filled chocolate eggs laid by an easter bunny, they used the lamb as a symbol of their devotion to honor their fallen/risen savior.

I believe it was Pontificus IXX, an Arch-bishop in the Catholic church at the time who required that the lamb should be holding a stalk from the palm tree in his mouth. Why? Because it's part and parcel of Palm Sunday. And he decreed that the lamb of our lord should also consume the palm that we use to remember him by. They almost had the lamb holding a staff in his hoof, shaped like a cross, but that never really caught on for some reason.

Over the years, however, corporations came to be and took over the holiday, introducing us to colored eggs, more sugar filled confections than a person could possible consume safely, and yes sadly, the cigarette in the mouth of the lamb. It was the 1940's people, and if Lucille Ball could pitch lucky strikes, then darnit, so could the easter lamb. It was nothing to see an Easter lamb puffing on Marlboro or even a Chesterfield. In fact, some cigar manufacturers even had other barnyard animals puffing on their stogies. And ironically, a chewing tobacco company once had a Camel spitting out the waste portion of their product. An Easter Camel, if you will.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, the branding has been removed since the early 1970's but the symbolism now remains thanks to a sneaky deal with tobacco companies.

In Jamaica, it's a blunt rather than a cigarette, but it's the same idea.

Now that you've read through this....I just want to say, 8 days later....April Fools! I have no idea why they lamb should be smoking. :)

www.thatcrankybastard.com

Anonymous said...

If it were meant to be a passover cake, how do you explain the "Happy Easter" tag?

little gator said...

If you think eating Christly lamb cakes is bad, then you don't want to know about the chocolate crucifixes I've seen in stores. Crucifixes, not just crosses.

Anonymous said...

The first two brown lambs look like they're supposed to be Joe Camel, but then someone went and iced it white and that theory went out the window. How strange...

Mia said...

really, RememberMe? king cakes? they're totally ugly, that's why.

also, you lot are dumber than whoever made these cakes. you honestly think some baker/decorator somewhere stood around the kitchen thinking "hmmm, i need a scroll/banner/candle/paintbrush....well, i guess this cigarette will do"? seriously? i'm certain there are better options than ACTUAL CIGARETTES. good god!

still, no clue what's going on here. i think there probably really is no reason/story behind it, it just happened.

Zoe said...

Well Jesus is presented as a lamb that opens the seven scrolls in Revelations. Maybe?

Scrolls?

Best I got.

Tatersmama said...

BUNNY got it right!

It IS from M*A*S*H... so that makes it a SPAM LAMB !!!
At the end of the episode, I remember the lamb with a cigarette stuck in it's mouth, and Henry passing out, draped over the lamb...

("Bunny said...
the smoking lambs are tributes to the Spam lamb, sculpted by Trapper and Hawkeye to replace the live lamb Radar managed to spirit away.")

I found this :
http://www.tv.com/M%2AA%2AS%2AH/Private+Charles+Lamb/episode/43261/recap.html

KaraDeanne said...

Ok. How about somebody who took one of these pictures and submitted it call the bakery that did it and find out why the heck the little guy is smoking a cigarette? I really need to know what is going on.

(Oh, and the reason the lamb in the first two pics doesn't have any wool is because he caught it on fire)

Scritzy said...

While I have NO explanation for the smokin'-freakin'-lambs, I will offer a little ditty I once heard in honor of the child decapitating the lamb cake:

Mary had a little lamb.
It was delicious.

Word verification: spnesse. It takes some real spnesse to put a ciggie in a lamb's mouth.

Misty said...

You know, the Easter Bunny at the mall always returns from his "carrot break" smelling like cigs. Maybe there's a connection.

I'm just sayin'

Cindy said...

This is my first time to your blog. Hysterical. You should really be on stage. I'll be back. Thank you for the chuckles--and cake wrecks!

Cami said...

I busted out my mash DVDs to watch the end of Pvt Charles Lamb and while there is a spam lamb which looks very like these brown thing; he has no cigarette in his mouth.

KBK Bakery said...

My theory: it's like a firing squad. People eat lamb for Easter, so it's the lamb's last smoke before being eaten. But that's purely my guess. No basis in research or anything.

Naktarr said...

I think someone made an Easter Lamb cake and decided to include a scroll with the Lamb holding it in its mouth (why, well I assume religious reasons) and a cake maker who was ignorant on scrolls being in lambs mouths saw the cake and said "Hey, its got a smoke! I'll include that for my Easter lamb cakes too!"
and other cake makers copied them - leaving us laughing!

I think cake makers should do some research into what they see as a 'good idea' first, but if everyone did that, we'd just be laughing at wobbly icing lines, and this is far more amusing ^^

EvilKails said...

I think it has to do with the old firing squad thing. As in, most people have lamb for Easter and so the lamb is being sacraficed as if before a firing squad and it gets a cigarette... but then where's the blindfold?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to point out to those who think it's Joe Camel that he isn't exactly the best subject for a cake, being a symbol for tobacco and all.

Heather said...

I HAVE THE EXPLANATION!!

The lamb has a cigarette in its mouth because it is about to be sliced up, and like the man on death row, is enjoying his last cig.

Noctiluca said...

The only explanation I can think of comes from David Sedaris. In one of his books he talks about how, in Greek culture, they don't stuff your Easter basket with candy, but with cigarettes and liquor. Otherwise, I'd go with the anonymous poster's suggestion that it's just a joke about going back to one's vices after Lent...

MinorAgentofChaos said...

I'm waiting for someone to simply *ask* one of the bakers who do these things.

Come on, folks, surely there's someone reading this blog who knows one of the smoking-lamb-cake-bakers in question?

Treehouse Chef said...

The little girl is cutting off the lamb's head. Very interesting.

green said...

Obviously they're trying to smush Easter and Passover into one happy holiday. And after all that holiday hanky panky who couldn't go for a cigarette or two?

Anna said...

Revelation 5: something about the Lamb (Christ) and the scrolls. It's the apocolypse, baby!

sgt@arms said...

Seriously? Nobody's thought of Passover yet? You know: Sacrificing a lamb, painting your door frame with the blood, so the evil Old Testament God passes over your house rather than coming inside and stealing your baby boys?
The lamb is enjoying a cigarette because he about to be executed. Everybody on Death Row gets one last smoke.

Mrs. Boo said...

"Emily said...

It is a Passover lamb, and that is a bloody paintbrush in his mouth, representing the lamb blood painted over the doors of the Hebrews so the spirit of the Lord would "pass over" their homes.

As for cake being unkosher during Passover...I would imagine the cake is intended to celebrate the END of Passover."

I am going to have to agree with this one..

Annie said...

I don't know, it seems fairly obvious to me that the cigarettes are those tooty things you blow on new years. A weird party favor for easter, but I think that's what the tasselly things on the end indicate.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's like that last cigarette when facing a firing squad. Something to calm the little guy's nerves before the execution/slaughter.
Or...that could be the sheep from the Woody Allen movie. I'm pretty sure that sheep had a smoke after the "moment supreme".

Nobody said...

Here's my guess for the cigarettes.

1) It's traditional in some cultures for an Easter lamb to have a sprig of rosemary in its mouth.

2) After spending too much time Googling lamb-cake recipes, I found that several people referred to the lamb having a "stick" in its mouth.

3) As we further "play telephone" with the sprig of rosemary, to some people the stick (the meaning of which they never knew or had long forgotten) became a cigarette.

Pirate Alice said...

I've never heard of a Passover lamb cake. I always thought it was a Catholic thing since Jesus is the "Lamb of God" and you always made the cake at Easter. My family did a pound cake recipe in the lamb mold. We never had anything coming out of the lamb's mouth, so that seriously confuses me.

Anonymous said...

if you think about it, i think the lamb cake is meant to be cross-cultural. if you like jesus, it's a scroll-toting sacrifice. if you're a jew, it paints your door. if you're an athiest, it's from a m*a*s*h episode, or possibly it's joe the camel.

Deep said...

The white lamb smoking, that's easy. It is an albino black sheep doing what all black sheep do. It's taking a smoke break.

jackie31337 said...

I didn't realize the butter lamb thing was a Polish tradition. My Polish-Ukrainian grandmother always made one at Easter. I thought it was just something she did. She made hers by cutting shorter pieces off of one stick of butter and attaching them to a whole stick of butter to make a cross, and then she sculpted a lamb out of the left-over butter and set it on top of the cross. We also took our food to the Ukrainian church to get it blessed before Easter.

Oh, and I can assure you, we never had a smoking lamb cake.

WV: hotho. The less said about that one, the better, I think.

Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

... if it's a menthol cigarette, could it be some weird reference to lamb with mint sauce?

... no, I didn't think so either...

Anonymous said...

Like everybody else, the first thing I thought was Joe Camel. I can't think of any other reason lambs would be smoking.

Kay said...

I think the solution to this very puzzling conundrum might just be to contact the bakeries from whence the wrecks came and ASK them what in the heck they had in mind when they shoved those cigarettes into the lambs' mouths...

Nonnie said...

well, those are not cigarettes, but very bad representations of those party noisemakers that you blow. Think of new years eve noise makers. Bus still, tasteless! Look more like ciggies than noisemakers. It's be understandable if one person or bakery had the habit of doing so, but many of them? Where do they get their inspirations??

Just Cupcakes said...

Something is ringing a vague bell about the M*A*S*H Spam Lamb... don't know just how accurate my memory is, but even the shape of all the lambs is the same as the Spam Lamb...

Catherine said...

King cakes aren't cakes. They're coffee cake pastry things. They're supposed to look like that, so they can't be wrecks. Sheesh. Yankees.

Jan said...

Don't know if anyone has stated this possible explanation for the smoking lamb, but since Passover (which is the reason we have Easter) requires that a lamb be sacrificed, perhaps it is being allowed one last smoke before the deed is done? Having never seen one of these "works of art", I am not sure, but it sees plausible.

Anonymous said...

I used Google image to find lamb cakes for comparision's sake, and although I didn't look long enough to find other smokin' scroll lambs, there were some amazing wrecks. One had marshmallows on it and looked like a knobby ball (with a face) for a dog. Others looked like shih tzus, bichon frises, westies, and mostly small white poodles. Apparently this lamb cake thing takes serious talent. The effort put into making a decent one deserves a smoke, for both the baker and the lamb.

Robyn :) said...

OMG!!!!! I make that cake!!! The pan set we have to make it is older than me and I'm 33!! I am just floored that professionals make that cake!! And not very well apparently. Some of mine have turned out pretty weird, but I am not a pro :)
As for the little girl -- I have a great picture of my mom with the lamb head and a huge knife in the other!!

Catherine said...

I found a picture of one of these in which the animal appeared to be a chihuahua. This might explain the fact that several of them were brown? Although not why one of the chihuahuas had a happy easter tag.....

very married said...

did they used to be joe camels?? i'm baffled!

Cat said...

Ohhh, lambcake. My family has a mold for this, and it's become tradition for me to do the baking. Only problem is that the mold is designed for use with poundcake (which I don't like). So every year I try a new cake, frost it up all pretty with jelly bean bit for eyes and nose, shaved coconut for wool (and some dyed green for the grass he's sitting on), and then I set the whole shebang in the microwave so our cats don't eat it.

Last year, when I opened the microwave to wrap the cake for transport, its head had fallen off. We had to spike it back on with toothpicks. It was the best Easter ever.

Anonymous said...

I think the "triumphant lamb" is the answer here - check this out http://www.paleolithicartmagazine.org/pagina41.html

What's on the lamb's head is a "halo" and the ciggy is an - ahem - interpretation of the banner

twinklescrapbooks said...

Smoking lamb? So weird! :)
tina

Agatha said...

My sister had a lamb cake for her birthday one year because it also landed on the same day as Easter. As I recall, it was actually pretty well made (definitely didn't have a cigarette!) and we felt bad hacking its head off.

Hyena Overlord said...

Emily said...P.S. No one "gives up" smoking for Lent. Smoking is an addiction and a habit, not something can be given up at will, like chocolate. Do you really think someone would quit cold turkey, go 40 days without smoking, and then just start up again? Doubtful.

Emily..I quit smoking cold turkey in 1991. I was running an endurance test for a job interview. I quit for a week fully intending to resume smoking at the end to the week. But I reckoned if I could quit for a week I could quit forever.

Before the patch, the gum the counseling and the meds. Cold turkey was the only way to quit smoking. I can start smoking anytime I feel like it because I miss my smokes even after all that time.

Becky said...

Perhaps the lambs are Passover lambs? The Jewish passover is the day before Good Friday. Not sure why they're smoking...maybe the lambs are smoked over a spit before Passover meal is eaten?

Anonymous said...

My mother had a cast iron mold of a lamb exactly like those in these photos. Every Easter she would bake a couple of these cakes. She used coconut for the wool, raisins for the eyes, and a slice of a cherry for the nose. Green dyed coconut made the grass and jelly beans were strewn on the grass. It was very cute, and yes, we always ate the but first because there were all kinds of sticks reinforcing the neck, it was hard to slice it. When my mom passed on, my sister inherited the cake mold, and moved to Michigan, so no more Easter lamb cakes. Sigh. Thank you for reading my memories, sorry I have nothing to contribute to the smoking issue. Must be an East Coast thing, however. 8) Windrose

Brittany said...

Maybe the 'cigarettes' were intended as those party-blower things that you see so often on New Year's?

Cheryl-Anne said...

Ahh....the Easter lamb cake! A purely kitchy art form! Personally, I make a lamb cake every year, and try to make it as ridiculous as possible! Why would you want a realistic-looking sweet and gooey lamb sitting in a pile nuclear-colored coconut anyway?

Yes, I've filled mine with jam too. Heck, I even made a Rice Krispies lamb one year, and giggled uncontrollably when the head slowly started tilting to the left. This year, I plan to make it with red velvet cake, cover it with fluffy frosting and coconut, and color the eyes and ears neon pink.....culinary genius, no?

Amy said...

Tigerwolf: ROFL Thanks; made my day, and reminded me of a favourite song, too!

Amy B.

Rhandir said...

I think they are a reference to "Smokies" an illeagal form of meat supplied to ethnic minorities, more info here (you may want to put your coffee and biscuits down first) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article443286.ece

Joan said...

I would like to challenge the actual decorators on the list to create a smoking lamb cake, with the addition of a little frosting blindfold to complete the firing squad theory. Put it in your display case and next year we can see if there are unquestioning wreckarator imitators who do the same thing.

:::::::::::poltergasm::::::::::: said...

never been here before.

but it's nice.

do tho have something perhaps somewhat helpful to add.

it is not a cake.

but if you go here:
http://burp-nevergrowup.blogspot.com/2008_04_01_archive.html

you will find a smoking lamb &, at least possibly most likely, someone who knows whyfor art it smokes.

or you could ask a baker. but i think she will know.

seek & ye shall find, & like that.

putting the good in good friday,
i remain

Dreamybee said...

All right, I have no idea what's up with the smoking lamb either, but I'll see your "yarmulke" and raise you a "guinea pig." What kind of 3rd-grade teacher tells a kid to look up "guinea pig" in the dictionary to find out how to spell it? The kind that taught my 3rd-grade class, that's what kind!

Anonymous said...

There is only one reason for the cigarette. To get their cakes posted on this site and to read all the comments.

Rebecca said...

Man, these lamb cakes *have* been around awhile!

http://www.langfordfamily.com/pioneers/Polish_Bandera%20County%20Courier_files/Frances100.jpg

Seriously, c & p it; it's worth it. She's about 110, the outdoor (?!?) photo's from Victorian times by her dress, and the cake's a lamb.

Joanna said...

Seriously, if they're using actual cigarettes, they're meant to represent cigarettes, not scrolls or whatever. It is way too gross to stick a real cigarette in a cake if you don't mean it!

I like the smoking "black sheep" theory. Actually, I've got the pan, I'm thinking of making one myself.

Kaycee said...

I'm pretty sure the lamb is from Revelation 5

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=revelation%205&version=31

but I'm not sure why it's smoking.

Meg M. said...

Only thing i found when i researched was pictures of sheep smoking in anti-smoking ads. The posters suggested that people follow blindly like sheep and do what everyone else is doing, one i found of several sheep with cigs their mouths with the caption 'BE YOURSELF' at the bottom.
Or even this one:
http://www.brightonandhovepct.nhs.uk/healthprofessionals/hplibrary/images/34.0.L.022.jpg

Anonymous said...

Okay people, I have, I think, the most logical explanation of this damn smoking lamb. Typically, as a cliche, (you sometimes see it in old cartoons) they pass out cigars when a baby is born. Jesus was supposedly born in a manger, with lambs, etc. In fact, I can even remember seeing lambs and others in a manger-like setting with cigars in their mouths to celebrate Jesus' birth. (I think it was a Christmas card or something) Maybe the people that made these cakes confused Easter with the birth of Jesus instead of the resurrection... After explaining all of this, I realize it's probably not the most logical explanation at all. Oh well... At least I gave it a try.

Anonymous said...

First thing that comes to mind for me, especially for the brown ones, is Joe the Camel. Gotta be, right? Now...the white lambs, I dunno! I am stumped.

Galadriel said...

None of these responses *really* explains the prevalence of these cigarette-smoking lambs. Hasn't anyone been to ask a wreckerator yet?

WHY IS THE LAMB SMOKING A (genuine) CIGARETTE? WHY? WHYYYYY?

Tim n Candi said...

Howdy everyone: So, if this is a scroll, as we suspect it is, then it's a really bad reference to Revelation 5 and 6 where the lamb (i.e., Jesus, who is risen from the dead according to the Christian Easter celebration) takes the scroll from God, the Father. The lamb is the only one who can open the "many sealed" scroll.

jillianfish said...

My grandmother used to make a lamb cake every easter for a little girl she babysat. She used to make sure the head stayed up by spearing it with long wooden skewers. Creeped me out. On the bright side she covered the whole cake in white icing and then put shredded coconut on it so the cake actually had a fairly realistic looking texture. Pretty cool. She never made it smoke though...I guess I missed out all those years ago...

Anonymous said...

Given that Passover & Easter celebrate essentially the same thing (Jesus the lamb, sacrificed to save many, actual lambs sacrificed to save the firstborn children when the Angel of Death was let loose in Egypt), I would say that the ceremonial slaughtering of the lamb is perfectly logical, from a Judeo-Christian perspective. The Last Supper was the Passover meal too. But the smoking... Beats me.

Shaydie said...

I'm going to agree with Emily... it's definitely a paint brush with blood on the end representing the blood of the lamb.

Hagan Wagon said...

I don't care what it means- scroll, candle, joke. I want a smokin' lamb cake. Maybe just to lop off the head with glee. Maybe we should all do that at least once in our lives. Call it therapy- on that note, make mine a bunny.

ZOMGLOLWTF said...

To s/he who posted that it looked like the "Marlboro CAMEL", shame on you. You don't have to be a smoker to not have hidden under a rock for the near entirety of the 20th century. Please tell me you were born after Joe was retired.

As for the little girl chopping off poor lammykin's head, that's definitely her first communion and that is an ice cream lamb, as explained by Areia. I had one with the grenadine. Bwahahahahahaha.

So symbolism is lost on the very young. It would have to be since I'm not sure these days I would willingly chop off a lamb's head (real or dairy) just to see the blood spring forth. D:

kellybeth said...

That's a Passover lamb, holding a stick covered in its own blood, while saying Happy Easter. perhaps even more tragic than a smoking lamb. "Passover" so the holy spirit would "pass over" the homes of Hebrews with lamb's blood on the frames, taking only the first-born sons of the Egyptians.

Anonymous said...

They are passvoer lambs.

"When the judgment fell on Egypt, God made a provision of escape through the blood of the Passover Lamb that appeared on the door posts of the houses."

they are paint brushes not ciggarettes, but they sure do look like ciggarettes

eighmie

Kristen said...

I definitely have the ancient cast-iron mold for the lamb cake... The one time we pulled it out of the basement, it was as a joke. I can't believe they are still using it!

Bunifah Alize Jenkins said...

These are Passover cakes, hence the yarmulkes, and it's not a cig it's a bloody paintbrush to paint their blood over the doors of believers.

That's what i think anyway.

MomKAS said...

I thought I'd try and help out by researching the lamb cake/cigarette tradition, but was stopped short when I saw this one (which looks more like a small, and perhaps possessed, dog to me): http://www.post-gazette.com/food/20010405mailbox.asp

Trix said...

That mysterious object impaled into the lamb's neck is a burning scroll. A scroll is a religious symbol for the Old Testament. Combining the burning scroll with the lamb represents the end of the Old Testament sacrificial system and the beginning of the New Testament system of believing in Christ's sacrifice... through the event of the "ultimate sacrifice" of Jesus, aka the Lamb of God. Why this needs to be in cake form, I'll never understand.

And there you have it... your answer... AND it's dipped in sugary goodness. :)

Butter Lamb Fan said...

I actually have one of these cake pans and I made one wrecky looking lamb cake a couple years ago! (It was a horrifying red velvet cake too.) I found it at a Wegman's super market in Buffalo. It reminded me of the butter lamb's that are an Easter tradition out here.

background (seems to be a Polish tradition): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butter_lamb

pictures of the butter lamb: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/butterlamb/

Despite my lack of frosting talent, the family got a big kick out of the "butter-cream" lamb. I even made the little flag to stick on it's backside. :)

astarte27 said...

All the Passover related comments make absolutely no sense for several reasons:

First and foremost, unless it is angel (no religious pun intended) food cake or some other unleavened product, which I highly doubt in this type of mold), we Jews are not eating it during Passover and we certainly are not buying it from your standard grocery store bakery (because it is not super specially kosher for Passover). Nothing that is leavened (rises) during Passover, including cakes, Wrecks as well!

Second, look closely at some of these Wrecks, those are real cigs! Tobacco and all. 80-90 cent recent tax increase included! If is to represent a paintbrush, which, btw, was not actually used to tag the doors of the Jews in Egypt, then why use an actual cig?

Finally, if it were some Jewish religious symbol, for goodness sake, there would be some latent guilt and there is none here!

Of course, I have no better explanation than anyone else, but I did not want the Pesach lamb wandering when he should at home with his nagging mother reminding him to call more often.

Yakityak said...

Have to agree with Astarte, here. There's no way this is for a Jewish celebration. Kosher for Passover cakes are leaden by default. They don't rise. To build something that high with that sort of structure out of kosher for Passover cake... I shudder. Just stay out of the event horizon because you could be creating a black hole.

As for celebrating the end of Passover? Nobody does that in any official capacity, unless you consider eating an entire large pizza by yourself an organized celebration. Seriously, after 8 days of matzah, etc. you celebrate by getting your kitchen back to "normal mode" and eating massive quantities of bread products and metamucil.

The paschal lamb is a big part of the Passover story, but the focus really isn't on that one specific element. The 10 plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the mass movement of an entire population... if there's one symbol that is going to be used to represent the holiday, it ain't the lamb. It's matzah, if anything.

I am dying to know what the smoking lamb cake is all about. Someone PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE at least get a phone number for one of these bakeries... I'll call and ask, myself! And I promise to post back whatever I find out.

Anonymous said...

Someone said it must be a cigarette because of the line where the filter is, but if you look at the wiki page for Paschal candles someone posted, the Paschal candles all have a line also.

I'm in the camp that believes it's either a Paschal candle, or was originally a Paschal candle that morphed into a cigarette via general ignorance of the cake makers.

EnglishProf said...

Maybe the cigarette is so people can say they had "smoked lamb" at Easter? ;-)

Anonymous said...

This sucks, I'm Jewish so I have to eat crappy flat bread. YUCK!
-Isabelle
P.S. Luckily, I wouldn't have to eat those massacred cakes if I was offered the chance. HAHA!

Anonymous said...

Emily! How could you? No one can give up chocolate! It's addictive! It's delicious, no one could give it up for forty days. But I'm Jewish, so how should I know. I don't have to not have chocolate for forty days.
-Isabelle

mbpilsner said...

You know... a few years ago my mom ordered one of these lamb cakes, and considering what it was, it looked okay. That didn't cover the shrieks though when she cut into it and we discovered she had ordered a red velvet lamb cake!

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's to represent the sacrifice of the lamb, and what do prisoners do before they're put to the firing squad? They get to have their last cigarette.

The Coolest Chick You Know said...

HEY! Leave King Cakes alone! Have you ever tried to make a cake while sucking down on Hurricanes? Under those conditions, every King Cake is a masterpiece! And don't you forget it! ;-)

Khaide said...

Flipping channels this weekend I spotted someone making a lamb cake & had to watch after already seeing this post. They iced the cake & then covered it in coconut. They added raisin eyes, a cherry mouth, a red ribbon & a bell around its neck. And then stabbed it with the "flag & staff." They called it the "Paschal Lamb" cake & place it in a basket & bring it to church for blessing. It's a very traditional Polish dessert.

bugdog said...

My grandmother used to make a lamb cake every year at Easter. It was a non-smoking lamb, so I have no insight to the smoking lambs.

My dad used to make his best lamb noises when they'd cut into the cake. Yes, I used to cry every year... but the cake was still tasty.

Judy said...

I think it's the lambs last cigarette before going to the "firing line" or the sacrifice.

krylonultraflat said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamb_of_God

The sacrificial lamb = Jesus = basically, a good friday cake.

What's funny is a) it needs a blindfold and b) setting it up for an execution is just weird, considering it's suggesting a sort of glee over killing jesus.

Goggla said...

OMG, that's my apartment in the fourth pic down, with the frosted lamb cake. I bought it at a bakery on Houston St in NYC for a friend's birthday (in December). I'd been fascinated by these things forever and had never seen a frosted one before, so I had to have it. It was impossible to eat - way too hard, but it kept several weeks.

Goggla said...

Just to add, these smoking lamb cakes are available year-round, and I have a pic of one with a packet of Sweet & Low in its mouth rather than the cigarette. If someone can explain that, I'd really appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

Emily is right - it's the sacrificial lamb. These aren't for Passover though. They are for Easter. Sacrificial lamb/lamb of God...

My grandmother used to make these (she's Italian) every Easter. The "cigarette" that you see is the paintbrush. We used to joke about it as kids.

Lapis Kelinia said...

Hey, I figured out the lambs smoking thing!

Ancient tradition, was that for passover, a lamb would be sacrificed. So the joke is that they get one last cig before they die, like a last request before a firing squad. Funny, yeah?

And now I read down, and I'm not alone. Ha!

Ketutar said...

Yeah... the banner...

I actually think that if one asked the bakery, they would look at the person blankly, because they have no idea what he/she is talking about. Even if you showed them the photo, they'd still stare at you. You see, the cake wreckers don't have the slightest idea of why they do things.

But, sure, as there is no real explanation, let's join the guessing:

1) As some others suggested, it was supposed to be something else, like a straw of grass or flowers (there's a lot of Easter cards with the lamb having something like that in their mouth), but the cake wrecker misunderstood or took the easy way out and used a chocolate cigarette.
Sure, possible it was supposed to be a paintbrush or a scroll or the banner or the cross or a candle or a party-what-ever, but - let's face it - that IS a cigarette, not a failed attempt at something else.

2) It is also possible, that in some bakery someone thought it was a good joke to put a cigarette in the sheep's mouth, and the cake ended up in the window, cigarette and all, and then others didn't get the joke, but believed there must be some mysterious symbolism in this and copied the cigarette. After all, that's what we all think, isn't it? Why not a wreck-baker?
Someone has already pointed out that quite a lot of people are altering photos of animals by adding a cigarette, cigar or pipe in their mouths, and that there are a couple of smoking sheep characters (Toot and Smookie), so perhaps it's just another meme thingy.
Also, there is the "don't be sheep" campaign - what that has to do with Easter is another question though...

3) In some medieval paintings people and animals are sometimes shown with a scroll coming out of their mouths depicting sort of a speech bubble. It is possible that the one making the first smoking lamb tried to give it a speech scroll, and it ended up looking as if the lamb was smoking, and - as in the above suggestions, the bake-wreckers just copied what they thought they saw and replicated smoking lambs.

About the "It's not Christian but Jewish" comments: If these lambs are supposed to hold a paintbrush or a bunch of herbs dipped in blood to symbolize the painting of door posts, it has nothing to do with Judaism but is a Christian interpretation of a Jewish story. I think it's very disrespectful, but - people do things.
The Pesach Lamb is not a cute woolly creature (with or without cigarettes and paintbrushes) but food. The only symbolic part of lamb used at Pesach is the bone on the Seder plate.
If a Jewish family serves a lamb cake, they have borrowed the idea from their Christian environment and they are not very observant, as pointed out several times in the comments. Remember the kosher rules on Pesach?

I end with this...
Maria's Easter Lamb CakeThe face is so well-made and then attached to the giraffy body and covered with pretty flowers and what not... LOL
I love it :-)
(BTW, they have a "Happy Birtdday cake")

dreams-of-him said...

On PolishForums.com (http://www.polishforums.com/easter_lamb_cake_histroy-8_19191_0.html)

Pryzkatoony says:

"Because some of these lamb cakes fall in with a bad crowd."

That's as good an explanation as any and it made me laugh.

Anonymous said...

I'm Belgian myself, and I can tell you the last picture is in fact a tradition here.
When catholic children are 6 years old, we have our 'eerste communie', which is the celebration for the first time you can eat a 'ghostie' in the church. Afterwards, there's a family party, in which the child gets lots of presents and after diner we share a cake. The child has to chop off the head of the little cake-lamb. This goes back to a sacrifice for God. The cakes are always white, they actually look exactly the same in every bakery, and there's always a bit of strawberry filling in it which looks like blood when you chop off the head of the little lamb.
I think I even have a picturd of myself doing it. My sister also did it, my nieces and nephews, my husband, everyone I know actually.
Now that I read your blog, is the first time I get it: it IS kind of creepy :D

Anonymous said...

*my original impression in seeing the cigarette was...

"all that's missing is a blindfold and this is a sheep awaiting execution!"

i mean we're supposed to eat lamb for easter right? and we're supposed to eat the cake??*

Lynn said...

What a terrible waste of time and ingredients...hard to believe people would actually PAY for one of those cakes !

Jen, sorry I'm commenting on older posts but I was on vacation and missed a lot so I'm playing catch up now LOL !

Amy S said...

It's definitely not a cigarette.. Sorry to all those who liked guessing why a lamb would be smoking lol

Traditionally, it's 'supposed' to be a brush signifying the brushing of lambs blood over the homes threshold for passover..

If people have gone nuts by making it into a cigarette joke, that's all well and good.. But the tradition is that it's a brush...

lisa said...

I really think Joe Camel was the original idea behind these cakes. But then they tried to make them into smoking lambs??? For EASTER???
And give them to little KIDS???
At least the little girl is showing how she feels about smoking..... She should be a spokesperson on an anti-smoking PSA. You go girl, OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!!

Anonymous said...

These lambs need to kick the habit! They need to get on "the patch" asap.

Anonymous said...

At least you didn't have to eat the first cake. It was a crappy cake with disgusting frosting piled on. There are no words to describe that cake or how it tasted.
-Emily

Anonymous said...

is it just me or does the last cigarette smoking lamb look like it's made of dirty snow?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the lamb is smoking a "last cigarette" before its execution? Like in old movies? What else could it mean?- Adrienne

Anonymous said...

Another possibility from a friend of mine...she said this was an incredibly popular YouTube video during Passover:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3Xiy5aK3AU

Featuring a smoking lamb.

greengeekgirl said...

What is hilarious is that one of the lamb cakes actually has an actual cigarette in its mouth, regardless of what it's supposed to be. If the bakery used a cig to represent a small paintbrush because they didn't have one.... well, that is a pretty fail cake.

Plasticstarsrus said...

I may have found a long awaited answer! They aren't smoking at all. It's a passover thing. When God sent for Moses to free the Hebrews from egypt, the last plague sent on the Pharaoh was the killing of the first born. All of the Hebrew people were told to paint their doorways with the blood of a lamb in order for god to pass over their houses and spare their children. "7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. "

Happy Passover! Get your chocolate yarmulkes, toss on a few sprinkles, and get your Kosher on!

marthajanebrown said...

Maybe it's something to do with the whole trad. Easter meal of Smoked Lamb... You know instead of smoked lamb, smoking lamb...??

Anonymous said...

I believe those are bloody paintbrushes symbolizing the blood painted on door knobs from the sacraficial lamb. I like the smoking lamb theory better. His last ciggy before being slaughtered.

Melissa said...

thumb sucker 101


its an execution cake you get to enjoy a smoke before you die ???? baaaaaaddd idea

Anjie said...

My husband and I both work in the church so we were especially interested in what the smoking lambs were supposed to really be. The best we could come up with is a horribly misunderstood interpretation of the image of the lamb with the banner that you often see in Christian imagery. This would, in fact, be appropriate Easter imagery. For examples see: http://www.deborahmillswoodcarving.com/images/Portfolio/LambOfGod_DAMills2009_72dpi.jpg or http://www.quiltersmuse.com/images/lamb-of-God.png.

Maybe if someone were just really confused about that, it could look like the stick was coming out of the lamb's mouth? But maybe we're being too generous about the intent.

Also, we LOVE your site! Thanks for a good laugh every time we check out your blog!

Andy47 said...

Hey all,
I know this is waaay after the fact, but I really do think it's meant to be the red-and-white Resurrection Banner, taken from Polish tradition. There are quite a lot of pics of lambs holding the banner unfurled, so that the red cross on the white field shows, but if a lamb were to *actually* carry a banner (for whatever reason), it would be rolled up in its mouth, and appear as a white cylinder with a red tip. It was this site that tipped me off:
http://annhetzelgunkel.com/easter/eastfood.html
and googling: Polish + "Resurrection Banner" sealed the deal.

M said...

I first googled "easter lamb cake" and easily got to a site stating that the Polish easter lamb cakes are ALWAYS depicted with the "Resurrection Banner".

Googled that, and found a page on worshipbanners dot com that shows an image of the banner that has a sort of fire on one end.

States that the banner conveys the power of the resurrection moment (by the way I'm totally agnostic so this research is WEIRD for me to report on) and the tomb was "bright with light; the power unleashed at that moment was even greater than an atomic reaction." Hence the "fire" on the tip of these rolled scrolls/banners.

"The banner has pieces torn from it to represent the blasting away of physical material in this wonderful climactic event".

And there ya go.

FWIW I do NOT see those items in the mouths as cigarettes at all...unless those lamb cakes are tiny!

-Molly B

Kate said...

These cakes are hilarious. Those smoking lamb cakes must be Joe Camel's long lost nieces or nephews. I can't get it through my head that someone would actually want to eat that. I mean, if you think about it, (which I would try not to do in a situation like that, eating a smoker is bound to be nasty, even if it's made out of sugar and flour), these cakes are foul.

I couldn't find much out about the smoking lamb cakes. Just a few snippets here and there, nothing worthwhile. I have seen those cakes before, but I wasn't sure what they were doing. I thought it resembled smoking, so now I'm just surprised as well as disgusted because people actually bought them.

The little girl's expression is most likely my favorite. I mean, who doesn't like chopping the heads off lamb-shaped pastries?

And about that last smoking lamb cake... The gray splotches on it look like patches of ashes. Oh jeez. Now I'm questioning the taste as well as the appearance...

Goggla said...

I'm the one who bought that last lamb cake (2nd to last photo). The dark patches are just the areas where the white icing was thin, so the cake showed through. The interior was a cinnamon raisin bread, rather than cake. I bought it in early December, before Christmas, from an Italian bakery.

E.cigs said...

The gleeful expression on the (lamb-murdering) little girl's face kind of gives a Stalin-esque impression, does it not?
I would keep her (1) out of politics and (2) away from the borders of any weaker national neighbors.

Anonymous said...

It is a candle! Here is a reference I found...

Early Christians often lit bonfires on the night before Easter.
Now the candle is used as a symbol of the light of Christ. Many churches use a large, white Paschal candle in their Easter decorations.

Long ago, people put out all of the fires in their homes on Easter Eve. On Easter morning, "new fire" was taken from the one large Easter candle at church as a sign of the new life offered by Christ.

Anonymous said...

Someone just sent me this as I had made a lamb cake which turned out very nice actually! I'm thinking since these are supposed to be 'professional' cakes, I'm assuming these Smoking Lamb Cakes are actually made in bakeries! So why not go to the bakery and ask why they add the cigarette.... assuming you know what bakeries bake these so called 'professional' cakes!!!

Oh, and the little girl, she could care less about the symbolism of what she is doing. She just wants to eat the danged cake. She's a little kid for goodness sake!!

Ashley said...

I think the "cigarette" is actually a poor wreckorator's attempt at making a piece of hay for the lamb to be chewing... at least the 'traditional' lamb cake is usually chewing hay or grass.

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